Consequences of a New Jersey Restraining Order
What am I Facing with a Restraining Order in NJ?
Restraining orders, often referred to as orders of protections, are technically civil in nature and they are not considered criminal offenses in New Jersey. With that being said, the consequences if a final order of protection is imposed can be absolutely devastating. Before we get into those consequences, it is imperative to first go over how an individual obtains a final restraining order. Procedurally speaking, an individual seeking a restraining order will first have to obtain a temporary restraining order (TRO). A TRO is exactly what it sounds like, temporary. In order for the temporary restraining order to become permanent a final restraining order hearing must be conducted. At that hearing, it will be the plaintiff’s (victim’s) burden to establish by a preponderance of the evidence that they are a victim of domestic violence and that a permanent order is necessary in order to prevent future acts of domestic violence. These are basically mini trials. Evidence will be presented and the witnesses will be subject to cross examination.
When do Final Restraining Orders Expire in NJ?
Never. If a final restraining order is imposed in New Jersey, it is for life. This is unlike almost every other state in the country. With that being said, these orders are for the protection of the plaintiff (victim). If they desire to remove the order at any point in time they can petition the Court to do so. In addition, a defendant (aggressor) is entitled to petition the Court to vacate a final restraining order. In order to do so the defendant will need to file a formal motion with the Family Division in the county where the final order was imposed. For more information on vacating a final restraining order in Monmouth County, please click the link.
Can I go to Jail for a Restraining Order in NJ?
In short, no. An individual who has a final restraining order imposed against them will not be facing any jail time. With that being said, anyone charged with subsequently violating the final order of protection will be charged with a criminal contempt charge and would be facing jail time. In fact, a second or subsequent conviction requires mandatory jail. For more information on violation of restraining order charges in Monmouth County, please click the link.
Will I lose my guns forever if a Final Restraining Order is Imposed?
Yes. Anyone served with a temporary restraining order will be required to surrender any weapons, including firearms, as well as their firearms ID card pending the outcome of the final restraining order hearing. If a final restraining order is imposed, the individual will forever forfeit their ability to own weapons. They will have the opportunity to transfer the weapons to a lawful owner or arrange for their sale to a lawful purchaser. Even if the temporary restraining order is dismissed either after trial or by the plaintiff at their own request, the individual still might forfeit their weapons. For more information on what happens to your guns if a restraining order is granted in New Jersey, please click the link.
What is the fine for a Restraining Order?
Anyone who has a final restraining order imposed against them must be fined anywhere from $50-$500. The specific fine imposed will ultimately be determined by the Judge who presided over the hearing. The fine cannot be waived, nor can community service or any other alternative sentence be imposed in lieu of the fine.
Can a Final Restraining Order Lead to a Criminal Record?
In short, no. Since final restraining orders are not considered criminal in nature, if one is imposed, it would not lead to a criminal record. However, anyone who has a final order of protection imposed against them must be fingerprinted and have their mugshot taken so that they can be entered in the National Domestic Violence Registry. The individual will remain in this registry as long as the final order of protection is in place. This registry can be accessed by law enforcement at any point in time. In addition, anyone seeking to travel internationally will have to go through extra screening in order to ensure that the plaintiff (victim) is not on the flight. This can prove to be extremely problematic, especially if the defendant is traveling with individual’s who are unaware of the final order.
Can the Judge Require Counseling if a Final Order of Protection is Entered?
Yes. If a final restraining order is imposed in New Jersey, the Judge will have the discretion to impose some form of counseling or therapy. The most common therapy imposed is an intensive twenty-six (26) week batteries intervention program. If imposed, the individual will have no choice but to comply or face a potential contempt charge.
What can a Judge Include with a Permanent Protection Order?
Above are some of the not so obvious consequences of a final restraining order. In addition to all of the aforementioned consequences, an individual who has a final order of protection imposed against them could be subject to the following:
- Forced to give temporary financial support to the victim;
- Forbidden from returning to the previously shared residence;
- Loss of temporary custody/visitation with their children;
- Loss of temporary possession of personal property;
- Forbidden from contacting the victim.
Can a Lawyer Help Avoid the Effects of a Restraining Order in Monmouth County?
As you can tell, restraining orders are not something to take lightly in New Jersey. It is important to note here too, that most restraining orders are in addition to the domestic violence criminal charges that the individual may be facing as well. However, an experienced lawyer can often assist with strategizing and successfully getting a restraining order dismissed at the final hearing. If the judge refuses to issue a permanent order of protection, then you can avoid the many consequences that come with an FRO. If you would like to set up a free initial consultation with one of our Monmouth County restraining order lawyers, please contact our Middletown office at 732-858-6959. One of our domestic violence defense lawyers will be glad to sit down with you and go over the specifics of your case so that we can formulate a game plan that works best to suit your needs.