In 1982, the state passed the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act, designed to protect victims of domestic violence. It included a provision allowing victims to obtain a restraining order which limits the contact an alleged offender can have with a victim. The law was expanded in 1991 to cover more types of relationships and more potential crimes.
Tens of thousands of temporary restraining orders are issued by New Jersey Judges every year.
Under the Domestic Violence Act, a restraining order may be obtained by a victim of domestic violence committed by a spouse, former spouse, a present or former household member, someone with whom they have had or are expecting a child, or someone with whom they have had a dating relationship.
Only an adult or an emancipated minor may obtain a restraining order.
There are 14 criminal offenses that qualify as grounds to obtain a restraining order under the law, but you need not prove them beyond a reasonable doubt:
Homicide N.J.S.A. 2C:11-1 et seq.
Assault N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1
Terroristic Threats N.J.S.A. 2C:12-3
Stalking N.J.S.A. 2C:12-10
Kidnapping N.J.S.A. 2C:13-1
Criminal Restraint N.J.S.A. 2C:13-2
False Imprisonment N.J.S.A. 2C:13-3
Criminal Coercion N.J.S.A. 2C:13-5
Sexual Assault N.J.S.A. 2C:14-2
Criminal Sexual Contact N.J.S.A. 2C:14-3
Lewdness N.J.S.A. 2C:14-4
Robbery N.J.S.A. 2C:15-1
Criminal Mischief N.J.S.A. 2C:17-3
Burglary N.J.S.A. 2C:18-2
Criminal Trespass N.J.S.A. 2C:18-3
Harassment N.J.S.A. 2C:33-4
The attorney general has published the following:
What legal remedies can I seek if I have been a victim of domestic violence?
You have the right to file a civil complaint under the “Prevention of Domestic Violence act of 1991,” P.L. 1991, c.261 (C.2C:25-17 et al.), along with a criminal complaint. Both complaints should be filed for your protection since the civil complaint is designed to protect you and the criminal complaint is designed to punish the abuser.
What is a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO)?
This is an order that is issued by a judge who is satisfied that demanding circumstances exist enough to excuse the failure of the victim to appear personally and that sufficient grounds for granting the temporary restraining order have been shown. To protect the victim from the defendant, the judge may grant within the temporary restraining order that the:
The abuser is forbidden from returning to the scene of the Domestic Violence as well as other locations to be determined.
The abuser is prohibited from future acts of Domestic Violence.
The abuser is forbidden from possessing a firearm or weapons.
The abuser is forbidden from having any communication or contact with the victim or the victim’s relatives in person, via the telephone, or in writing. This includes making or causing anyone else to do so, on the abuser’s behalf.
The abuser is required to pay temporary child support to victim.
The abuser is required to reimburse the victim for any medical expenses incurred due to injury caused by defendant.
The victim is given exclusive possession of the residence.
The victim is given temporary custody of the children.
How do I get a TRO?
Contact the Family Part of the Superior Court in your county Monday through Friday (8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.).
On the weekends, holidays, and after 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, you can request a TRO from the Municipal Court in your area – this is done through your State or local police department.
To receive information about contacting a court for a TRO, call your State or local police department or call the Statewide Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-572-SAFE (7233).
Within 10 days of the TRO the court will schedule a hearing. Both you and your abuser will have a chance to testify. The judge will consider both testimonies before issuing a Final Restraining Order.
A Final Restraining Order against you is a very serious matter. The results can follow you around forever. You can lose your job, your right to certain professional licenses and many other devastating results including being listed in the Domestic Violence Registry! Call the Warren Law Group today if you have been served with a Temporary Restraining Order in New Jersey.