For those who experience the horrific reality of domestic violence, sometimes a restraining order can be lifesaving. While most states grant restraining orders that are good for five years, the state of New Jersey issues restraining orders that are good for life. Domestic violence is a major contributor to injuries of women and can often be more common than rape and traffic accidents combined.
The New Jersey Prevention of Domestic Violence Act applies to anyone 18 years of age or older or to an emancipated minor. It accounts for domestic violence by a spouse, ex-spouse, or a present or former household member. A victim includes anyone who has experienced violence by someone with whom they share a child or are expecting a child, including anyone with whom a victim has had a previous romantic relationship. This does not require you to be married to or be the significant other to your abuser as an abuser can be a family member, partner, roommate, or any other adult who resides or has resided with you.
How to Obtain an Order
To obtain a restraining order, the officer takes the victim’s information and will call the judge to inform him or her of what has transpired. The judge will make the decision as to whether the order is granted. Once a temporary restraining order has been granted, a full hearing must be held within 10 days of the order. If the plaintiff proves the allegations that allowed for the temporary order, the judge will issue a Final Restraining Order that will prevent the defendant from doing any of the following:
- Abusing the victim
- Contacting the victim
- Entering the victim’s residence or place of work
Additionally, the court will grant exclusive possession of the residence to the plaintiff, provide for temporary child custody and parenting time, require the defendant to undergo either counseling or a psychiatric evaluation, and require the defendant to pay the rent or mortgage on the plaintiff’s residence.
Violating an Order
If there is a violation of the order, the defendant will be arrested and, if convicted, will be charged with criminal contempt in the fourth degree. This can carry penalties of up to 18 months in prison and a fine of $10,000. If an individual has violated an order more than once, he or she is required to spend a minimum of 30 days in jail.
Possession of a Firearm
Additionally, New Jersey law states that an individual who has been convicted of a disorderly persons offense likely cannot possess a handgun, obtain a permit to purchase a handgun, or obtain a firearms purchaser ID card. This is also true for someone who has had his or her firearm taken away indefinitely under the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act. Under federal law, an individual’s right to have a gun is restricted if there is a restraining order against them. Certain requirements must also be met.
For a free consultation, call (856) 512-1461 or contact us online today. With office locations in Marlton and Somers Point, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout South Jersey, including Camden County, Burlington County, and Atlantic County.