Domestic Violence is taken extremely seriously in New Jersey. If both abuse and the need for a restraining order are shown, a Final Restraining Order is issued. The consequences of a FRO are extremely serious. Being subject to a FRO has lifelong consequences – permanent prohibition on owning a weapon, failing background checks, entry into a database of abusers, fingerprinting, fines, being detained when traveling internationally, etc. There is also a presumption that, at a DV trial, custody of children will be granted to the victim and the defendant will be required to reimburse any legal fees the victim incurred.
Because Domestic Violence orders contain such harsh repercussions, including possession of a residence and an advantage in custody litigation, the law is sometimes abused, either through perjury or stretching the truth. Having counsel who can properly defend against a false allegation of domestic violence (or persuading a judge that a given incident doesn’t qualify as being serious or repetitive enough to warrant the entry of a FRO) is key.
Over the past two decades, I have handled 68 cases involving Domestic Violence complaints. The majority of them are resolved without a trial (either via an agreement to “civil restraints” – an order wherein someone agrees to certain restraints outside of the context of a DV Order) or are dismissed without a trial. However, I have had better than two dozen Domestic Violence cases that went to trial, with trials lasting anywhere from 60 minutes to five days. And, while past performance is no guarentee as to future success, I have prevailed in roughly 80% of the cases that were tried.
If you have been a victim of Domestic Violence and are in danger, call 911 before calling my office.
If you have been served with a Temporary Restraining Order, first, foremost, do not contact the plaintiff. You will be arrested and with Bail Reform, you may be incarcerated for a long period of time. Do not make any statements to the police – you will not talk your way out of it and the truth may not protect you. Call (609) 466-1222 24 hours per day / 7 days per week, leave a message with your phone number, then press #911. You must disabled “anonymous call rejection” on your phone to receive a call back.
New Jersey is one of only two States (along with Minnesota) where restraining orders never expire. While they are “permanent”, the law permits a defendant to apply to have a FRO dismissed as soon as 18 months after it’s issuance via the filing of an application which, if opposed, results in a hearing.