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Bridgeton, NJ 08302
Whether you are a domestic violence victim or have been accused of committing an act of domestic violence against a spouse, partner, or other individuals, you need to make informed decisions about your next steps. Dealing with instances of domestic violence (or false allegations of domestic violence) can be challenging, and the issuance of a domestic violence restraining order can have long-term consequences. Our Salem restraining order attorneys are here to help, and we can take action on your behalf immediately if necessary.
Since we have experience on both sides of domestic violence restraining order cases, we are well-versed in the practical and legal issues involved. We understand what it is like to be in a situation where you need to seek protection in court, and we know what it means to be facing serious accusations of domestic violence. Regardless of your situation, our Salem restraining order attorneys can use their experience to help you, and we will fight to ensure that you receive the complete protection the law affords.
The New Jersey Prevention of Domestic Violence Act (PDVA) provides important protections for victims of domestic violence in Salem. These protections include the ability to seek a restraining order. Domestic violence victims can go directly to the Salem County Superior Court and obtain a temporary restraining order immediately, and then they can seek long-term protection if necessary.
While domestic violence is a criminal offense in New Jersey, seeking a domestic violence restraining order is a civil matter. This means that victims only need to present evidence that establishes the need for a restraining order “by a preponderance of the evidence.” If the Salem County Superior Court judge concludes that it is more likely than not that a restraining order is needed, the judge can issue a temporary restraining order ex parte (which means it would be
issued without the perpetrator having the opportunity to present a defense).
There are two types of restraining orders available to domestic violence victims in Salem. Knowing which type of restraining order to seek—and when—is extremely important for your protection. Our Salem restraining order attorneys can guide you through the process of choosing the right type of restraining order for your situation and file for protection on your behalf.
Putting an end to domestic violence starts with obtaining a temporary restraining order (TRO). As noted above, Salem County Superior Court judges can issue TROs ex parte—meaning that only the victim is present in court. Due to the importance of timely issuing TROs in cases of domestic violence, the court has judges “on call” who are available to issue these restraining orders on an emergency basis.
Temporary restraining orders are usually valid for about 10 days. To secure long-term protection, domestic violence victims must attend a hearing at which they petition the court for a final restraining order (FRO). Final restraining orders are permanent, and they can include a variety of different protections for victims. Once you have a TRO in place, our Salem restraining order attorneys will begin preparing for your FRO hearing, and we will work to ensure that you have all the protection you need to live comfortably and without fear of further abuse.
If you have been sexually assaulted in a non-domestic violence situation, you can seek protection under the New Jersey Sexual Assault Survivor Protection Act (SASPA). This law protects individuals who do not qualify to obtain TROs under the PVDA. A SASPA restraining order is similar to a domestic violence TRO, and individuals who get these orders must generally attend a hearing to secure a final restraining order within 10 days. Our Salem restraining order attorneys also handle these situations, and we can help you secure protection regardless of your relationship (or lack thereof) with the perpetrator.
If you have been accused of domestic violence or sexual assault, having a restraining order entered against you can have serious consequences. While you may not be able to avoid a TRO or SASPA restraining order (since you generally won’t have the opportunity to appear in court), you can—and should—fight to protect yourself against an FRO. Even if you cannot avoid an FRO entirely, attending your hearing and fighting to limit the scope of your FRO can be well worth it. Our Salem restraining order attorneys can help you decide how best to proceed, and we can represent you in the Salem County Superior Court.
In many cases, defending against a restraining order and serious allegations of domestic violence or sexual assault go hand-in-hand. If you are facing criminal charges, our attorneys can handle your criminal case in addition to fighting your final restraining order.
In addition to defending individuals against restraining orders in domestic violence and sexual assault cases, we also defend individuals against restraining order violations. Violating a restraining order can have severe consequences, so this is a situation that needs to be taken very seriously. If you need to defend against a restraining order violation in Salem, our attorneys can use their experience to protect you to the fullest extent possible.
While final restraining orders are permanent, individuals who are subject to FROs can seek relief from their restrictions by filing an appeal or motion to vacate. Our Salem restraining order attorneys represent both victims and perpetrators in these cases.
Once a Salem County Superior Court judge issues an FRO, the perpetrator has 45 days to file an appeal. A successful appeal eliminates the FRO. The grounds to file an appeal are limited, with some examples including:
● The judge misinterpreted the facts presented at the FRO hearing;
● The judge misapplied the PDVA, SASPA, or any of the laws establishing the underlying offenses of domestic violence or sexual assault; or,
● The judge did not make all of the findings necessary to support the issuance of an FRO (i.e., a history of domestic violence, a recent act of domestic violence, and the need for a restraining order to ensure the victim’s protection).
Another option is to file a motion to vacate. Unlike an appeal, there is no deadline to file a motion to vacate. Instead, to file a successful motion, the individual who is subject to an FRO must be able to demonstrate a “change in circumstances” that warrants termination of the FRO. However, even if circumstances have changed, the victim can still seek to keep the FRO in
place if it is necessary for the victim’s ongoing protection.
There are three basic requirements for obtaining a domestic violence restraining order. Our Salem restraining order attorneys can file for a TRO or FRO on your behalf if we can show that:
● You are the victim of a recent act of domestic violence (also referred to as a “predicate act”);
● You have experienced a history of domestic violence; and,
● A restraining order is necessary to protect your safety and well-being.
Restraining orders can provide domestic violence and sexual assault victims with several forms of protection. They can also impose various restrictions and conditions not directly related to the victim’s protection. For example, common restraining order terms include:
● Prohibiting the perpetrator from contacting the victim or the victim’s family
● Prohibiting the perpetrator from visiting the victim’s home, school, or workplace
● Prohibiting the perpetrator from staking, harassing, and committing other criminal acts
● Providing temporary custody of shared children
● Requiring the perpetrator to surrender all firearms
● Requiring the perpetrator to attend counseling or therapy
If you violate a restraining order in Salem, you can be held in contempt of court. In most cases, this is a disorderly person's offense carrying up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine. However, if the violation involves committing a new crime of domestic violence or sexual assault, you can be prosecuted for a fourth-degree indictable crime carrying up to 18 months in prison and a $10,000 fine. These are in addition to the penalties you are facing for the underlying criminal
If you need more information, we encourage you to speak with one of our Salem restraining order attorneys about your situation. Call 877-435-6371 or contact us online to schedule a confidential consultation today.
Don’t let your rights be jeopardized.