Courts We Serve
Middlesex County Domestic Violence Defense Lawyers
|What You Need To Know About Domestic Violence||Final Restraining Order Hearings|
|What Conduct Constitutes Domestic Violence||Why Was I Arrested By The Police|
|Temporary Restraining Orders||Frequently Asked Domestic Violence Questions|
The term domestic violence describes a broad range of abusive conduct directed by the actor against a present or former household member, someone with whom they had a dating relationship or share a child in common. If you have been accused of this type of behavior it is important that you understand that there is no criminal charge by this name.
The New Jersey Prevention of Domestic Violence Act (“the Act”) creates the possibility of civil trouble in the form of a restraining order, however, for those who commit domestic violence. In addition, a criminal offense often arises when a temporary restraining order is entered since a prerequisite to this relief is a showing that a simple assault or other act of abuse was committed by the accused.
The Middlesex County domestic violence defense lawyers at Marshall Bonus Proetta & Oliver have decades of experience defending restraining orders at the Superior Court in New Brunswick and related criminal violations throughout the county. If you are the subject of proceedings involving allegations of domestic violence, contact our firm to speak to a lawyer on our staff in a free consultation.
What You Need To Know About Domestic Violence
In order to qualify for a restraining order in New Jersey, the claimant must have a relationship with the defendant that falls within one of the following categories:
- Household member
- Child in common
- Dating relationship
Although qualification is construed liberally by our courts, there are limits to who can obtain a restraining order. For example, our courts have held that a brother lacked standing to secure a temporary restraining order where he had not resided with his defendant sibling for more than 20 years. A similar result was reached where a daughter sought relief against a father whom she had not resided with for over 15 years. The cases have concluded that there must be some special opportunity for abusive and controlling behavior between the parties because of their continued emotional entanglement otherwise the household connection is too remote to consider the recent acts domestic violence.
One of the first avenues of defense which our lawyers pursue is the standing of the plaintiff. If the dating relationship or household relationship is too remote to allow for a restraining order, our attorneys will certainly utilize that basis to dismiss a temporary restraining order.
What Conduct Constitutes Domestic Violence
When someone commits an act of domestic violence against someone afforded protection under the Act, the may be subjected to a restraining order precluding any further contact with the “victim”. An act of domestic violence means the commission of the following criminal offenses:
- Terroristic threat
- Criminal mischief
- Sexual assault
- Criminal restraint
- Criminal sexual contact
The criminal defense attorneys at our firm have over a century of experience representing individuals charged with these criminal offenses so we are certainly skilled in defending allegations of this nature in both the context of a restraining order and in criminal court.
Temporary Restraining Orders
A temporary restraining order is issued to protect a victim from additional acts of domestic violence. They must demonstrate to a judge that they qualify for protection, have been a victim of domestic violence and also that their life, health or well-being is or has been endangered by the accused. If the court finds that there is probable cause to believe that all of this exists, it will enter a temporary restraining order. The standard relief bars the defendant from: (1) maintaining possession of firearms and other weapons; (2) having any direct or indirect contact with the plaintiff; and (3) returning to the house or apartment that was shared with the plaintiff. For addition information read more about temporary restraining orders.
Final Restraining Order Hearings
A final restraining order hearing is to be conducted within 10 days of issuance of the temporary restraints in accordance with N.J.S.A. 2C:25-29. This is the time that the defendant has his or her chance to present evidence and to dispute the allegations of the plaintiff. Please note that testimony of either party given at this hearing cannot be used in a related criminal proceeding.
The plaintiff has the burden of proving the elements necessary to secure a final restraining order by a preponderance of the evidence. This standard of proof is much lower than what is required to convict someone of aggravated assault or another criminal charge, namely, beyond reasonable doubt. In order to prevail at the restraining order hearing, the court must find that plaintiff has proven, by a preponderance, that an act of domestic violence occurred and second that a restraining order is necessary to protect the plaintiff from immediate danger or further acts of domestic violence. For more information regarding final restraining order hearings click here.
The lawyers at Marshall Bonus Proetta & Oliver have defended hundreds of final restraining order hearings at the Family Division in New Brunswick and other county courts. We know how to not only battle these cases but also the best ways to finesse a matter to foster a dismissal.
Why Was I Arrested By The Police?
When police arrive at the scene of a domestic violence call, they be in a situation where they are required by law to make an arrest or one where they have discretion to decide if this is warranted.
Police must make an arrest and file criminal charges if the alleged victim exhibits signs of injury including, but not limited to, bruising, scratches, lacerations, etc. In some instances, police will arrive at a scene and both parties show signs of injury. In order to determine which of the two committed domestic violence, the officer should compare the extent of the injuries, consider any history of domestic violence between the parties and any other relevant circumstances. The second scenario where someone must be arrested is where there is probable cause to believe that a no contact order or restraining order has been violated. The third reason is the existence of a warrant.
The police have discretion to make an arrest where there is probable cause to believe that an individual has committed domestic violence. There is no mandate for arrest under this scenario.
Frequently Asked Domestic Violence Questions
Why Do I Have A Criminal Complaint and a Domestic Violence Complaint?
As stated previously, there must be an act of domestic violence in order for someone to secure a temporary restraining order. This act is, by definition, a criminal offense like harassment, simple assault, terroristic threat, etc. Unless it is a scenario involving physical signs of injury or other probable cause for the police to file a criminal charge on their own, the victim is typically asked if they wish to file an offense. No criminal offense is filed if they decline. Conversely, you will be the subject of both a criminal offense that will be litigated in criminal court and a restraining order in the Family Division of the Superior Court if police issue charges or the victim signs a criminal complaint.
Do I Need To Hire An Attorney For The Restraining Order Since It Is Not Criminal?
You are never required to hire an attorney but the ramifications are significant if you lose your hearing and the restraining order becomes final. In addition to never being able to return to you residence or communicate with the victim, you will be subject to arrest for a criminal contempt charge for a violation of a restraining order. All that is required for this to occur is for the victim to accuse you of attempting to make contact, driving past their place of employment or home, or doing anything else that violates the restraints. You will also be flagged every time you attempt to reenter the United States and can never own or possess a weapon. You need to put your best effort into winning the restraining order to insure you avoid these consequences. Hiring a skilled domestic violence lawyer is a must in accomplishing this objective.
How Long Does A Restraining Order Last In New Jersey?
There is no time limitation on a restraining order. Once it goes to final, the restraints are permanent unless either vacated/dismissed by the victim or you file an Order to Show Cause and are successful.
Experienced Domestic Violence Attorneys Are Ready To Help You
Our team of defense attorneys have represented countless clients in your shoes. We know how overwhelmed and confused you are probably feeling and are prepared to help you through this difficult time. The key in our opinion is that you enlist the services of the best lawyer you can find. We believe that the lawyers at Marshall Bonus Proetta & Oliver have the experience and skill you require. Call our Woodbridge Office, New Brunswick, Piscataway or East Brunswick Office for an immediate free consultation.