In New Jersey, victims of stalking, harassment, assault, or other abuse may file for a temporary restraining order (TRO) to get legal protection. In some cases, however, a person may be unable to file for a TRO by themselves. Minors are unable to file for a TRO and need an adult with them; some elderly and dependent adults who cannot go to the courthouse or police station alone may be in the same situation. New Jersey law allows you to get a restraining order for another person in special circumstances.
How to Get a Restraining Order for an Incapacitated Adult
Typically, only someone with a domestic relationship with their alleged abuser may file for a TRO. They do so by going to the courthouse or local police station to fill out the paperwork. Once the TRO takes effect, that person has legal protection against their abuser and cannot be contacted by their abuser.
When the alleged victim of abuse is a minor or a developmentally disabled, mentally defective, or mentally incapacitated adult, a parent or guardian can file a TRO for them. Their disability prevents them from understanding their circumstances and the conduct of the defendant and makes them incapable of providing consent. The disability, disease, or defect that renders the person incapacitated may be temporary or permanent and also includes temporary drug-induced or altered mental and physical states inflicted on the victim that makes them unable to understand or control their conduct.
Getting a Restraining Order for Elderly and Disabled Persons in New Jersey
Elderly and disabled persons can follow the same process to get a restraining order as in normal domestic violence cases. If you call the police because you are a caregiver for an elderly or disabled person and believe they have been a victim of domestic abuse, the police can file for a TRO on their behalf. They can also launch a domestic violence criminal complaint against the alleged abuser.
If the alleged victim is over 60 years old, the criminal charges may also amount to endangering the welfare of the elderly or disabled, which is a separate crime from domestic abuse. An endangerment charge can also come when the supposed abuser neglects their legal responsibilities of care to someone over 60 or who is disabled physically, mentally, psychologically, or emotionally and the alleged abuser does not provide the necessary care or allow someone else to.
Work With an Experienced Family Law Attorney
If you are a caregiver for an elderly or dependent adult in New Jersey and you fear for their safety following a domestic violence incident, you should have an attorney help you with the TRO process. Filing for a TRO and attending a final restraining order hearing is already a complex process when you have to go through it yourself. When you're doing it for someone else, it can become even more difficult.
Attorney Joseph D. Lento has helped countless victims of domestic abuse in New Jersey get legal protection through a restraining order. Contact the Lento Law Firm by calling 888-535-3686.