Obtaining a Restraining Order After Being Held Against Your Will in New Jersey

Posted by Joseph D. Lento | Sep 01, 2023 | 0 Comments

If you have recently been held against your will, you are intimately familiar with the “fight, flight, or freeze” response that the human body undergoes during moments of peak fear-related stress. There are few sensations more intense than this survival instinct, and – thankfully – you can use it to your advantage even after you've escaped the initial danger. You can fight for your right to remain safe and forever flee the perpetrator who has caused your harm.

Understanding “False” Imprisonment

Per New Jersey statute 2C:13-3, “A person commits a disorderly persons offense if he knowingly restrains another unlawfully so as to interfere substantially with his liberty.” Essentially, this means that it is unlawful to hold someone against their will. The act of “interfering substantially” with another's liberty is both a criminal offense and a civil offense commonly referred to as false imprisonment.

Don't be put off by this term. There is nothing “false” about the feeling of being restrained by another and not being able to immediately escape that danger. It is a legal term, nothing more.

Seeking Temporary and Permanent Protection

Domestic violence restraining orders based – wholly or in part – on an act of false imprisonment are issued when the perpetrator and victim either are in a romantic relationship or have been in such a relationship in the past. Meaning if your perpetrator is a spouse, partner, dating partner, parent of one or more of your children, or has been characterized as such in the past, you can seek a domestic violence restraining order against them.

You'll need to start this process by applying for a temporary restraining order, which will remain in effect until a hearing can be scheduled concerning a more permanent solution. You'll then need to attend a final restraining order hearing where you'll need to prove the following:

  • A so-called predicate act of domestic violence has been committed
  • A prior history of domestic violence applies to the offender
  • A restraining order is necessary to facilitate your safety and well-being

Note that false imprisonment is one of the 15 predicate acts of violence recognized by New Jersey courts.

Personalized Guidance Concerning Restraining Orders Is Available

Processing the legal and practical aftermath of being held against your will can be an isolating and emotionally-draining experience. Know that the experienced Family Law Team at the Lento Law Firm is here to help, as no one should have to deal with what you've been through without proper support and guidance.

The Lento Family Law Team can help you to secure both temporary and permanent restraining orders against the perpetrator of your false imprisonment. Depending on the nature of your circumstances, we can also assist you with your divorce and/or child custody needs. To learn more about how we can help, call 888-535-3686 or contact us online to schedule a free legal consultation. We look forward to working with you.

About the Author

Joseph D. Lento

"I pride myself on having heart and driving hard to get results!" Attorney Joseph D. Lento is a veteran of one of the nation's busiest family courts with nearly 20 years' experience passionately helping families. By day, he worked in the trenches of family court, and at night, he studied the law. He helped countless families while working at family court, and he went on to become an attorney, dedicating his law practice to continuing the work he started years earlier. Mr. Lento's experience both behind the scenes and on the front lines allows him to understand a client's family law matter from all angles, and allows him to find and employ the most effective strategies to get favorable outcomes for any client. Joseph D. Lento is licensed in New Jersey and New York, and is admitted pro hac vice as needed nationwide. In the courtroom and in life, attorney Joseph D. Lento stands up when the bell rings! He does not settle for the easiest outcome, and instead prioritizes his clients' needs and protects their interests.


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Attorney Joseph D. Lento has more than a decade of experience practicing Family Law in New Jersey. If you are having any uncertainties about what the future may hold for you and your family, contact our offices today. Family Law Attorney Joseph Lento will go above and beyond the needs for any client and fight for what is fair.

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