If you live in New Jersey, then it is important to understand how criminal and family court can intersect when it comes to domestic relations. Certain acts can lay the foundation for both a criminal charge and/or a protective order. If you are facing a domestic situation that might result in criminal charges or a protective order being filed, then it is important to speak to an experienced attorney as soon as possible.
What Is a Restraining Order?
A restraining order is a protective order that can prohibit an individual from doing many things involving another person. Common protections include preventing contact and preventing an individual's presence in certain places. Restraining orders are preventative measures to defend alleged victims from future harm or violence.
It is common for restraining orders to forbid contact with the individual protected by the order. Restraining orders can also limit all interactions with the protected party's family, friends, acquaintances, roommates, and/or other relevant persons. Restraining orders can also prohibit the accused from going to where the protected individual works and lives. It doesn't matter if the parties involved live together. If a restraining order is granted, then the accused will be required to move out.
Restraining orders are not automatically canceled if the parties involved reconcile. A restraining order will last for the amount of time specified by the order, no matter what. This means that even if the people involved meet or talk while the order is in effect, the person who was accused could still get in trouble. The restraining order will stay in place until a judge decides to cancel it.
When Can a Restraining Order Be Authorized?
Restraining orders can be granted on several different grounds. A restraining order can be granted whether the not the accused knows the alleged victim.
If a judge grants a restraining order, the defendant will not be able to have any contact with the petitioner. If the petitioner only wants a no-contact order, this can be done with a restraining order. It is not necessary to file criminal charges if you want a restraining order. Some people may choose to get a no-contact order through a restraining order because it is easier to get, and there is less of a chance of an in-depth criminal investigation.
Restraining orders are requested in the local family court. When filling out a restraining order petition, it is important to include a detailed explanation of what happened. This should include the date, time, and location of the alleged incident. Restraining orders are available for the following actions:
- Sexual assault
- False imprisonment
If the judge feels a restraining order is necessary to protect the alleged victim from the accused, then the judge will likely authorize one.
Who May Seek a Restraining Order in New Jersey?
New Jersey law permits someone alleging domestic violence the ability to obtain a restraining order. The individual making the claim must be:
- At least 18 years of age (or an emancipated minor) alleging assault by a spouse, ex-spouse, or any current or former roommates or housemates
- Someone who alleges assault against another with who they share a child
- Someone who alleges assault against a dating partner
If the individual making the claim fits any of the above situations, then he or she is considered a victim of domestic violence under New Jersey law.
What Is Criminal Coercion?
In New Jersey, criminal coercion is defined under the New Jersey Statutes at 2C:13-5. Criminal coercion involves someone requiring someone else to do or not do something through force or threat. Criminal coercion can involve blackmailing the victim or someone close to him or her with physical harm, threats of committing a crime, or revealing damaging secrets about the victim or others.
Criminal coercion is a fourth-degree crime in New Jersey that can result in up to 18 months in prison and a $10,000.00 fine. If the threats made include a criminal intent, then a conviction can result in three to five years in prison and a $15,000.00 fine. If you are facing allegations of criminal coercion, then make sure to speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney right away.
Can Criminal Coercion Result in a Restraining Order?
Criminal coercion was added to the list of things that can be used as grounds for a restraining order in cases of domestic violence by the state legislature in 2015. The Act allows people who are being coerced (made afraid) or others important to them to seek a restraining order that keeps the abuser away from the victim and the victim's loved ones, family members, or household members. Minors can be protected under the Act's provisions.
Do You Need an Attorney?
If you have a restraining order against you, it can change a lot of things. You might break the rules of the order without meaning to. That's why it's important to get legal help if you're facing the potential of a restraining order or even criminal charges. Having an experienced lawyer on your side can help you defend against potential restraining orders and/or criminal charges. An experienced lawyer can also help you avoid violating court orders if they have already been imposed and otherwise getting in trouble with the law.
Contact the Lento Law Firm Today
If you have questions about restraining orders, then it is important that you speak to an experienced attorney right away. It is important to understand the restraining order process to effectively prepare and present your restraining order case. To learn why the Lento Law Firm is the right decision to help you with a restraining order, call us toll-free at 888-535-3686 or contact us online.