If you are a New Jersey resident, then it is important to understand how criminal court and family court can overlap regarding domestic relations. Specific actions that are listed by statute can be the basis for both a criminal charge and/or a protective order. If you are involved in a domestic situation that can result in criminal charges or a protective order being filed against you, then make sure that you get in touch with an experienced attorney right away.
What Is a Restraining Order?
A restraining order is a protection order authorized by a court that can stop someone from doing many things to another person. Common protections include preventing contact and preventing someone from being in certain places. Restraining orders are preventative measures to stop violence or harm from happening in the future.
A restraining order can forbid contact between the person who is protected by the order and the person who is accused of harming them. A restraining order can also limit interactions between the two groups of people in other ways, like preventing the accused from going to where the person they are accused of harming lives or works. If a restraining order is granted, then the accused will be required to move away from the person who is protected by it if the parties live together.
If the people involved in a restraining order case reconcile, the restraining order will not automatically be canceled. The restraining order will remain effective until a judge decides to cancel it. This means that even if the people involved meet or talk while the order is in effect, the person who was accused could still end up in legal trouble for a restraining order violation.
When Can a Restraining Order Be Authorized?
Restraining orders can be authorized for several reasons. Depending on the allegations, a restraining order can be granted whether the not the parties know each other.
If a court authorizes a restraining order against someone, then the person restrained will be forbidden from having any contact with the person who petitioned for the order and any others that are listed. If someone only wants an order prohibiting contact but not a criminal charge, then a restraining order can accomplish this goal. A criminal investigation or charges are not required to get a restraining order. Some people may decide to seek a restraining order instead of criminal charges because of the lower burden of proof and the ability to avoid an in-depth criminal investigation.
To get a restraining order, a complainant must file a petition with the local family court. The petition must include a detailed explanation of any allegations made and the relationship between the parties. Important details include the date, time, and location of the alleged events. Restraining orders can be granted for the following alleged actions:
- Sexual assault
- False imprisonment
If the court finds that a restraining order is necessary to protect the petitioner from the respondent, then a restraining order will be granted.
Who May Seek a Restraining Order in New Jersey?
New Jersey law allows a domestic violence victim the opportunity to seek a restraining order for protection. The restraining order petitioner must:
- Be at least 18 years old (or an emancipated minor) and claim that a spouse, ex-spouse, or any current or former roommates or housemates assaulted them
- Claim assault against someone with who they have a child in common
- Claim assault against a dating partner
If the petitioner seeking a restraining order falls under any of the situations listed above, then he or she meets the criteria to be a victim of domestic violence in New Jersey.
What Is False Imprisonment?
In New Jersey, false imprisonment is defined within the New Jersey Statutes at 2C:13-3. False imprisonment involves someone knowingly restraining another to substantially interfere with his or her liberty. If the alleged victim is under 18 years old and the actor is the parent or legal guardian, then it can be an affirmative defense if the parent has legal rights to control the child. False imprisonment is a disorderly person's offense in New Jersey and can result in up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. If you are facing allegations of false imprisonment, then it is important to speak to an experienced attorney as soon as possible.
Can False Imprisonment Result in a Restraining Order?
Yes, false imprisonment is an offense that is listed within New Jersey restraining order law. A complaint of false imprisonment can be made on a restraining order petition to obtain a restraining order against someone. It is not required that criminal charges are filed or even sought against the alleged actor to get a restraining order.
Do You Need an Attorney?
If you are facing a potential restraining order, then it can alter your life in many ways. It is common for people to unintentionally violate the requirements in a restraining order. Ignorance is not a defense, so it is important to have experienced legal help if you're facing the potential of a restraining order 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. Call us today if you have questions.
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.