Over 200 Years of Experience Defending Final Restraining Order Hearings in Hunterdon County New Jersey
The majority of domestic violence cases that are filed in Hunterdon County involve a restraining order. Whether you were issued a temporary restraining order (“TRO”) directly from the court or as the result of a domestic violence complaint filed with the police in Flemington, Clinton Township, Raritan or another local police department, you need to take action immediately. It is only a matter of days before you will have to present your defenses at a final restraining order (“FRO”) hearing before a Family Court judge at the Hunterdon County Superior Court. Retaining an attorney who is experienced in this setting is imperative since both the rules of evidence and domestic violence laws are complex, not to mention the fact that the outcome of the proceeding will decide whether you ever return to the residence you shared with the plaintiff, are able to communicate with the plaintiff, obtain possession of your weapons or enjoy any number of other rights.
We are the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall; one of the largest criminal defense firms in New Jersey. The ten (10) attorneys that make up our team have been defending restraining order hearings in Flemington and elsewhere in the state for decades. In fact, the collective experience of the lawyers spans well over 200 years, including many years serving as county prosecutors. If you are the subject of a temporary restraining order in Hunterdon County, our staff certainly has the trial skills to prepare and present a potent defense at your restraining order hearing. A lawyer is available to provide a comprehensive case review without charge by calling (908) 824-0855.
Why Is My Restraining Order Case Being Heard In Flemington?
The reason your restraining order hearing is being heard in Flemington is because that is where the Hunterdon County Superior Court is located. The Family Division of this court has exclusive jurisdiction to decide whether a temporary restraining order should become permanent and final. Whether the incident of alleged domestic violence occurred in Union Township, Readington, Lamberville or elsewhere, the hearing to decide whether your restraining order stands will be heard at the county courthouse located at Hunterdon County Justice Center, 65 Park Ave., 3rd Floor, Flemington, NJ 08822.
What Is The Standard To Be Applied By The Judge When Deciding Whether My Hunterdon County Restraining Order Should Become Final?
The judge presiding over a FRO hearing has to decide two separate issues employing a preponderance of the evidence standard. The first question is whether the evidence supports a finding that an act of domestic violence was committed against the victim. “Domestic violence” is defined as the commission of one of the following offenses against someone entitled to the protections afforded under the New Jersey Prevention of Domestic Violence Act:
- Simple Assault
- Aggravated Assault
- Terroristic Threat
- Sexual Assault
- Criminal Restraint
- Criminal Mischief
- Criminal Sexual Contact
- Violation of a Restraining Order
- Criminal Coercion
- False Imprisonment
- Any other act causing a risk of death or serious bodily injury to a person protected by this law
Assuming that the judge finds that a “predicate act of domestic violence” occurred (e.g. the victim was assaulted, harassed, terrorized, etc.), then the second question must be answered, namely, is a final restraining order necessary to protect the victim from future acts of domestic violence. A finding by the court that a simple assault, aggravated assault, harassment or terroristic threat occurred does not automatically trigger entry of a domestic violence restraining order permanently. In accordance with Silver v. Silver,387 N.J. Super. 112 (App.Div.2006), the court must find that there is an immediate danger to the domestic violence victim or, alternatively, that continuance of the restraining order indefinitely is necessary to prevent further abuse. This is a very fact sensitive determination that often comes down to whether there is a genuine fear that the defendant will commit another act of domestic violence absent continuation of the restraining order.
If the judge finds that the plaintiff has failed to meet his/her burden on either of these two issues, the restraining order is dismissed. Conversely, the restraints become final and permanent in the event that the court finds in plaintiff’s favor on both of these questions. The lawyers on our team are skilled in defending both of these issues so that you have every chance of a dismissal of the temporary domestic violence restraining order that was issued against you.
How Long Are The Restraints If I Lose My Flemington Restraining Order Hearing?
The restraints become final if you lose the hearing thereby permanently barring you from communicating or residing with the plaintiff, or possessing a firearm. Please note that the court frequently grants additional relief to the plaintiff if a FRO is entered including, but not limit to, temporary child support and custody of the children.
Will I Have A Criminal Record?
No. A restraining order is civil in nature although it does appear in an archive that is viewable by customs and other agencies. Individuals are often flagged upon re-entry to the country if they have a restraining order on their record.
Can A Restraining Order Effect My Immigration Status?
Typically, entry of a restraining order will not impact immigration status. The situation is completely different, however, if someone with a visa, green card or lacking status violates a restraining order. Removal proceedings are a clear possibility in the event that there is a violation of a restraining order in Hunterdon County or anywhere else.
Do I Need An Attorney To Defend My Restraining Order Case?
Too many people make the foolish mistake of attempting to defend a restraining order without the benefit of a gifted defense attorney. The common misconception is that there is no need to spend the money for representation because there is nothing criminal about a restraining order. The long term ramifications of this decision are almost immeasurable so we cannot stress enough how shortsighted you would be to follow this approach. You could be prevented from ever speaking with the plaintiff, permanently removed from your home, limited in your ability to visit your child, be required to pay temporary support (e.g. pay bills, child support, etc.) and be subject to a host of other consequences. You will also be subject to arrest the minute the complainant calls the police and accuses you of violating the restraining order.
Helpful Contact Information If You Are Facing a Restraining Order in Hunterdon County
Hunterdon County Superior Court, Family Division
908-824-9750, ext. 13830
Theresa Roberts-DeFord, Asst. Family Division Manager
908-824-9750, ext. 13493
The attorneys at our firm, the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall, 70 Church St, Flemington, NJ 08822, defend restraining orders issued throughout Hunterdon County including in Flemington, East Amwell, Raritan Township, Readington, Bethlehem, Lebanon, Tewksbury, Clinton Township, Union Township, Holland, Alexandria, Lambertville, Kingswood, High Bridge, Franklin, West Amwell, Glen Gardner, Hampton, Frenchtown, Milford, Califon, Bloomsbury and Stockton New Jersey.
Hunterdon County Restraining Order Defense Lawyers
As you can see, a restraining order can create a tangled web of pitfalls. This is why selecting the best attorney you can identify to defend you is critical. We know that the veteran criminal lawyers at our firm, the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall, possess the tools that are needed in this regard. Indeed, we have over two centuries in practice between us with loads of dismissals on behalf of clients like you. If you are the subject of a temporary restraining order and need assist defending a final hearing in Flemington, our attorneys are ready to assist you. Contact our Flemington Office now at (908) 824-0855 for a free consultation with a lawyer.