At BorgerMatez, our attorneys represent both victims of domestic violence and defendants who have been accused of domestic violence. The most common forms of domestic violence are assault, threats, and harassment. Abuse does not have to be physical, but can be any behavior that causes the victim to fear for his or her safety. Some examples include verbal threats to strike, kick or sexually assault the victim, sending harassing e-mails or text messages, excessive phone calls without a legitimate purpose. In New Jersey, victims must be 18 years old or older to file a domestic violence complaint in court. The courts do not distinguish between victims based on physical or psychological condition or by sexual orientation. The Prevention of Domestic Violence Act is not limited to protecting only married individuals but includes persons who are cohabiting and even only dating. A Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) may be entered by a hearing officer, Judge of the Superior Court or Judge of the Municipal Court, upon the application of the alleged victim who must testify about what happened and that he/she is in fear of his/her safety and a restraining order is necessary to protect him/her. If a TRO is granted, the court will schedule a hearing within approximately 10 days and the defendant will be served with the TRO advising him/her of the date for the final hearing. At the final hearing, the parties will have an opportunity to testify, bring witnesses and evidence, and the court will ultimately determine if the defendant committed an act of domestic violence, and, if so, if the victim requires the protection of a Final Restraining Order (FRO). In addition to entering an FRO, upon a finding of domestic violence, Judges have the discretion to also grant other relief such as custody and parenting time, spousal support, child support, sole occupancy of a home, possession and use of vehicles and other assets, monetary damages, and more.
A Restraining Order does not necessarily guarantee a person’s safety from another, but does provide that if the defendant violates the order, he/she will be arrested and charged with a fourth degree crime. Domestic Violence Restraining Orders in New Jersey are permanent; they never expire. Upon a finding of domestic violence and the entry of an FRO, the defendant’s name is placed on a national Domestic Violence Registry which may impact his/her ability to obtain security clearances, work with or near children, adopt a child, enter the law enforcement field, and which may have other consequences. If you are a victim of physical abuse or verbally threatened or harassed, you should call the police immediately. Once you are safe, contact an experienced attorney in our office at BorgerMatez to assist you. If you’ve been charged with committing an act of domestic violence and a TRO has been entered against you, call one of our experienced attorneys at BorgerMatez to represent you and protect your interests and your future.