New Jersey, like Pennsylvania, provides protection for victims of Domestic Violence. In New Jersey a victim may seek a Restraining Order against his/her abuser through an Order granted by the Superior Court, Family Part, pursuant to the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act (PDVA).
What is a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO)
Where a claim of violence is alleged, the victim may seek a Temporary Order at any time. The victim may seek this Order during normal Court hours or at a police station when Courts are closed. To retain a Temporary Order (TRO) the victim must allege predicate under the PDVA and further state that he or she believes that the abuser presents a threat to their safety. The Court will grant the Temporary Order and schedule a Final Restraining Order Hearing (FRO).
While the TRO is in place, however, the abuser cannot contact, directly or indirectly, the victim. If the abuser contacts the victim, he or she can be held in contempt of this TRO.
What happens at a Final Restraining Order Hearing (FRO)
At an FRO Hearing the victim, through counsel, must satisfy a two (2) part test:
- The Court must determine whether the Plaintiff (victim), has proven by a preponderant amount of evidence that one (1) or more predicate acts under the Domestic Violence Act was committed; and
- Whether a Final Restraining Order should be granted to protect the victim from further violence.
What is considered domestic violence in New Jersey (predicate act?)
In New Jersey domestic violence means one or more of the following acts (predicate act)
- Terroristic threats
- Criminal restraint
- False imprisonment
- Sexual assault
- Criminal sexual assault
- Criminal mischief
- Criminal coercion
Violation of a FRO or TRO is a crime in the fourth degree in New Jersey.
It is important to understand that the Commission of one or more predicate acts in and of itself does not automatically require a Restraining Order. The Plaintiff must prove that it is necessary to protect the victim from immediate danger or to prevent further abuse.
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