Restraining Order Defense Lawyer in Atlantic County, NJ
One of the most serious implications of a domestic violence charge can be a restraining order. Far too often, a restraining order is sought by a spurned ex (an ex-spouse, ex-boyfriend, or ex-girlfriend) who is motivated by anger and seeking revenge. However, regardless of the reasons or motivations, a restraining order can have a profound impact on your life. It can prevent you from entering your own home and it can even prevent you from seeing your children.
John W. Tumelty is an Atlantic City criminal defense lawyer who protects clients at every stage of the criminal justice process. Whether you’ve been charged with a domestic violence offense or need representation at a restraining order hearing, Mr. Tumelty can help you. He is a former state and assistant county prosecutor with 35 years of criminal law experience. Now he represents clients at criminal proceedings and restraining order hearings throughout South Jersey, including Atlantic County and Cape May County.
What Kinds of Penalties Do You Face for Violations of Restraining Orders?
A restraining order prohibits an individual from contacting the alleged victim or engaging in certain behavior. When a temporary restraining order (TRO) is granted, it goes into effect immediately. It is very easy for an accuser to have you arrested for violating the terms of a TRO. A mere accusation is enough for law enforcement to place you under arrest because the police take an “ask questions later” approach to domestic violence incidents and restraining order violations.
Within 10 days of the TRO being granted, a civil court hearing for a final restraining order (FRO) will be scheduled. While a mere allegation of domestic violence is sufficient to get a TRO entered against you, an FRO requires greater proof:
- The alleged victim must prove that they were in a relationship with the defendant. This generally means that the parties are spouses, ex-spouses, involved in a dating relationship, co-parents or members of the same household.
- The victim must also prove that they are in need of protection from the defendant. Evidence that the defendant committed an act of domestic violence is typically sufficient to meet this requirement. These acts include assault, homicide, harassment, terroristic threats, stalking, kidnapping, criminal restraint, false imprisonment, sexual assault, criminal sexual contact, lewdness, burglary, criminal trespass and criminal mischief.
- The alleged victim must also convince the judge that they have reason to fear for their safety absent the issuance of a restraining order.
In addition to addressing the restraining order at an FRO hearing, you may also be required to answer criminal charges in a separate court proceeding. Domestic violence incidents often result in both a restraining order and criminal charges such as harassment, stalking, and assault.
Once an FRO has been issued, you must abide by its requirements and restrictions. If you violate the terms of a restraining order, you can be charged with criminal contempt. This charge may be classified as a fourth degree felony, which is punishable by up to 18 months in New Jersey State Prison. Even if your charge is classified as a disorderly persons offense, you can be sentenced to up to six months in county jail. If you are convicted of a second disorderly persons violation of a restraining order, you will be required to serve a minimum of 30 days in county jail.
Restraining Order Attorney Represents Clients at TROs and FROs in Atlantic and Cape May Counties
If you have been arrested as a result of a domestic violence incident, it is imperative that you speak with an experienced attorney immediately. A knowledgeable domestic violence attorney can protect your right to a fair hearing and potentially get your restraining order vacated.
Call the Law Offices of John W. Tumelty to schedule a free consultation with an experienced criminal defense attorney. John Tumelty understands the nuances of complex domestic violence laws in New Jersey. That’s why the firm also provides assistance for victims of domestic violence. Contact Mr. Tumelty today to arrange a meeting at one of his office locations in Marmora and Somers Point. He will sit down with you at his office to discuss what happened in your case and explain exactly what you have to do to get your charges dismissed.