Accused of Harassment in Burlington County, NJ?
In New Jersey, a person can file for a restraining order against you if you have allegedly committed an act of domestic violence against them. The New Jersey Prevention of Domestic Violence Act set forth offenses that constitute acts of domestic violence, including harassment. Among domestic violence offenses, harassment is the most common accusation. In Burlington County alone, there were 2,348 document domestic violence cases involving harassment in 2016. The frequency of harassment charges and restraining orders based on harassment belies the seriousness of these offenses. If a restraining order has been filed against you in Burlington County on the basis of alleged harassment, it is crucial that you hire an experienced lawyer to defend you against the underlying allegations before the restraining order becomes final. This article provides some critical information that you’ll need if you have been accused of harassment. To get your specific questions addressed, call our Burlington County harassment defense lawyers at The Law Offices of Leonard D. Biddison now at 856-245-5240.
When is harassment grounds for a restraining order in New Jersey?
In order for harassment to constitute an act of domestic violence and thus, be grounds for a restraining order, there must be a victim of domestic violence—a person above the age of 18 who qualifies as a victim under the New Jersey Domestic Violence Act. Harassment of a victim occurs when the abuser intends to harass the victim with offensive and coarse language, communicates at extremely unreasonable hours, or in any way that would likely cause a reasonable person alarm and annoyance.
Harassment can also constitute an act of domestic violence if the abuser purposely tries to harass, hit, kick, or shove the victim, or intends to harass the victim by engaging in alarming conduct. New Jersey courts have ruled that purpose to harass can be inferred from the evidence in a particular case.
How do you get a New Jersey restraining order?
The purpose of a restraining order is to stop a person from having verbal or physical contact with a victim. To obtain a restraining order in New Jersey, a person must prove to the court that the individual against whom they are seeking the order committed one or more of the nine acts defined as acts of domestic violence in the New Jersey Domestic Violence Act and the order is necessary for their protection.
The first step to obtain a restraining order is to file for a temporary restraining order (TRO). TROs are issued by the superior court where the victim resides, the offender resides, the act of domestic violence took place, or where the victim is temporarily staying. These can be issued on an emergency basis by contacting the local police department, which will coordinate efforts with the court.
If a TRO is issued, there will be a hearing at a later date for a final restraining order (FRO). This is a permanent restraining order. At the hearing, the judge will listen to both sides, determine if the individual seeking protection qualifies as a victim of domestic violence and whether the order should be issued.
How can I get a restraining order removed in Burlington, NJ?
If a final restraining order is issued against you, it is typically permanent. In order to remove the restraining order, you must file to vacate the order based on a showing of good cause. Even if the court does vacate the restraining order, your name will remain on the National Domestic Violence Registry.
At the hearing to vacate the restraining order, the court will consider statements from the victim, whether they consent to vacating the restraining order, treatment and counseling received by the defendant, the current relationship of the victim and defendant, history of violence, and any contempt convictions of the defendant. You can read more about the process to lift a restraining order in NJ on our Vacating a Restraining Order page.
Facing a Harassment Restraining Order in Burlington, New Jersey
Being that final restraining orders are usually permanent and you will not be able to remove your name from the domestic violence registry, it is important to seek a skillful attorney right away once a TRO is issued or, ideally, before a TRO is even filed. This will give you the best opportunity to defend your position. If you are facing a restraining order and/or criminal charges for harassment in Burlington County, do not go through this process alone. Contact our local harassment defense attorneys today for a free consultation about your case. Court comes quickly, so time is limited to develop your best defense.