New Jersey Protective Order Process
If you are in the midst of a domestic violence emergency, it essential that you either call law enforcement or head to the most convenient police station to secure your immediate safety. After assuring that you are immediately safe from harm, you should go directly to the county courthouse in the domestic violence division to obtain an emergency restraining order.
A restraining order against your abuser could save your life, but you must go through the New Jersey protective order process properly to get a lasting and effective order from the court. This can be difficult to accomplish, especially during such a stressful time. However, a compassionate domestic violence attorney could stand by your side to help you safely get the legal support you need.
What is an Ex Parte Protective Order in New Jersey?
A temporary restraining order is considered to be ex parte, which is why it is much easier to secure than a permanent restraining order. Ex parte is when only one of the parties is present when the request is made. The petitioner will either call or meet with a judge to have the temporary order made. Such orders must be temporary because due process means that the other party has the right to present their side of the case before the order is made permanent.
The hearings for ex parte restraining orders often occur over the phone when the petitioner is at a police station. Many of the domestic violence situations that necessitate a protective order occur late at night and because judges are not working at the courthouse during that hour, the hearing will occur over the phone with a judge who is on call for that exact scenario. However, if they are going into the Superior Court during business hours, they would appear before a judge. If an order is granted, the accused will be served the order by the sheriff so they are aware of the conditions that they must follow to remain in compliance with the court’s will.
Preparing for a Protective Order Hearing
Anybody who will be going to court to get a restraining order should immediately contact an attorney to schedule a consultation and bring all relevant information and documents, such as the restraining order itself, police reports, and any records of prior issues. The attorney could identify the facts of the case and help prepare a strategy for the final protective order hearing. By analyzing what evidence there is and focusing on the material that will most effectively get the necessary order, an individual and their attorney could increase their chances of a positive outcome.
Another key element that survivors must remember is to show up to court on time on the allotted date of the hearing. If the petitioner does not show up, the restraining order can be dropped. If the defendant does not show up, it could be turned into a final restraining order hearing by default. While showing up in court to face an abuser requires a great deal of courage and may be difficult, going into court with a dedicated and capable attorney who is familiar with the New Jersey protective order process could help individuals feel better prepared to take the first steps to a new and safer life.
How Long Does an Emergency Restraining Order Last?
A temporary restraining order stays in effect all the way until the judge renders a decision about a permanent order. This means that victims have legal protection from the moment they are granted the ex parte order until potentially days after the hearing. Sometimes the judge will give a decision the same day, sometimes they will have to call them back. In other cases, they can give the client a written decision, but what happens is that the temporary restraining order stays in effect until it either becomes permanent or is dismissed.
How a Seasoned Attorney Could Help
An attorney could help represent domestic violence survivors at protective order hearings. They could gather all the necessary information, including evidence that many people would not think to bring. Hearings follow strict evidence rules, and an attorney must follow specific protocols in order to present documentation to the court. This information might make the difference between securing the final restraining order or having it dismissed. To learn more about your rights and the New Jersey protective order process, call an attorney today. Let a lawyer fight for you.