The State of New Jersey provides temporary and final restraining orders to protect victims of domestic violence. A temporary restraining order (TRO) can be issued upon showing probable cause that an act of domestic violence occurred. The TRO can bar the abusive spouse from the residence, require them to relinquish any firearms they own, and prevent them from having any contact with their victim pending the Final Restraining Order (FRO) trial being heard. A Final Restraining Order (FRO) trial is usually scheduled within 7-10 days of the TRO being granted. During the FRO trial, the Plaintiff has to prove their case by a preponderance of the evidence. For an FRO to be granted the Plaintiff must prove that they qualify as a victim under the New Jersey Prevention of Domestic Act, that the Defendant committed an act of Domestic Violence, and that the FRO is necessary to protect the life, health or well-being of the victim.
To qualify as a victim you must fall into one of the following categories of persons: spouse, former spouse, household member, former household member, those who have a child or will be having a child together, and those within a dating relationship. Domestic Violence is defined under the New Jersey Prevention of Domestic Violence Act as the occurrence of one or more of the following 14 acts inflicted upon a person protected under the Act by an adult or an emancipated minor: homicide, assault, terroristic threats, kidnapping, criminal restraint, false imprisonment, sexual assault, criminal sexual contact, lewdness, criminal mischief, burglary, criminal trespass, harassment, and stalking.
If the Court determines that the Plaintiff has met his/her burden a FRO will be granted resulting in the Defendant being unable to own or carry a weapon, barring he/she from committing any future acts of domestic violence, requiring the Defendant to stay away from the Plaintiff’s home and or place of employment, and barring any future contact by the aggressor or communications by the aggressor or his/her representatives. It is recommended that the Plaintiff have a copy of the FRO accessible at all times. If the Defendant violates the FRO you can simply go to a police station with a copy of the restraining order and report the violation. If the Defendant violates the FRO, he/she is in contempt of Court and will have a contempt hearing scheduled in the Criminal Division of the Superior Court. Penalties for contempt of an FRO include fines and jail time.