NJ Domestic Violence and Restraining Orders
Domestic violence is a serious matter in NJ, and if convicted of it can result in life changing consequences, lick the potential of criminal prosecution or having a restraining order being entered against you. The law firm of Richard Huizenga has the knowledge and experience to represent those facing domestic violence charges and restraining order hearings.
If you have been charged with domestic violence, you need to secure the services of an experienced criminal defense attorney. Having a final restraining order issued against you or being convicted of domestic violence can have life long consequences.
Domestic violence cases often present difficult issues of proof, as there are often no witnesses to the alleged abuse. Such cases often come down to a ‘he said she said’ contest. After hearing all the evidence presented, the court ultimately sides with the party that the court views as the more believable party.
To determine if an act of domestic violence has occurred, the judge will consider whether the acts of the alleged abuser constituted any of the following crimes:
- Criminal Mischief
- Criminal Trespass
- Terroristic Threats
- Sexual Assault
There are 2 Types of Restraining Orders
Temporary Restraining Orders
Temporary restraining orders are frequently issued in order to provide temporary protection from alleged domestic abuse, and in lieu of a possible final restraining order, which requires a firmer evidence, and which may be entered at a later time.
Final Restraining Orders
Under New Jersey law, a final restraining order, is permanent and remains in effect unless the alleged victim or a court moves for its removal. A final restraining order in New Jersey is a strong protection for victims of domestic abuse. Final restraining order hearings in New Jersey are conducted by a Superior Court Judge from the Family Division. The standard of proof under which the elements must be demonstrated is a lower standard of proof than is required in a criminal trial. In a final restraining order hearing, the standard of proof is that the elements be proved by a ‘preponderance of the evidence’, a standard that has often been explained as being met where ‘it is more likely than not’ that the elements have been satisfied; in a criminal trial, the standard of proof is the more forbidding standard of ‘beyond a reasonable doubt.’
Although the hearing is not a criminal proceeding, the imposition of a final restraining order comes with some heavy sanctions:
- You are classified as an abuser, and will be fingerprinted and your records placed in a database
- You cannot own a firearm
- You will be listed in a domestic violence registry
- Violations of the terms of the final restraining order (or even a temporary restraining order) are considered criminal offenses which can, and in some circumstances must, result in a jail sentence
The Law Firm of Richard Huizenga can help
The Law Firm of Richard Huizenga has experience in handling domestic violence charges and restraining order issues. Call our law firm at (732) 500-4688 for a free consultation.