Different states handle restraining orders in different manners. For example, a final restraining order issued in New York will last either two to five years. In New Jersey however, a final restraining order lasts indefinitely, and will last until such time that the filing party vacates the order, or the named party is successful in dismissing the order.
For this reason it is critical that both parties understand the implications a final restraining order can have. The named party will want to seriously consider retaining legal counsel to represent them at the final restraining order hearing, and the filing party will want to be certain that the restraining order is necessary, and not simply an outlet for for frustrations or anger.
Legal Consequences of a Morris County Final Restraining Order
Beyond the restrictions in contact outlined in a restraining order, there are a number of other legal consequences for the defendant (the person being charged) associated with a final restraining order being entered against a person. These consequences include:
- The restraining order will be placed on the defendant’s permanent criminal record, potentially affecting employment
- The defendant cannot legally possess a firearm
- The defendant’s name is placed in the Domestic Violence Central Registry
- Potential monetary fines
- Violation of the restraining order can result in criminal charges which are often even more serious than the initial FRO itself
Clearly these consequences are very serious, even more so considering the fact that the Final Restraining Order will be in place indefinitely. If a Temporary Restraining Order has been issued against you, it is critical that you retain the legal counsel of an experienced Morris County restraining order attorney to represent you at your Final Restraining Order hearing. FRO hearings typically take place within 10 days of the TRO being issued, so it is important to move quickly to give your attorney time to investigate your case, and prepare your defense.
Vacating a Final Restraining Order in New Jersey as the Plaintiff
While New Jersey FROs will last indefinitely, the person who initially requested the restraining order (the Plaintiff) can file to vacate the order. Before this request will be granted however, the Plaintiff is required to receive court counseling regarding their rights and the potential consequences of vacating the FRO, and possibly fill out a Certification of Dismissal. If the court believes that the FRO is voluntarily being dismissed (without coercion from the Defendant), and that the Plaintiff understands the consequences of the dismissal, the order will be granted.
Vacating a Final Restraining Order in New Jersey as the Defendant
The process to vacate a final restraining is significantly more complex for the defendant than it is for the plaintiff. In order for the defendant to vacate a final restraining order placed against them, the defendant must first file a Notice of Motion to vacate the FRO, and the courts can only proceed with this motion once the Plaintiff has been served. If they cannot be reached, the Defendant must present good cause to proceed in light of the Plaintiff’s absence.
Should the court choose to proceed with the motion to vacate, they will then consider the eleven factors established in Carfagno v. Carfagno, 288 N.J.Super. 424 (Ch. Div. 1995) which determine whether or not there is reason to vacate the restraining order. These factors are:
- Whether the Plaintiff consents to dismissing the FRO
- Whether the Plaintiff fears the defendant
- The nature of the relationship between the parties today
- The defendant’s history of violating the FRO
- The defendant’s involvement in drug or alcohol abuse
- If the defendant has been involved in violent acts with other parties
- Whether or not the defendant has engaged in counseling
- The defendant’s age and health
- The good faith of the plaintiff in opposing the motion for dismissal
- Any other factors the court deems relevant to the particular case
Clearly, a great many factors will be considered during a Plaintiff’s request to vacate a Final Restraining Order, and having an experienced Morris County restraining order to help you present your unique case, and address the many concerns the court will have regarding your case.
Contact our Morristown Restraining Order Attorneys Today
At The Law Office of Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark, our family law attorneys have extensive experience helping clients across Chatham, Chester, Mendham, Morristown, and Morris County to file, defend against, and vacate New Jersey restraining orders.
By focusing on family law, our firm is uniquely suited to providing our clients with highly informed, experienced, and compassionate legal counsel in any family law matter.
To speak with our firm today in a free and confidential consultation regarding your restraining order needs and concerns, please contact us online, or through our Morristown office at 973-828-0829.