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What Should I do If I’m Falsely Accused of Domestic Violence During Quarantine?

Domestic Violence is a real and substantial issue not to be taken lightly in New Jersey. The New Jersey Prevention of Domestic Violence Act is designed to protect real victims of domestic violence, however, unfortunately, they are some instances in which an individual obtains a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) to gain leverage in a custody battle or to remove a spouse from the marital home. In these unprecedented times of the coronavirus pandemic, while we are all at home more than normal and the inevitable disagreement and marital discord are bound to happen, it is critical that individuals are aware of their actions at all times and how to protect against a false claim of domestic violence.

If you are in the unfortunate circumstances where a TRO is entered against you, it is to be scheduled for a hearing before a Superior Court Judge within 10 days to determine if a final order hearing should be entered. While these Final hearings are supposed to be scheduled within 10 days pursuant to the New Jersey Domestic Violence Act, the coronavirus has caused unexpected delays with some courts holding virtual hearings. A virtual hearing can have pros or cons depending on your situation, but there is no question it is different. Further, if there are multiple witnesses or police officers that need to testify a virtual hearing may not be possible, and the “temporary” restraining order may remain in place for much longer than 10 days until the court can hold an in-person hearing.

It is critical to know your options and to have an attorney who will expedite your matter, so you are not displaced from your home or unable to see your children. There are different options depending on where the initial TRO was entered – an immediate appeal may be appropriate, particularly if there is a simultaneous divorce matter. Further, an experienced attorney may be able to address a Civil Restraints Consent Order in place of a Final Restraining Order. The coronavirus pandemic has caused new and unique procedural issues related to Domestic Violence hearings such that an experienced attorney is necessary to immediately address those who are wrongly accused of domestic violence.

If you have been wrongfully and irresponsibly accused of Domestic Violence, please contact our experienced legal team at Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark to protect you.