Whether you are seeking a Restraining Order or have been served with a Restraining Order you need an attorney experienced in New Jersey’s Domestic Violence laws and trial procedure. You need an attorney who has vigorously represented parties attempting to obtain a restraining order or having been unjustly served with a restraining order. You need the Law Office of Steven H. Wolff to help you. All throughout New Jersey, in Morris, Sussex, Warren, Bergen, Passaic, Union, Monmouth, Somerset, Hudson, Mercer and Ocean County we represent parties going through the very difficult situation of domestic violence.
In today’s world, with instant communication, social media and other forms of communication, a domestic violence incident can happen in a blink of an eye, regardless of location. One minute you could be sitting at home, alone, and then you are being charged with domestic violence. It is imperative that you take the necessary steps to protect yourself and your loved ones against false allegations and work to clear your name. In today’s world text messages can be altered, manipulated and falsified to make it appear that you did or said something that you did not do. Spoofing, which is where someone pretends to be someone else, is becoming more and more common in both phone, text and email correspondences. A person may have falsified an entire conversation that you never had, and use that as evidence against you. It is important you have an attorney who knows not only the law, but how technology can impact it and how to defend you against these bogus and false allegations.
If you are a victim of domestic violence is important that you understand how to preserve evidence, use prior events and the history between you and the abuser to obtain a temporary, and then final, restraining order. You may find yourself in Court and unable to use past acts of domestic violence if you are not careful in filing out your complaint. Often times we help victims amend their complaints to include all the events and help the Court understand the length and depth of the domestic violence in the relationship.
A temporary restraining order (known as a “TRO”) can be issued by either a municipal or superior Court Judge. A Final Restraining Order (known as a “FRO”) can only be issued by a Superior Court Judge. A restraining order can have seriously and lasting results beyond just barring you from contacting the other party. You may be prohibited from owning firearms. Your job, or future employer may find out about your conviction. You will carry the social stigma that comes along with having a restraining order against you. You may be fined or be responsible for the other party’s legal fees. You may be ordered to undergo phycological evaluations. If you have children, a restraining order may be used to keep you out of the children’s lives, limit your visitation and keep you apart from your family. You may have to leave your home and find a new place to live.
In addition to physical and emotional trauma, domestic violence victims may also experience a wide range of feelings—including embarrassment, sadness, guilt, and fear. This fear may be directed towards their abuser (fear of further abuse or retaliation), or it can be directed towards society (fear of prejudice or social stigma). Unfortunately, these feelings and fears often prevent victims of domestic violence from receiving the help and protection they need
In New Jersey, The Prevention of Domestic Violence act is codified at N.J.S.A.2C:25-17 et seq. In 1991, the Legislature found and declared that domestic violence is a serious crime against society. It found that thousands of persons in this State were regularly beaten, tortured and in some cases killed by their spouses or cohabitants. That a significant number of women were assaulted while pregnant. That victims of domestic violence came from all social and economic backgrounds. That there is a positive correlation between spousal abuse and child abuse and that children, even if they are not themselves physically assaulted, suffer deep and lasting emotional effects from exposure to domestic violence. The Legislature further found that some of its most vulnerable citizens, the elderly and disabled, are victims of domestic violence as well. The Legislature also found that although many of the existing criminal statues were applicable to acts of domestic violence, societal attitudes concerning domestic violence have affected the response of the law enforcement and judicial systems resulting that these acts received different treatment from similar crimes when they occur in a domestic violence.
An act of domestic violence can include, but not limited to any of the following acts:
Criminal sexual contact.
Victim of Domestic Violence means a person protected by the domestic violence act and includes any person:
who is 18 years of age or older, or
who is an emancipated minor, and who has been subjected to domestic violence by:
- former spouse
- any other person who is a present or former household member, OR
- who, regardless of age, has been subjected to domestic violence by a person:
- with whom the victim has a child in common, or
- with whom the victim anticipates having a child in common, if one of the parties is pregnant, or
- who, regardless of age, has been subjected to domestic violence by a person with whom the victim has had a dating relationship.
- A victim may be below the age of 18.
- The domestic violence assailant must be over the age of 18 or emancipated at the time of the offense. See Paragraph C3 below for criteria for determining whether a person is emancipated.
The allegations used in obtaining a restraining order can also be used in criminal charges brought by the State against the alleged perpetrator. These can carry penalties of incarceration (jail time) as well as monetary (fines). It is important you have a lawyer who knows the ins and outs of New Jersey Domestic Violence laws and who is well versed in both defending and prosecuting restraining order and domestic violence cases.
If you are a victim of domestic violence, you do not have to live in fear or shame. There are laws to help you and empower you. If you have been unjustly charged with domestic violence, you need aggressive representation that can help you defend yourself against these charges and make sure your life is not ruined by a conviction. Call today to discuss this matter with us.