Restraining Orders based on Harassment in Essex County Family Court
Temporary Restraining Orders Attorney serving clients in Linden, Cranford, Elizabeth, and across Union County
Harassment can be a complicated issue. It is often the avenue used by those who want to cause harm or distress to another in an indirect or underhanded manner. Furthermore, harassers often are creative in the types of actions they do. However, the law does provide you protection against this type of aggression. In the State of New Jersey, a person commits the predicate act of harassment as defined by N.J.S.A. 2C:33-4 if, with the purpose to harass another, he:
- Makes, or causes to be made, a communication or communications anonymously or at extremely inconvenient hours, or in offensively coarse language, or any other manner likely to cause annoyance or alarm;
- Subjects another to striking, kicking, shoving, or another offensive touching, or threatens to do so; or
- Engages in any other course of alarming conduct or of repeatedly committed acts with purpose to alarm or seriously annoy such other person.
Temporary Restraining Order Granted to Protect Life, Health, Physical and Emotional Well-being
If you are the victim of harassment, it is within your rights to seek the aid of the courts in putting an end to that harassment. This will first take the form of a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO). When filing a complaint about a restraining order, you can ask for a temporary ex parte restraining order (TRO) to be issued immediately. A judge may grant a TRO if they find that it is necessary to protect your life, health, or well-being; including your mental well-being. If granted, the order will last until the hearing for a final restraining order, which is generally scheduled within 10 days. Moreover, an “ex parte” TRO can be issued based only on the information you provide, without the abuser being in court and without prior notice to him/her.
Furthermore, if you cannot be physically present in court and the judge believes that there are sufficiently urgent (exigent) circumstances to excuse your failure to appear personally in court, a judge can issue a TRO upon:
- Your sworn testimony or complaint; or
- Upon the sworn testimony or complaint of a person who represents you if you are physically or mentally incapable of personally filing
Final Restraining Orders and Civil Harassment Restraining Orders
It is common that the claim of harassment comes before the court in the context of restraining orders. The New Jersey case of Silver v. Silver established the two-part test New Jersey courts use to determine whether to grant a final restraining order (FRO). A plaintiff is obligated to prove (1) that defendant committed one or more of the predicate acts of domestic violence provided in the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act (PDVA); and (2) the FRO is necessary to protect the plaintiff going forward.
However, it is important to remember that not all harassment is related to domestic violence. A civil harassment restraining order is a court order which helps to protect people from violence, stalking, serious harassment, and threats of violence. These include cases where the harasser is not your former spouse, a former romantic partner or a close member of your family (i.e. parent, child, brother, sister, grandmother, grandfather, in-law). Often when it comes to civil harassment restraining order the person is a neighbor, a roommate, a former friend, a family member more than 2 degrees removed (such as an aunt or uncle, a niece, nephew, cousins, or more distant relatives), or other people you are not closely related to.
It is possible to petition for a civil harassment restraining order if:
- You have been abused (or threatened with abuse), sexually assaulted, stalked, or seriously harassed
- You are scared, seriously annoyed or being harassed
It is critically important to note that if you are 65 or older or a dependent adult, you not only can file a civil harassment restraining order against someone you are not close to, but you can also file an elder or dependent adult abuse restraining order. This is often better for you given that you may be able to get more help before, during, and after the court case.
Contact an Experienced Clifton NJ Domestic Violence and Harassment Lawyer Today
Restraining orders are of a sensitive and serious nature, and speaking with an experienced criminal lawyer can be helpful. The right attorney can inform you about your rights, as well as suggest and preserve any possible remedies you may have.