The attorneys at Donahue Hagan Klein & Weisberg have extensive experience in dealing with domestic violence matters. Our experienced trial attorneys are prepared to provide you with representation in domestic violence matters, regardless of whether you are the victim or the defendant. It is extremely helpful to consult with an attorney prior to the filing of a domestic violence complaint to ensure that the complaint is prepared properly and completely. Also, we recommend that you have legal representation at the time of the Final Restraining Order Hearing (discussed below).
Pursuant to the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act, N.J.S.A. 2C:25-17 et seq., domestic violence matters involve incidents of violence that occur between a spouse, former spouse, household member or individuals involved in a dating relationship.
The act does not protect those who are the victims of violence committed by strangers, co-workers or other acquaintances. There are fourteen acts of domestic violence delineated by the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act, some of the more popular examples are assault, terroristic threats, harassment and stalking.
A victim of domestic violence may complete a domestic violence complaint for a temporary restraining order (“TRO”) by applying at their local county courthouse. Upon arriving at the courthouse, the victim will provide testimony before a Superior Court Judge or Domestic Violence Hearing Officer. If a victim would like to apply for a TRO at a time when the court is closed (e.g., during the weekend), he or she may apply at his or her local police station and provide testimony to a Municipal Court Judge. We strongly recommend that an attorney be present with you during this process to ensure that the documentation is properly prepared.
If a judge determines that an act of domestic violence has been committed based on the testimony provided, the judge will enter a TRO. When a TRO is granted, the alleged aggressor will be: (1) personally served with a copy of the TRO by local law enforcement officers; (2) removed from the household (if the parties reside together); and (3) will be prohibited from all communication with the victim.
According to the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act, a Final Restraining Order (“FRO”) Hearing will be scheduled approximately ten (10) days after the entry of the TRO. We again strongly recommend that you have legal representation before proceeding with a FRO Hearing as the defendant will be permitted to not only participate in the hearing, but he or she will have the right to have legal representation.
A victim is subject to cross-examination from the defendant’s attorney, or from the defendant if the defendant does not have legal representation. Ultimately, the court will determine whether the restraints contained in the TRO should be made final or permanent. If the Court determines that the TRO should be made final, it will remain in place permanently and the aggressor’s name will be entered into domestic violence database. If the TRO is not made final, it will be dismissed and the aggressor will no longer be subject to the restraints of the order.
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