If you have wrongly been labeled an “abuser” and face the possibility of having a restraining order against you (or already have one imposed against you), it is crucial for you to hire an attorney to protect your legal rights as soon as possible.
Although it might seem difficult for a victim to obtain a restraining order in NJ, it is even harder to get one vacated or removed. Consequently, the best defense is a good offense. The following information will, hopefully, help you better understand the most effective ways to prevent another person from getting a restraining order against you.
Restraining Order Defense in New Jersey
Defending against a restraining order in New Jersey is no picnic. Just by having one filed against you, a stigma is already attached to you. Without even knowing it, you have been labeled an “abuser.” Although your accuser will have to prove why he or she is entitled to the restraining order before it can be issued, you need to be exceptionally pro-active in your defense.
Your Best Initial Defenses
Remember, there are two initial requirements your accuser needs to establish: 1) you and him/her were in a relationship warranting the issuance of a restraining order (e.g. a marriage, dating relationship, etc.) and 2) you committed one of the prohibited crimes warranting the issuance of a restraining order (assault, stalking, harassment, etc.). Consequently, your initial defense should be that you: 1) were NOT in this type of relationship with the accused and 2) you did NOT commit one of the enumerated crimes.
Although it might be difficult to prove that you were not married to a person when you actually were, it is much easier to disprove that you were in a “dating relationship.”
With modern-day technology and online dating blurring the boundaries of what actually amounts to a dating relationship, a tremendous amount of wiggle-room exists in determining whether you and the accused actually were in a “dating relationship.” (See Andrews v. Rutherford, 832 A. 2d 379, 384.) Additionally, you should directly dispute that your conduct amounted to the statutorily defined crime. To do this, have your defense attorney hone in on the language of the statute and argue that your conduct did not amount to what the criminal statute prohibited.
Subsequent Defenses Against a Restraining Order
Make sure your defense attorney knows the rules of evidence down pat. When your accuser is making claims against you, it is your lawyer’s job to be like a goalie tending the net in the World Cup: no piece of harmful evidence should get in!
Raising objections on grounds of relevance, hearsay, and improper character evidence might just save you from an unfavorable outcome.
Similarly, it is crucial for your attorney to know the NJ case law cold. He should be able to explain exactly why:
- You did not have a “purpose to harass” the accuser (See S.M.K. v. C.R., Appellate Div. 2011)
- The issuance of a restraining order is not necessary to protect the accuser from an immediate danger or potential abuse. (See Silver v. Silver, 903 A. 2d 446.)
Lastly, a skilled defense attorney should be able to demonstrate with all of the applicable facts and evidence how your conduct would not have been considered unreasonable to a person of normal sensibilities. (See Cesare v. Cesare, 713 A. 2d 390.)
Getting Rid of a Restraining Order
Unfortunately, not every judge will side with you—even if you make the most logical and persuasive legal arguments. In the event that a restraining order is issued against you, do not give up hope. Your real fight has just begun! At this stage, your first move must be to file for an appeal. This should be done almost instantaneously. If you are unfamiliar with how to do so, have your attorney take care of it for you or call up the courthouse and let them know.
Next, it is a good idea to file a motion for a continuance. If granted, this will postpone your appeals hearing and give you enough time to hire a skilled defense attorney (if you have not done so already) and gather all of the evidence you will need.
Moreover, you should request a copy of your accuser’s affidavit to the court (if available). This will contain his or her narrative as to why a restraining order against you is necessary. Having this allows you to prepare ahead of time arguments disproving each statement contained within the document.
Remember, if a restraining order was issued against you, do not violate it! Even if you are in the midst of appealing it, the restraining order will likely be enforceable. Any violation of it will, at best, stain your image on appeal and, at worst, get you convicted of contempt in NJ (an offense you can go to jail for).
Do not forget, a restraining order is a public record! Employers will have access to it and people can find it in online searches. Therefore, it is vital to your career and personal integrity that you hire an experienced defense attorney to help you nullify a restraining order against you.
Who Should You Contact?
If someone is seeking a restraining order against you or you already have one imposed against you and want to have it removed, contact Adam H. Rosenblum of The Rosenblum Law Firm. Mr. Rosenblum is a skilled attorney who has helped people in similar situations. He will defend your constitutional rights and do what he can to get you the results you seek. Call him today at 888-815-3649.