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A Closer Look at How New Jersey Defines Domestic Violence - IV

In today's post, our blog will finish its ongoing discussion of New Jersey's Prevention of Domestic Violence Act of 1991, which started with an examination of how this offense is defined, before moving into a discussion of domestic violence arrests and, most recently, the circumstances in which temporary restraining orders are granted.

Our primary objective with this endeavor has always been to help clarify a legally complex topic for those facing accusations of domestic violence, such that they have a better understanding of the road ahead.

The Final Hearing

To reiterate, when an accuser is granted a TRO, a final hearing will be scheduled sometime within the next ten days.

The purpose of this hearing is to enable the judge to hear testimony from the accuser and the alleged offender, and decide what type of relief is appropriate under the circumstances. Indeed, the judge can order everything from financial assistance for the accused to supervised visitation.

Most significant for our purposes, however, the judge may also decide to issue the accuser a Final Domestic Violence Restraining Order, otherwise known as an FRO.

Some important points for an alleged offender to keep in mind concerning the final hearing and the issuance of the FRO include:

  • Failure to appear at the final hearing despite receiving proper notice won't prevent an FRO from being issued.
  • There is no specific time limit on the duration of FROs, meaning they can last in perpetuity.
  • Violations of the FRO, as they relate to restraints against contact, can result in arrest and the filing of contempt charges.

Lastly, the alleged offender must understand that an FRO will not be automatically dismissed in the event of a reconciliation with the accuser. Indeed, it will be necessary for him/her to appear before a judge to request a dismissal of the order and, if granted, provide a copy of the dismissal to the local authorities.

This is not to mention that a lifting of the FRO won't affect any underlying criminal charges.

Here's hoping the foregoing discussion has proven helpful. As always, please consider speaking with a skilled legal professional as soon as possible if you have been charged with domestic violence, as the stakes are simply too high.

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