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Middlesex County Domestic Violence Lawyer

Especially nowadays, domestic violence is viewed extremely harshly by both society and local law enforcement. If you are charged with domestic violence or served with a domestic violence restraining order, you have the right to contest your charges and fight to defend your best interests. If you would like to explore your legal options after receiving such a charge, a Middlesex domestic violence lawyer may be able to help. Speak with an experienced criminal attorney right away to discuss possible defenses. 

What is Domestic Violence?

New Jersey Statutes §§2C:25-17 through 35, also known as the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act of 1991, sets forth the specific criteria for domestic violence used in Middlesex County. There are two distinct prongs that must be met in order for an act to be considered domestic violence under this act.

The alleged act must be one enumerated within the statute as an act of domestic violence. The list includes physical acts such as assault, false imprisonment, and criminal sexual contact, as well as some non-physical acts such as harassment, trespass, stalking, and cyber harassment.

The alleged incident or action must be against a spouse, former spouse, a person whom the plaintiff has dated or had at least one child with, or someone who is living in the same household as the plaintiff. If a person in Middlesex County commits one of the enumerated acts against a person described above, they have committed an act of domestic violence.

Role of Temporary Restraining Orders (TRO)

Any person claiming to be a victim of domestic violence can apply for a restraining order against their abuser. A restraining order is a directive from the court prohibiting a person from contacting or coming within a certain distance of another person.

A Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) is not very difficult to obtain and does not require a full court proceeding. Because everyone has a constitutional right to confront a witness against them, a long-term restraining order cannot legally be granted without a full hearing, unless agreed to by all parties.

What are Final Restraining Orders (FRO)?

Within ten days of issuing a TRO, the court will hold a hearing on whether or not to grant a Final Restraining Order (FRO). This hearing can, and likely will, involve both parties delivering direct and cross-examination. During this process, the person claiming to be an alleged victim of domestic violence may be cross-examined by the person against whom they have filed a TRO.

This can be extremely stressful for many people, and emotions can run high. However, a Middlesex domestic violence lawyer could cross-examine the opposing party on their client’s behalf and could deflect any improper lines of questioning that may be directed towards the petitioner.

If the judge believes beyond a preponderance of the evidence that domestic violence has occurred, a long-term FRO may be ordered. This order could last for any number of years, but constitutionally cannot be permanent.

Importance of Contacting a Domestic Violence Attorney

The process of contesting accusations of domestic violence can be emotionally taxing, especially when potential restraining orders are involved. It can also be stressful if you are unfamiliar with the court system and how the law approaches issues of domestic violence.

If you are facing domestic violence charges of any kind, do not hesitate to seek counsel from an experienced Middlesex domestic violence lawyer. Call today to learn more about your options and rights.