Those accused of domestic violence must take these charges seriously regardless of how flimsy they think the proof is. One way to do this is by defending themselves against a temporary restraining order (TRO) issued during an investigation.
A TRO prevents the defendant from calling or visiting the alleged victim’s home, even if the accused pays rent or a mortgage to live there. This can effectively prevent a parent from seeing or contacting their children. Fortunately, a domestic relations court must schedule a hearing within 10 days of the defendant being served notice of the TRO.
Judges will weigh the following
Common mitigating factors include accusations of the following in turning the TRO into a final restraining order (FRO) during a hearing:
- Violence, physical assault or the verbal threat of violence.
- A TRO or FRO filed against the defendant
- Violating the conditions of the order
- Stalking, violent crimes or arrest convictions for domestic violence
- Acquiring a deadly weapon like a gun or buying ammunition
- Alcohol or drug abuse
Any of the above can also lead to additional charges of criminal contempt. This charge can mean up to 18 months in jail as well as $25,000 in fines.
The stakes are high
It is vital for those who receive a TRO to contact an attorney who handles criminal law here in New Jersey as soon as possible. These legal professionals understand the laws and procedures involved in these cases, and they can use this knowledge to protect the individual and parental rights of the accused. It often means employing an aggressive defense to gain the best possible outcome, including continued access to one’s children.