Harassment as a Predicate Act of Domestic Violence
Restraining Order Lawyers in Newark, NJ
Our domestic violence defense lawyers represented a client who was facing a final restraining order (FRO) hearing at the Essex County Superior Court located in Newark, NJ. Our client and his wife are going through a divorce and they had a verbal argument which led to her filing a temporary restraining order (TRO) against him. This can have serious consequences in New Jersey as restraining orders are permanent and never expire. If a final restraining order is entered, the defendant is fingerprinted and placed in a statewide database for domestic violence offenders. In addition, they are prohibited from owning or possessing weapons. It could also effect any professional or work licenses they have and could inhibit their ability to travel in and out of the United States. Finally, if the defendant is not a United States citizen the entry of a final restraining order could have serious immigration consequences on their immigration status.
In this case, the restraining order proceeded to trial before a Superior Court Judge in the Family Division in Essex County. The plaintiff goes first and she has the burden of proof. Because it is a civil case, and not a criminal one, the standard of proof is “by a preponderance of the evidence” which means more likely than not or a 51% burden of proof. She must establish that a predicate act of domestic violence occurred, in this case harassment. She also must establish a prior history of domestic violence (in this case she merely stated “he has been verbally abusive to her” without getting into any specifics). And finally, she must show that she needs the protection of the court and a reasonable person in her shoes would be in fear for her safety. Here, she was unable to prove any of the elements required to obtain a final restraining order. The judge found that the verbal argument that the could had did not rise to the level of harassment. The judge also found no prior history of domestic violence and that there was no need for a restraining order in this case to protect the plaintiff from the defendant. This was a great result for our client and the Tormey Law Firm LLC. If you or a loved one needs assistance with a domestic violence case in Essex County NJ, contact our offices anytime for a free initial consultation at 201-654-3464.