Order of Protection Dismissed in Essex County, NJ
In another successful case, The Tormey Law Firm recently represented a client who had a Survivors of Sexual Assault Temporary Order of Protection issued against him by a woman with whom he had been in a social relationship. The alleged victim asserted that our client had engaged in sexual contact with her against her will. As a result of those alleged acts, the woman claimed that she was in fear for her safety from our client and needed a Final Order of Protection as permitted by the New Jersey Sexual Assault Survivors Protection Act, or SASPA.
SASPA is a new law that authorizes the Court to issue temporary and final protective orders on behalf of victims of nonconsensual sexual contact, sexual penetration, or lewdness. There does not have to be a criminal case filed against the person who supposedly committed the act in order for a victim to pursue a protective order. After the alleged victim files the temporary order, the victim and alleged defendant have a hearing in front of a Superior Court judge to determine whether the alleged acts occurred and whether a protective order is required to protect the victim. This is very similar to the process for obtaining a Domestic Violence Restraining Order: the victim only has to prove the case by a preponderance of the evidence instead of beyond a reasonable doubt, and neither party has a right to appointed counsel as with a criminal trial. If a party wishes to have an attorney, they must obtain that attorney on their own.
Following extensive discussions with the victim, attorney Christopher Perry was able to successfully negotiate a dismissal of the temporary protective order in exchange for our client agreeing to not have any further contact with the alleged victim. This outcome avoided the risks involved with having a trial, and saved the alleged victim the embarrassment of having to discuss very private matters in the courtroom. During the course of the negotiations, Mr. Perry was able to demonstrate that the evidence supplied did not support the issuance of a final protective order, and that a civil agreement between the parties was a much better outcome for all involved. The parties agreed, and entered into a civil agreement that provided for the parties to not have contact with one another going forward, as well as certain favorable provisions for our client. This was a fantastic outcome for our client and another outstanding win for the Tormey Law Firm.
A Final Order of Protection under the New Jersey Sexual Assault Survivor’s Act can have serious repercussions for the person against whom it is filed. Protective orders can come up when an employer or potential landlord runs a background check, they prohibit a person from owning weapons or obtaining them in the future, and may have other consequences beyond simply preventing any contact with the protected person. It is absolutely imperative that a person facing a restraining order contact a lawyer that understands how to effectively fight these types of cases.