If someone is seeking a restraining order against you, it is crucial that you arm yourself with the best arguments and strategies to defend yourself.
Being wrongly labeled an “abuser” and having a restraining order against you can deeply scar your reputation in the community, make it harder to get or keep a job, and will make your life much more restricted. Aside from that, any violation can result in jail time and fines.
The following information was designed to help you better understand how to protect yourself against the threat of a restraining order.
Common Defenses Against a Final Restraining Order
In order for a person to get a domestic violence restraining order against you, he or she needs to first be able to prove that you were in a relationship with him or her that allows a restraining order to be issued. In other words, you were spouses, household members, were in a dating relationship, etc.
Although disproving that you were once married to the person is likely impossible and simply a lie (assuming you actually were), it is not so challenging to argue that you were never in a “dating relationship.”
Consequently, your first line of defense is to assert that you were not in a dating relationship as defined by New Jersey case law. Depending on the nature of your relationship, the frequency of your interaction, the nature of your interactions (i.e. virtual vs. in-person), you may have solid footing to assert that you were never truly in a dating relationship. (See Andrews v. Rutherford, 832 A. 2d 379, 384.)
It is worth noting that this defense will only work if the person seeking the restraining order is actually asserting a “dating relationship” as the grounds for establishing the relationship requirement (i.e. not “household members,” “spouses,” etc.).
Your second line of defense is arguing that you did not commit one of the proscribed crimes that warrant the issuance of a restraining order.
For example, if your ex-wife claims that you slapped or hit her (when in reality you did not), you can argue against the issuance of the order on the grounds that you did not commit the crime of assault that would allow your ex-wife to get a restraining order against you.
Remember, it is vital to summarily dispute the allegation that your conduct rose to the level of what is criminally prohibited by the statute. Forgetting to do this neglects an important step in your defense against a NJ restraining order. Unlike the prior defense, this one can be raised in all circumstances, so be sure to use it.
Mounting this defense involves looking to the statute related to assault, harassment, stalking, or whatever crime your actions are being pinned to and explaining why your conduct does not meet the statutory definition.
Next, if the person seeking the restraining order against you is claiming that you harassed him or her, your attorney should argue that, based on the totality of the circumstances, you did not have a “purpose to harass.” This is where hiring an experienced attorney to help defend you at the final restraining order hearing comes in handy. Your attorney will be able to cite all of the relevant cases that are on point (given your unique situation) and use them to make sure that a restraining order is not issued against you.
Furthermore, your attorney will be able to argue that a restraining order is simply not necessary to protect your accuser. If successful, this defense will blow a gaping hole in any attempt at getting a restraining order. After all, if the restraining order would not achieve what the accuser wants it to, there is not much need for it.
Lastly, your attorney should argue that your actions were reasonable and no ordinary person with normal sensibilities would have found them to be grounds for the issuance of a final restraining order. This argument also carries a lot of weight because it reveals that the accuser simply has a distorted version of the facts.
To summarize, your experienced New Jersey restraining order defense attorney should use the following five arguments to help you prevent the issuance of an FRO:
- You were not in a “dating relationship” as New Jersey case law defines it (only used if accuser raises “dating relationship” as grounds for issuance)
- Your conduct did not rise to the level of the statutory crime asserted against you
- You did not have a purpose to harass
- A restraining order is not necessary to protect your accuser
- No reasonable person with ordinary sensibilities would have found your conduct unreasonable (given your unique circumstances)
Who Should You Contact?
If you or a loved one needs help arguing against a final restraining order in New Jersey, contact Adam H. Rosenblum of Rosenblum Law today. Mr. Rosenblum is a skilled defense attorney who has helped people in similar situations. He will do all he can to help you prevent a final restraining order from being issued against you. Call him today at 888-815-3649.