DOMESTIC VIOLENCE RESTRAINING ORDERS
Private parties can seek to have their own restraining orders issued against another individual. There are two (2) types of Restraining Orders. Domestic Violence Prevention Restraining Orders (DVROs) and Civil Harrassment Prevention Restraining Orders (CHROs).
The Family Court governs the issuance of DVROs and the Civil Court governs the issuance of CHROs.
DVROs are predicated on a domestic relationship between the person that needs to be restrained and the person that needs protection. Domestic relationships are generally limited to people who live together; used to live together; were married; or have a child together.
There are two (2) steps to the DVRO. First you file for a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO).
A TRO may issue with or without a hearing. It can usually be issued within 24 hours of filing. TROs are issued upon a showing of “great or irreparable injury” (FC§241) or to prevent acts of domestic violence, abuse, and sexual abuse pursuant to a declaration filed with the moving papers.
You must demonstrate to the Court’s satisfaction “reasonable proof of past act(s) or acts of abuse. Abuse is generally sexual assault; intentionally or recklessly causing or attempting to cause bodily injury; placing a person in ‘reasonable apprehension’ of imminent serious bodily injury and even harrassment such as persistent unwanted phone calls, communications, or letters.
After the TRO is issued or denied a speedy trial or evidentiary hearing is set within 21 days so as not to violate one’s constitutional rights. This hearing will address the validity of the TRO and if a permanent DVRO should issue.
The evidentiary hearing on the permanent Restraining Orders involves the formal presentation of evidence through witness testimony. The Court is looking to see if a permanent Domestic Relations Order is necessary to prevent future abuse. If you can’t meet your burden of proof you will lose your request. While a permanent DVRO is necessary to protect victims of domestic violence if you’ve been wrongly accused of committing an act of domestic violence you need representation. The result of the hearing on Permanent Domestic Violence Restraining Order can have devastating effects on the restrained party. It can effect your job, spousal support, and custody of your child.
Once a TRO or a Permanent DVRO is in place, if violated, that person in violation goes straight to jail and is now charged with the crime of violating a restraining order (i.e. the restrained party comes within 100 yards of the protected party or attempts to communicate with the protected party through a third party).