I often represent clients who are facing a temporary restraining order (known as a “TRO”). If a Judge determines that a Temporary Restraining Order should issue, a Final Restraining Order hearing will be scheduled within ten (10) days. This hearing is held at the Superior Court, Family Division in the county in which the TRO was filed. The TRO will be based on an assault, harassment, terroristics threats, or other predicate act of domestic violence. For a TRO to issue, there must be a familial relationship between the parties or the parties must have previously resided together. As a result, restraining orders are not available in every case. If a TRO is issued, the temporary restraining order (TRO) will prevent the alleged aggressor from going near the alleged victim, their place of employment, home, and any other places or people that are named in the restraining order. If the defendant violates the restraining order, he or she will be arrested and charged with contempt of court. At the FRO hearing, both parties may represent themselves or be represented by counsel.
The rule governing the issuance of a Temporary Restraining Order (known as a “TRO”) in New Jersey is Rule 5:7A which provides in pertinent part:
Rule 5:7A. Domestic violence: restraining orders
(a) Application for Temporary Restraining Order. Except as provided in paragraph (b) herein, an applicant for a temporary restraining order shall appear before a judge personally to testify upon the record or by sworn complaint submitted pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:25-28. If it appears that the applicant is in danger of domestic violence, the judge shall, upon consideration of the applicant’s domestic violence affidavit, complaint or testimony, order emergency relief including ex parte relief, in the nature of a temporary restraining order as authorized by N.J.S.A. 2C:25-17 et seq.
(b) Issuance of Temporary Restraining Order by Electronic Communication. A judge may issue a temporary restraining order upon sworn oral testimony of an applicant who is not physically present. Such sworn oral testimony may be communicated to the judge by telephone, radio or other means of electronic communication. The judge or law enforcement officer assisting the applicant shall contemporaneously record such sworn oral testimony by means of a tape-recording device or stenographic machine if such are available; otherwise, adequate long hand notes summarizing what is said shall be made by the judge. Subsequent to taking the oath, the applicant must identify himself or herself, specify the purpose of the request and disclose the basis of the application. This sworn testimony shall be deemed to be an affidavit for the purposes of issuance of a temporary restraining order. A temporary restraining order may issue if the judge is satisfied that exigent circumstances exist sufficient to excuse the failure of the applicant to appear personally and that sufficient grounds for granting the application have been shown. Upon issuance of the temporary restraining order, the judge shall memorialize the specific terms of the order and shall direct the law enforcement officer assisting the applicant to enter the judge’s authorization verbatim on a form, or other appropriate paper, designated the duplicate original temporary restraining order. This order shall be deemed a temporary restraining order for the purpose of N.J.S.A. 2C:25-28. The judge shall direct the law enforcement officer assisting applicant to print the judge’s name on the temporary restraining order. The judge shall also contemporaneously record factual determinations. Contemporaneously the judge shall issue a written confirmatory order and shall enter thereon the exact time of issuance of the duplicate order. In all other respects, the method of issuance and contents of the order shall be that required by sub-section (a) of this rule.
(c) Temporary Restraining Order. In court proceedings instituted under the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act of 1990, the judge shall issue a temporary restraining order when the applicant appears to be in danger of domestic violence. The order may be issued ex parte when necessary to protect the life, health, or well-being of a victim on whose behalf the relief is sought.