Travis Tormey and Christopher Perry of the Tormey Law Firm LLC recently represented a client facing a Final Restraining Order (FRO) in Essex County, NJ. As is typically the case with restraining order hearings in Essex County, NJ, the case was handled in the Family Division of the Essex County Superior Court in Newark, New Jersey. Harassment was listed as the basis for the FRO.
Since the basis for the restraining order was harassment, the client also had to appear in East Orange Municipal Court to answer criminal charges for harassment. The restraining order and the criminal charge stemmed from the same alleged incident, but the cases were set to be adjudicated in separate courtrooms and with two entirely different burdens of proof. This is not uncommon in NJ restraining order cases: sometimes a defendant can get a restraining order dismissed while being convicted on criminal charges, while other times a defendant can beat the criminal charges but get slapped with a permanent restraining order.
The client enlisted the Tormey Law Firm to help him contest the restraining order and fight the criminal charges. If the restraining order was granted, it would become permanent. So Mr. Perry approached the attorney for the alleged victim and negotiated a disposition, with both parties entering into what is known as a “civil restraint.” Under a civil restraint, each party agrees to avoid making any further contact with the other party. This was an important agreement for the client because it meant that he would not be subject to the requirements, burdens, and penalties associated with a restraining order. For example, the client would not have to be fingerprinted and have his identity placed in a database for domestic violence offenders. Beyond that, the client would not be prohibited from owning firearms in the future.
While working out an agreement with the plaintiff, Mr. Perry also persuaded her to drop the harassment charges in East Orange Municipal Court. When the client told East Orange NJ prosecutors that she did not want to move forward with the case, they dropped the criminal charges against the client.
Thanks to Mr. Perry’s hard work and strong negotiating skills, the client avoided being hit with a Final Restraining Order and he was able to avoid a criminal conviction for harassment. This was a very good result for the client and a major victory for the Tormey Law Firm.