In 1991, the New Jersey Legislature enacted laws intended to alter the landscape of domestic violence. Until then there was little recourse for victims of acts of domestic violence. Victims rarely left the relationships that fostered violence. Violent spouses, family members, and people in dating relationships were not afforded treatment and counseling, and the children of domestic violence frequently had no place to go except into the hands of the Division of Youth and Family Services.

The Prevention of Domestic Violence Act created a system allowing for a temporary restraining order to be issued by a judge barring contact by the alleged violent person until a prompt court hearing to decide if an act of violence, such as assault or harassment, occurred, and whether the circumstances of the relationship would be better served by a permanent restraining order.

Temporary and final restraining orders can address the right to live in a residence, who pays the bills, child custody and support, and even damages for injuries.

In New Jersey a final restraining order is truly final, it has no expiration date. Any violation of a restraining order, results in an arrest warrant for contempt of court, which is a criminal offense, incarceration unless bail is posted, and a hearing with the possibility of a criminal conviction.

Since the courts move quickly with far-reaching and long-lasting consequences, it is extremely important to seek the advice and representation of a criminal defense attorney.