One of the most misunderstood aspects of domestic violence matters and their orders is how long a temporary restraining order (TRO) or a final restraining order (FRO) lasts and whether either or both automatically expire.
A TRO is temporary in nature and valid only until either an FRO is issued in the matter or the TRO is dismissed by the Superior Court. As indicated on the Restraining Order Process page of this site, an FRO hearing must be held within ten (10) days of the issuance of a TRO. At the FRO hearing, the alleged victim must prove the allegations against the defendant by a preponderance of the evidence. If the alleged victim succeeds in meeting this standard, then the court will issue an FRO to replace the TRO. If, on the other hand, the alleged victim fails to prove the allegations, the court must dismiss the alleged victim’s complaint and dismiss the TRO. Upon dismissal of a TRO, the restrictions and requirements it had set forth become ineffective. In short, a TRO is a temporary protective measure, valid only until it is either replaced by an FRO or dismissed by the court.
The biggest misconceptions surround the duration of an FRO. To be very clear, an FRO does not have a limited term, and it never expires. A FRO is FINAL and PERMANENT unless the defendant makes an application with the court to have the FRO vacated and the court, after reviewing all of the supporting documents and hearing oral argument, grants the motion to vacate the FRO. Consequently, unless the court vacates an FRO that is issued against you, all of the restrictions and requirements that it sets forth will apply to you for the rest of your life. As indicated on the Consequences of a TRO or FRO page of this site, these restrictions and requirements can be serious and significantly affect your life as you currently know it. Many people have made the grave mistake of allowing an FRO to be entered against them without fighting it or defending against the allegations because they thought the FRO was temporary and would expire. Don’t make this mistake. You should never consent to an FRO, and you should always fight the allegations.
This information has been compiled as a result of the numerous trials and domestic violence matters Kevin B. Legreide, Esq. has conducted and been involved in over the years. Mr. Legreide is also very experienced in criminal and municipal matters and understands the relationship between a civil domestic violence matter and the pending criminal or municipal matter.
To discuss the terms and consequences of a TRO and/or FRO, or if you are considering a motion to vacate an FRO issued against you, call the experienced team at The Mark Law Firm now. The Mark Law Firm provides domestic violence assistance and defense to all of Ocean and Monmouth Counties in central New Jersey and Somerset, Essex, Hunterdon, Union and Middlesex Counties.