Can I Expunge a Final Restraining Order?
Unlike criminal charges, a Final Restraining Order cannot be wiped from your record with an Expungement – instead it will remain with you for the rest of your life. This creates a big problem for many of my clients who come to us for help after a final restraining order has been entered against them because the court found an act of domestic violence took place such as Simple Assault, Harassment, Terroristic Threats, Stalking or even Criminal Mischief. Restraining orders, by their very nature, are stigmas and act as ugly reminders of a broken marriage or bad relationship. A restraining order can even show up on background checks which can hinder your ability to secure a good job and prevent you from buying or possessing firearms in the future. Furthermore, if the victim claims that you have contacted them against the rules of the restraining order, you will be arrested for Violation of the Restraining Order which is actual criminal offense.
How Do I Get a Final Restraining Order Off My Record?
However, to many people’s surprise, this does not mean that you are helpless. Under the law you may actually file a motion for dismissal of a Final Restraining Order. The Superior Court will schedule a separate hearing to review the merits of the motion. A defendant seeking to vacate a final restraining order in New Jersey must satisfy a three-part test established by the Appellate Division in order to gain dismissal of the FRO. Although there is no set timeline to file, the court normally considers a period of at least one year as the unwritten rule before they will entertain a motion to dismiss. The petition to vacate the FRO should always be filed with the Family Superior Court Judge who originally heard the case and entered the restraining order. In most cases when motions are brought years later and the judge is no longer available, the transcripts and paperwork from the original FRO hearing must be tracked down and provided to the court so the new judge can review the case prior to hearing a motion to dismiss. The process of dismissing of a final restraining order is tough and complicated and often requires an experienced domestic violence lawyer to file motions, briefs, strategize, and argue the merits before a Superior Court Judge. At Proetta & Oliver we represent clients to vacate a final restraining order throughout New Jersey. Contact our office at (201) 793-8018 for a free consultation with an experienced restraining order lawyer.