New Jersey Final Restraining Order Affirmed Solely on the Basis of Harassment

L.R.A.R. v. C.D.

Docket No. A-0229-23

Decided June 14, 2024

Submitted by New Jersey Domestic Violence Lawyer, Jeffrey Hark.

In a recent unpublished decision the Appellate Division of New Jersey affirmed the entry of a Final Restraining Order (FRO) after plaintiff demonstrated several acts of harassment perpetuated by the defendant.

In L.R.A.R. v. C.D., the parties were in a dating relationship that ended in August 2022. On July 6, 2023, plaintiff filed a domestic violence complaint under the PDVA alleging harassment and obtained a temporary restraining order (TRO) based on incidents that allegedly occurred on July 2 and 3, 2023.

At the ensuing FRO hearing conducted on August 3, 2023, plaintiff testified that defendant sent her harassing text messages on WhatsApp, TikTok, and other social media platforms. Specifically, on July 2, 2023, through WhatsApp, defendant wrote “I’m sorry that you had to go back to that fraudulent midget and that you have all these bills to pay. If I would have known that you had returned or gotten back together with him, I would not have contacted you.” The following day, on July 3, 2023, through TikTok, defendant wrote “Don’t become my enemy.” In addition, according to plaintiff, defendant created a page on TikTok with her photos and the label “Ecua-whore,” and sent it to her friends and son in Ecuador.

In recounting a prior history of domestic abuse, plaintiff testified that defendant had called her “a whore” in the past “[o]n many occasions.” He also sent her numerous text messages and made phone calls to her from different numbers despite her telling him not to contact her. When plaintiff “block[ed the] number,” defendant would “use a new number to try and contact [her].” Plaintiff also testified that in the Summer of 2022, defendant told her that if he found out she was with someone else, she should be “ready to be in a wheelchair.” Plaintiff was “very scared” by the threat.

Additionally, in September 2022, defendant “came to [her] home and threw liquid shit through [her] window.” Plaintiff said the substance was “brown” and smelled like “[p]oop, shit.” She testified that she identified defendant as the culprit by checking her home security cameras. Although the perpetrator was wearing a “hat” and a “mask,” plaintiff recognized defendant “based on the clothes he was wearing” and “the way that he walk[ed].” Plaintiff testified she felt “terrorized” by the incident and reported it to the police.

During his testimony, defendant largely denied the allegations. He testified that he was married, and that plaintiff was his mistress for two years. He believed that plaintiff’s motive in filing the complaint was to get back at him for not divorcing his wife and marrying her as he had supposedly promised.

The trial court entered an FRO, finding plaintiff credible as to the predicate act of harassment and the need to protect the plaintiff from future acts of harassment from defendant when analyzing recent events as well as the history of domestic violence.  Defendant appealed and the Appellate Division found no basis to disturb the trial court’s decision, as it was supported by the substantial credible evidence in the record.

Final restraining orders have severe consequences in New Jersey.  In order to have a Temporary Restraining Order converted to a Final Restraining Order, the plaintiff must show the parties have a requisite relationship under the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act, the defendant perpetuated a predicate act of domestic violence, and the restraining order is necessary to the plaintiff to prevent future predicate acts of domestic violence by defendant.  An FRO can be obtained solely on the basis of harassment, the most commonly plead predicate act, as shown above.

If you have questions about final restraining orders, temporary restraining orders, parenting time, alimony, child support, divorce, custody, or appeals, contact the experienced domestic violence attorneys at Hark & Hark today.

In recognition of these trying financial times, we are reducing fees and working with clients to come up with manageable payment plans. Initial consultation is always free and we are available remotely.

We offer payment plan options to clients financially incapable of providing full payment upfront. If you are facing domestic violence charges similar to this circumstance, please call us to discuss the matter. At Hark & Hark, we represent clients for any case in any county in New Jersey including Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester, Mercer, Monmouth, Ocean, and Salem counties. We represent clients in all towns in New Jersey, including Barnegat Township, Barnegat Light Borough, Bay Head Borough, Beach Haven Borough, Beachwood Borough, Berkeley Township, Brick Township, Eagleswood Township, Harvey Cedars Borough, Island Heights Borough, Jackson Township, Lacey Township, Lakehurst Borough, Lakewood Township, Lavallette Borough, Little Egg Harbor Township, Long Beach Township, Manchester Township, Mantoloking Borough, Ocean Gate Borough, Ocean Township, Pine Beach Borough, Plumsted Township, Point Pleasant Beach Borough, Point Pleasant Borough, Seaside Heights Borough, Seaside Park Borough, Ship Bottom Borough, South Toms River Borough, Surf City Borough, Stafford Township, Toms River Township, and Tuckerton Borough.

Criminal Civil Lawyer

Jeffrey Hark is a New Jersey Civil and Criminal Lawyer.

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