Restraining Orders



Thomas H. Martin, Esq. and the Law Office of Thomas Hugh Martin, LLC, routinely represents individuals prosecuting or defending for or against the issuance of a Final Restraining Order. Under N.J.S.A. 2C:25-19(a) domestic violence is defined as the occurrence of one or more of the following criminal or quasi-criminal acts committed by an adult or an emancipated minor:

(1) Homicide N.J.S.A. 2C:11-1 et seq.

(2) Assault N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1

(3) Terroristic Threats N.J.S.A. 2C:12-3

(4) Kidnapping N.J.S.A. 2C:13-1

(5) Criminal Restraint N.J.S.A. 2C:13-2

(6) False Imprisonment N.J.S.A. 2C:13-3

(7) Sexual Assault N.J.S.A. 2C:14-2

(8) Criminal Sexual Contact N.J.S.A. 2C:14-3

(9) Lewdness N.J.S.A. 2C:14-4

(10) Criminal Mischief N.J.S.A. 2C:17-3

(11) Burglary N.J.S.A. 2C:18-2

(12) Criminal Trespass N.J.S.A. 2C:18-3

(13) Harassment N.J.S.A. 2C:33-4

(14) Stalking N.J.S.A. 2C:12-10

Under Section (d) of the statute, a “victim of domestic violence” means a person protected under this act and shall include any person who is 18 years of age or older or who is an emancipated minor and who has been subjected to domestic violence by a spouse, former spouse, or any other person who is a present or former household member.

“Victim of domestic violence” also includes any person, regardless of age, who have been subjected to domestic violence by a person with whom the victim has a child in common or with whom the victim anticipates having a child in common if one of the parties is pregnant. “Victim of domestic violence” also includes any person who has been subjected to domestic violence by a person with whom the victim has had a dating relationship.


One of the best ways to defend yourself against a Final Restraining Order is to contact my office. The reason for the sense of urgency is because Courts are supposed to conduct the final hearing within 10 days of the filing of the original complaint against you. See N.J.S.A. 2C:25-29(a). However, some Judges are receptive to giving a party at least one short postponement.

As a result of the speed at which these cases move, it is imperative to give your attorney as much time as possible to prepare your defense. By hiring myself immediately, I can find out which witnesses are available to support your case, have time to reach out to these witnesses, subpoena them, have time to call the Records Department of the Police Agency who handled the complaint so I can get any police reports or statements related to your case and lastly, have time to possibly negotiate a settlement of your case with your accuser’s attorney, should you decide to go that route.

By obtaining the police reports, having the certified statements of your accuser in the Temporary Restraining Order and listening to the live testimony of your accuser at the Final Restraining Order hearing, I will have three distinct versions of your accuser’s allegations to question them on. I have found that many times, with many versions, your accuser’s stories vary with each time they tell their version. When this happens, you have fertile ground to test the credibility of your accuser. Each defense also rises and falls on the facts of each case. The point is the more time I have before the hearing, the more time I have to develop your defense.


Often times I am contacted to prosecute the complaint on behalf of the victim. During these calls, I am asked by the victim whether they need an attorney. Based upon my experience defending against a victim who does not have legal representation and the problems that arise for victims, it is always my advice to retain counsel to prosecute your complaint and request for a Final Restraining Order.

At the hearing, you will have to establish that you are a member of the protected class described in N.J.S.A. 2C:25-19(d). You also need to prove that a predicate act of domestic violence, as set forth in N.J.S.A. 2C:25-19(a) was committed against you. Lastly, you will need to prove that there is an existence of immediate danger to you or your property. Courts also look to see if there were any domestic violence incidents prior to the filing of your complaint.


Whether you are a plaintiff/victim or defendant, the choice to hire an attorney in a domestic violence case is an important one. At stake is your safety and peace of mind if you are a plaintiff, and record and other important collateral consequences if you’re a defendant. Contact our office today at (732) 431-2224 or email me with any other questions you may have.