Can a Final Restraining Order Be Dismissed in New Jersey?
A Final Restraining Order (FRO) can be dismissed in New Jersey. The Defendant (person against whom the retaining order was entered) will have to file a motion in Family Court seeking to have the restraining order vacated. These applications are commonly known now as requests for a Carfagno hearing, named after the 1995 case in which the New Jersey Supreme Court set forth the factors to be considered in determining whether such restraining orders should be vacated.
There is a statutory basis for such applications at N.J.S.A. 2C:25-29(d).
In Carfagno v. Carfagno, 288 N.J. Super., 424 (1995) the Supreme Court of New Jersey set forth a number of factors a trial court must review to determine whether it will grant a plenary hearing.
These factors are:
- Whether the victim consented to lift the restraining order;
- Whether the victim fears the defendant;
- The nature of the relationship between the parties today;
- The number of times that the defendant has been convicted of contempt for violating the order;
- Whether the defendant has a continuing involvement with drug or alcohol abuse;
- Whether the defendant has been involved in other violent acts with other persons;
- Whether the defendant has engaged in counseling;
- The age and health of the defendant;
- Whether the victim is acting in good faith when opposing the defendant’s request;
- Whether another jurisdiction has entered a restraining order protecting the victim from the defendant; and
- Any other factors deemed relevant by the court.
If the Defendant can make a basic showing in the application that there is a basis for the hearing, then the court will grant a plenary hearing.