Can I file a restraining order against my neighbor? Probably not.
Many potential clients contact the Tormey Law Firm inquiring about their ability to file a restraining order against their neighbor. Unfortunately, that is not usually an option. To have standing to file a restraining order in New Jersey, you must be a victim of domestic violence under the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act. Basically, one of the following scenarios must apply to you in order to be eligible to file for a restraining order:
- You and the defendant were involved in a dating relationship at some point.
- You and the defendant resided together at some point.
- You and the defendant have a child in common.
Thus, unless you were romantically involved with your next-door neighbor at some point, you probably will not be permitted to file a restraining order against them. On the other hand, if you are roommates and live in the same apartment, or even the same apartment building, then you may have standing to file for a restraining order.
However, regardless of whether you can file a restraining order, you may be able to file criminal charges against your next-door neighbor, if appropriate. Once the criminal charges are filed, you can ask the judge for a “no-contact order” as a condition of the defendant’s bail. This means that the defendant will not be able to contact you while the charges are pending. Then, if they are convicted and found guilty of the domestic violence charges, you can ask the judge for a permanent no-contact order as part of the defendant’s sentence. This is different from a restraining order but will have a similar effect.
Some of the criminal charges that could be appropriate to file against your neighbor, depending on the facts, include:
- simple assault
- terroristic threats
- criminal mischief
- disorderly conduct
It is important that you consult with an experienced criminal attorney when determining whether to file criminal charges and, if so, what charges to file. Contact the Tormey Law Firm now for immediate assistance at (201)-330-4979.