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Sexual Assault Restraining Order Attorney in Parsippany

Working to Minimize the Impacts of the SASPA on Your Life

Prior to the passing of the Sexual Assault Survivors Protection Act (SASPA), sexual assault victims who wanted to protect themselves from their abusers were required to file a criminal complaint and thus participate in the criminal process. However, many victims wanted to avoid dealing with criminal investigations, courts and potential retaliation from their abusers, which could ultimately discourage them from reporting sexual assault altogether.

As a result, the SASPA was passed into law. If a Sexual Assault Survivor Protective Order was filed against you, get legal help from The Law Offices of Christopher G. Porreca, P.C. right away. The effects of the SASPA may be beneficial for reported victims of sexual assault but detrimental for the accused. As such, we invite you to contact us at (973) 889-0900 to learn how we can help alleviate the consequences of your sexual assault restraining order.

Understanding SASPA

The Sexual Assault Survivors Protection Act was passed in November 2015 and became effective in May 2016. The SASPA gives victims of nonconsensual sexual contact more legal solutions without having to go to law enforcement officials and press charges. Prior to SASPA, sexual assault victims had to undergo the criminal process to gain legal protection or file for a domestic violence protective order. However, since victims of sexual assault extend beyond family or household members, domestic violence protective orders were not effective for many petitioners.

Under SASPA, sexual assault victims can file a protective order to safeguard themselves from their alleged perpetrators. Protective orders shield victims from:

  • Further acts of violence
  • Seeing a perpetrator (the person can be prevented from entering specific places that the survivor or their household members regularly visit)
  • Future contact with their perpetrator (in-person, over the phone, or through another person)
  • Stalking behaviors
  • Harassment, including online harassment, of the survivor, their family members, or their employer/employees
  • Any other relief the court deems appropriate

It’s important to be mindful that SASPA actions are civil matters that are handled within New Jersey family courts, not criminal courts. As such, you will not suffer criminal penalties such as jail time, fines and sex offender registration if a protective order was filed against you. Instead, you will be subject to tight restrictions that must be obeyed or else you may end up dealing with criminal charges and consequences. If you want to challenge the protective order that was filed against you, you will enter a civil case, not a criminal case.

Types of Protective Orders Under SASPA

Temporary and final protective orders are both available for sexual assault victims under SASPA. A temporary protective order (TPO) is an initial type of protection that shields victims from the same harassment as a final protective order (FPO) but is only effective until the final protective order hearing, which typically occurs 10 days after the issuance of a TPO.

A final protective order, however, goes into effect immediately, is valid in all of New Jersey, and never expires unless a victim requests otherwise. It outlines the specific actions that are prohibited from continuing such as contacting the victim and committing further nonconsensual sexual contact. Depending on the individual case, a final protective order may include other provisions.

If you fail to comply with the terms of the protective order that was filed against you, you may get arrested and face criminal charges, such as contempt of court.

Fight for Your Rights & Freedoms with My Firm

While the SASPA has good intentions, it does not account for the damage that can ensue for alleged perpetrators. A victim is not required to produce substantial evidence of sexual assault as they would in criminal cases in order to be granted a protective order. Victims are only required to prove that a sexual offense was committed and there is a risk to their future safety or wellbeing by a preponderance of evidence, the lowest standard of proof.

Therefore, perpetrators may experience rude awakenings when learning of the allegations and protective orders against them. Their lives could change instantly and, as a result, perpetrators may have to comply with strict rules and restrictions for life.

If a protective order was filed against you regarding an alleged sexual offense, contact The Law Offices of Christopher G. Porreca, P.C. by calling (973) 889-0900 to learn about your legal options.

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