Did you know that if you're being stalked in New Jersey, you have to know your stalker in order to get a restraining order against them?

It's not like that in other states but it is here in New Jersey.

State Sen. Jon Bramnick, R-Union, from New Jersey's 21st Legislative District, is looking to change that and he came on my New Jersey 101.5 show to explain why:

"I actually had a constituent, she was in her 20s. She knew who this person was. So she goes to the police stations. But unless you're in a relationship, or it's a family member, you can't get a restraining order," Bramnick said.

Steve Trevelise & Jon Bramnick/Photo via Steve Trevelise
Steve Trevelise & Jon Bramnick/Photo via Steve Trevelise

It gets worse, says Bramnick:

"Start with the fact that you can bring criminal charges. But when you bring criminal charges, it's a year or so. And then even after that, the judge cannot give you a restraining order."

"So in some states like California," says Bramnick, "you can get a restraining order against somebody who's not a family member, or someone you're in a relationship with."

"So I think the courts were afraid that too many people would bring restraining orders against like neighbors, which is absurd because you have to fill out affidavits before you get a restraining order."

Bramnick's bill looks to change that:

"Very simple," says Bramnick. "if you know someone's harassing you and stalking you, you can go to a court and a court based on the evidence can issue a restraining order. That's my law."

As it stands now Bramnick continues:

"The court would say to you, I'm very sorry, but you don't have a relationship with that person. So we can't have a restraining order, you have to file criminal charges. Now, harder it is to file criminal charges. It is a nightmare."

hooded criminal stalking in the shadows of a dark street alley

Bramnick describes the situation:

"You walk into a police station, first of all, the windows are darkened, so you can't see anybody, right?" says Bramnick who recalled a true story.

"A 23-year-old person goes into a police station and says hey, I'm being harassed. Police officers through the darkened glass goes, 'Well, just block the person." Is that really your answer?"

"It's not easy when you're 23 to you walk into a police station to get the attention of a police officer," says Bramnick. "You try and explain that you're being harassed. But if you say the person is stalking you, you can go to court and get a restraining order, should I say if you know that person?"

Chris Swendeman/Townsquare Media
Chris Swendeman/Townsquare Media

Bramnick is confident his bill will pass. If you're being stalked, you should pray that it does.

"They've got to make it so that anybody can do it. This is a bipartisan piece of legislation. I'm convinced it's going to pass. No doubt in my mind".

Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Steve Trevelise only. Follow him on Twitter @realstevetrev.

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