Violation of a Restraining Order in South Jersey
Lawyers for Contempt Charges in Camden and Mount Holly, New Jersey
A violation of a restraining order in New Jersey is a criminal offense. Thus, if you are accused of violating any of the provisions contained in a protective order, you can be charged with a crime known as contempt. When you are involved in a domestic violence case in New Jersey, you may be subject to a temporary or permanent restraining order. A temporary restraining order is issued by a judge after an alleged victim or a law enforcement officer files a complaint for a restraining order. This can arise after police are called to an alleged domestic abuse incident or if a person goes to their local court or police department and files a restraining order against you. In either case, a temporary restraining order will be issued first and will remain in effect until a final restraining order hearing which usually occurs within 10 days. A temporary restraining order means you cannot have any contact with the alleged victim. It may contain additional provisions such as a temporary child custody order or visitation schedule as well. After the final hearing, if a final restraining order is issued, you will be prohibited from having any contact with the alleged victim and you will be subject to any other requirements indicated in the FRO. Unfortunately, failure to abide by any of these requirements is a criminal offense known as violation of a restraining order, or contempt.
At our criminal defense law firm, we know that sometimes when relationships take a turn for the worse, people say things that simply aren’t true. We regularly represent clients accused of restraining order violations. When you need an attorney who will aggressively defend your innocence and fight for your rights, our team is on your side. We walk you through every step of the legal process and work to ensure that you don’t face the consequences of false accusations. We also know that sometimes violation of a restraining order charges can arise from a simple misunderstanding, which is why our lawyers take the time to understand your specific situation and develop the best strategy for your case. For additional information and a free consultation, contact us anytime at 609-832-3202 or reach out online.
Criminal Contempt Charges for Violation of a Restraining Order: N.J.S.A. 2C:29-9
The Statute that governs violation of a restraining order in New Jersey is N.J.S.A. 2C:29-9, Contempt. According to this section:
b. (1) Except as provided in paragraph (2) of this subsection, a person is guilty of a crime of the fourth degree if that person purposely or knowingly violates any provision in an order entered under the provisions of the “Prevention of Domestic Violence Act of 1991,” P.L.1991, c.261 (C.2C:25-17 et al.) or an order entered under the provisions of a substantially similar statute under the laws of another state or the United States when the conduct which constitutes the violation could also constitute a crime or a disorderly persons offense.
(2) In all other cases a person is guilty of a disorderly persons offense if that person purposely or knowingly violates an order entered under the provisions of the “Prevention of Domestic Violence Act of 1991,” P.L.1991, c.261 (C.2C:25-17 et al.) or an order entered under the provisions of a substantially similar statute under the laws of another state or the United States.
Penalties for Violating a Restraining Order in New Jersey
Violation of a restraining order is typically a fourth degree crime, which is punishable by up to 18 months in New Jersey State Prison. Notice a person can be charged with fourth degree contempt if they commit a violation that would constitute a crime or disorderly persons offense. For example, the violation may involve harassment, stalking, criminal trespass, burglary, or terroristic threats. On the other hand, if a person if accused of violating a protective order with conduct that wouldn’t otherwise be a criminal offense, this is considered a lower-level contempt offense. A disorderly persons offense for violation of a restraining order is punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 and 6 months in the county jail.
What is Considered a Violation of a Restraining Order?
There are a vast array of actions that may constitute restraining order violations under NJ law. A restraining order is generally intended to protect the alleged victim from further abuse, so it prohibits the other party from contacting, communicating with, or coming near that person. In other words, the defendant is prohibited from contacting the alleged victims through any means, including by calling on the phone, text messaging, email, social media messaging, letters, etc. Also, restraining orders prohibit the defendant from contacting other “protected persons,” including the plaintiff’s family and loved ones. A person subject to a restraining order can’t come to the alleged victim’s house, place of employment, or any other locations included in the order without being exposed to criminal charges for a violation.
Consult a NJ Restraining Order Violation Attorney for Answers
If you have been charged with contempt for violation of a restraining order in New Jersey, the consequences of being convicted can be devastating. Our restraining order defense attorneys understand the potential impact of a negative outcome in this type of case, which is why we zealously advocate for our clients accused of the TRO and FRO violations. Contact us anytime at 609-832-3202. We are always available to discuss your case and how we can help. With several convenient office locations, we serve Burlington County, Camden County, Gloucester County, and Atlantic County, NJ.