Violation of Restraining Order in New Jersey
Getting arrested for a restraining order violation can be very scary. You may be facing jail time, fines and probation. If you are charged with a violation of a restraining order in New Jersey, it’s important to understand your legal options and know how the criminal justice system works.
In New Jersey, violating a restraining order is not just any other type of disorderly persons offense. It can also lead to more serious criminal offense charges like stalking or aggravated assault. Even if you feel that there was no malicious intent behind your actions, this charge could still ruin your career and reputation in New Jersey, especially if you have been convicted of domestic violence before.
The criminal defense attorneys at Breslow Law Offices have over 45 years of experience working on these types of cases and will fight hard to defend your rights as an individual accused of violating a restraining order in New Jersey. We provide no-risk, free consultations.
If you’ve been charged with a violation of a restraining order, call 973-239-8000 or contact us online to discuss your violation of restraining order charges and defense options with an experienced defense criminal lawyer at Breslow Law Offices.
What Is the New Jersey Violation of a Restraining Order Law?
According to New Jersey law N.J.S.A. 2C:25-30, when a person violates either a temporary or final restraining order, that person is in contempt. This simply means that you didn't follow the court's order and are labeled as in contempt of court, and may be subject to a contempt charge.
You can be arrested if law enforcement believes that you have violated the restraining order against you. After your arrest, you will have a hearing in court to figure out whether you did violate the order. You may also get a Disorderly Persons charge, another offense. When contempt proceedings violate the order, this will be heard in family court.
New Jersey law N.J.S.A. 2C:29-9 is the violation of a final restraining order. When you violate a restraining order in New Jersey, this is a felony. This violation is graded as a fourth-degree felony, the lowest type of felony. However, it is still a felony, and it is a serious charge and an indictable offense in the state.
If you were convicted of this offense, you could face a fine of up to $10,000 and a prison sentence of up to 18 months. If you violate the order a second time, you will face a mandatory second sentence of a minimum of 30 days.
N.J.S.A. 2C:25-31 is the law that allows police to determine whether there is probable cause that a person has violated a restraining order and to arrest that person because of this probable cause. The officer then signs a complaint that the violation occurred and completes the next steps in the arrest process, including notifying the judge of the arrest. A restraining order is a civil order, so simply having one doesn't give you a criminal record, though violating it can.
How Does a Restraining Order in New Jersey Work?
In New Jersey, there are two different types of restraining orders. These are temporary restraining orders, TRO, and final restraining orders, F.R.O. An F.R.O. is a permanent type of restraining order that remains in place indefinitely.
The only way to get it canceled is for either party to petition the court to have it modified or lifted altogether. This may be done for a variety of reasons, and the court can either rule in favor of the modification or lifting of the order to mandate that it stays in place.
Both of these restraining order types can come with any of a number of important provisions in favor of the person who applied to get the restraining order. These provisions can include temporarily giving child custody to the person who arranged for the restraining order.
They may also get child support mandated by the court as well as spousal support and legal fees for the case. If your child custody was taken away in the wake of the order, you can still get visitation rights in some cases.
The court can also require the person being restrained to leave the house shared with the other party, which can happen even if the home is in your name. The judge may order you to go back to your home along with a police officer in order to get your belongings.
There are a lot of household costs that may be required of the person being restrained, such as paying emergency bills, medical bills that crop up, lost wages, and moving costs, and other expenses. You may also have to pay for the injuries that you caused to others who were there during the incident that incited the order.
The person who applies for the restraining order generally includes all of the ways that they want you not to contact them. This can mean texting, calling at work, seeing them in person, or any other form of contact they want to restrain. In addition to all the other penalties, there may be a number of services mandated for you.
This can include going to Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous. You might be ordered to go to professional domestic violence counseling or to be ordered both to counseling and to A.A. or N.A.
When someone applies for a TRO, they will make the application and then go to the court to tell the judge why they applied for it. This will issue a TRO for you to follow for about 10 days until the case goes to court. You are allowed to be present for this court date. You can also have an attorney with you if you so choose.
This hearing will allow the judge to decide whether you will get a final restraining order and what the conditions of it will be. If you don't show up to the hearing, the judge can either keep the TRO in effect until such time that you do go to court, or the judge can make the order final if there's proof that you were served with your TRO and Notice to Appear.
The restraining order types, TRO and F.R.O., are intended to keep someone from contacting someone else, harassing them, and/or keeping them away from the person who took out the restraining order. It's important to know exactly what is in your restraining order to know how not to violate it.
Penalties for Violating Your Restraining Order in New Jersey
There are many serious penalties for violating a restraining order. The penalties that are given to violators have a lot to do with the context of the violation. The penalties you receive also depend on how many times you have violated the restraining order.
Under N.J.S.A. 2C:25-30 and N.J.S.A. 2C:29-9, violating a restraining order comes with up to 18 months in prison. The second time a person violates a permanent restraining order, at least 30 days in jail are required by law.
Each time you violate the order, you can expect a potential for a longer sentence. You may also be given a fine of up to $10,000.
If there are other potential crimes committed simultaneously with the violation, you can expect to be charged with both. For instance, assault of a person who has a restraining order can result in assault charges as well as violation of the order.
If there was another illegal domestic abuse act committed at the same time as the violation of the order, you may reasonably expect longer prison time for the violation itself. You will also face whatever penalties are mandated for those who are convicted of the other acts. Those other counts can be acts like making terroristic threats, harassment, stalking, assault, etc.
It will be up to the judge to decide the exact penalty for your violation of the restraining order. They will take a lot of things into consideration when deciding about your specific penalty. Much of this will be the reasons behind the order in the first place and what happened during its violation.
The criminal defense lawyers at Breslow Law Offices can help
When someone applies for a restraining order against you, they generally get it granted temporarily until there is a court date for it. When the court date arrives, there will be a hearing about whether to keep the restraining order in place and what kind of restrictions it will have in it.
Once a restraining order is granted, there can be some serious fines and penalties if the order is violated. You can be declared in contempt of court if you willingly and knowingly violate the order.
Violating a restraining order is a fourth-degree felony, the smallest class of felonies. However, felonies are serious charges. If you are charged with a violation of a restraining order, we can help. We have extensive experience in this area and can be there with you to represent your interests in court.
Request your free consultation today! Contact us online or call 973-239-8000 to discuss your violation of restraining order charges and defense options in NJ with an experienced defense criminal lawyer at Breslow Law Offices.
No risk, free consultation.