Restraining Order / Contempt of Court Violation Defense Attorney

     New Jersey's Domestic Violence laws, provide for easy access to relief and liberal granting of restraining orders.  This means that they are also often granted in cases where they are inappropriate.  This also means they are frequently violated, exposing you to possible criminal sanctions.

A violation of restraining order, also known as contempt of court under N.J.S.A. 2C:29-9, is a serious matter, and could subject you to Fines, Prison, and a Criminal Record.  If you have been accused of domestic violence, or a violation of a NJ domestic violence order, it is imperative you protect yourself, and to be represented by an experienced NJ Domestic Violence Lawyer.  

The Law offices of Avery & Avery, have been defending these charges for nearly 40 years and will vigorously fight to keep you out of trouble.  For a free consultation, please call 201-943-2445, or contact us through our contact page.

What are the Penalties?

Violations of Restraining Orders, whether permanent or temporary, fall under Contempt of Court proceedings.  The Punishment depends on the circumstances, the charges may be a 4th degree Crime or a Disorderly Persons Offense.

  • 4th Degree Violation - If the violation was also a Disorderly Persons Offense (StalkingHarassmentTerroristic Threats, etc.), the violation will be a 4th degree crime with a potential 18 months in prison and a $10,000 fine.
  • Disorderly Persons Offense - If the violation was mere contact without more, the penalty can be 6 months in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Penalty for Second or Subsequent Violation

Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:25-30, If you have been convicted of a second or subsequent violation of restraining order, you will be subject to a minimum of 30 days in jail.

How could I be accused of violating a Restraining Order?

Contempt of Court proceedings pursuant to NJ's Domestic Violence laws can arise after any number incidents, unfortunately including cases where the victim made up the story.  Generally restraining orders are violated in the following ways:

1.  The 'victim' contacts the Defendant and they continue talking without extinguishing the Restraining Order

2.  The 'victim' and Defendant run into each other randomly

3.  The Defendant has someone call the 'victim' on his/her behalf

4.  The Defendant directly contacts the 'victim'.

In NJ to be found guilty of violating a restraining order, the court must find two things, first that there was contact, and second that that contact was initiated, knowingly or recklessly by the Defendant.

If it has been alleged that you have violated a restrainer order, there will be a determination on whether there is enough evidence to pursue the case.  If the assigned officer determines there is, the matter will be referred either to the county prosecutor or the municipal court holding the restraining order.  At this point it is important to defend yourself with the best Domestic Violence Defense Lawyers.  We invite you to call for a free consultation, at 201-943-2445.

Mutual Restraining Orders

Often times there will be cross complaints of domestic violence and mutual restraining orders.  This means that if either party violates the order, they may be penalized for violation of it.  This differs from a one way restraining order where the ‘victim’ still can contact the other party without consequence, but not visa versa.  Contempt of Court proceedings become much more complex where there are mutual restraining orders, and often end up with each party accusing the other.  It is up to the Court to decide who to charge, and having an experienced NJ Contempt of Court Defense Lawyer at your side can make all the difference in who the Judge believes.

Frequently Asked Questions

I want to remove a restraining order against myself or someone else, how do I do that?

Do remove NJ restraining orders, a motion must be made to a Judge in the County Superior Court, Family Part.  The court does not always have to grant the removal and will consider the following: 

  • 1) Consent of the victim to lift the order;
  • 2) The victim's fear of the defendant. The court must consider objective fear, i.e., that fear which a reasonable victim similarly situated would have under the circumstances, not each particular victim's subjective fear;
  • 3) The nature of the relationship between the parties at time application for vacation of order is made;
  • 4) The number of times the defendant has been convicted of contempt for violating the FRO;
  • 5) The defendant's involvement with drugs or alcohol;
  • 6) Other violent acts committed by defendant;
  • 7) Whether the defendant has engaged in domestic violence counseling;
  • 8) The defendant's age and health;
  • 9) The victim's good faith;
  • 10) The existence of verifiable orders of protection from other jurisdictions;
  • 11) Any other factors the court may deem relevant.

If you are dropping a restraining order you have against someone else it is far easier than having someone without the consent of the victim applying to have it removed.  See also Carfagno v. Carfango, 288 N.J. Super. 424 (1995).

How does a charge for a violation of a restraining order affect me?

Beyond the obvious affect of time spent in jail, a criminal record and having a restraining order against you are both discoverable by employers.  This often leads to trouble obtaining a new job or the maintaining of current employment.  These are the consequences people often forget when dealing with restraining orders and violations there of, and why an experienced NJ Restraining Order Attorney is essential.  

What is the difference between fourth (4th) degree and disorderly persons violations of restraining orders?

The difference is in how the restraining order was violated.  If you violate it by a mere phone call, without more, should be a disorderly persons offense.  If however the violation involves a separate NJ offense such as harassment or stalking, you may be charged with a fourth degree violation of restraining order.  Even so, every case is very fact sensitive and require careful review, for a free consultation, please call 201-943-2445 to schedule an appointment with one of our NJ Restraining Order Experts.

The police are about to arrest me, what do I do?

In nearly all circumstances we tell our clients it is best to remain silent until they have consulted with us.  The police will try to have you implicate yourself, it is imperative you do not give them any more ammunition in order to convict you with.  If you are about to be arrested or have been, do not talk to anyone until you contact our criminal defense team.

Can the 'victim' drop the charges after the arrest or court proceedings have started?

The 'victim' in a domestic violence or restraining order violation does not have final authority to have the case dropped.  Once the accusations are made the case is in the hands of the prosecutor.  

That is not to say that the victim has no say in the case.  NJ prosecutors are often persuaded by the victim to drop the case as they are the main witness in the prosecution.  This must however be a willing and non coerced request by the victim and the court will go to great lengths to make sure this is the case.

How much is the bail for a NJ violation of restraining order?

Bail for contempt of court (violating restraining order) is set by the Judge assigned the case.  The amounts involved are set by the Statewide Bail Schedule, a copy of which is here.  Generally for a Disorderly Persons level violation the bail will be anywhere from $500 to $2,500.  For a fourth degree violation, the bail will be between $1,000 and $2,500.   A 10% cash option is sometimes available in these cases to reduce the burden.  

How does a conviction for a violation of a restraining order affect me?

Beyond the obvious affect of time spent in jail, a criminal record and having a restraining order against you are both discoverable by employers.  This often leads to trouble obtaining a new job or the maintaining of current employment.  These are the consequences people often forget when dealing with restraining orders and violations there of, and why an experienced NJ Restraining Order Attorney is essential.  

If they have caught me and there are no defenses, what can I do?

In some situations the there is irrefutable evidence that a violation of a restraining order did occur.  In such cases we are often able to help our clients eliminate some charges and have the penalties for others dramatically reduced, avoiding jail time and excessive fines.  

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