NJ Court Holds Permanent Restraining Order ‘Too Broad’

August 25, 2015 · by RLF Attorneys · in

restraining-order-documentPaul E. Prince, a former South Harrison Township police officer, was arrested and convicted of stalking in 2011 after his ex-wife’s brother found a GPS device attached to her car. Audra Fischer-Prince became suspicious when her ex-husband started unexpectedly showing up at the same places as her. She testified during Prince’s trial that the experience left her with panic attacks. According to the prosecutor’s office, even after his arrest and a no-contact order was issued, Prince continued to harass his ex-wife. Since family members lived near each other and the couple had children together, the judge at the time left it to the prosecution and defense attorneys to create a carefully crafted restraining order suited to the circumstances. While an appellate court later upheld Prince’s conviction, they ruled that the permanent restraining order which required Prince not to “maintain…visual or physical proximity” to his wife was overly broad.

The Prevention of Domestic Violence Act authorizes victims of domestic violence in New Jersey to obtain restraining orders against their batterers. However, courts have held that it does not authorize such restraining orders if they are so overly broad that they are hard to enforce at all times. The appellate court determined Prince could easily end up violating the visual or physical proximity portion of the order without even realizing it.

As it turns out, the appellate court’s prediction was correct. Prince was charged with a second stalking violation in August 2013 after encountering his ex-wife in West Deptford, NJ. He was also charged with violation of probation in connection with that incident. The charges were recently dismissed and a hearing will be held later this month to define the parameters of Prince’s  revised permanent restraining order.

Violating a restraining order is a criminal act that can result in up to 18 months jail time and fines of up to $10,000. In addition, each violation of a restraining order counts as its own separate offense and penalties will double for a second violation and triple for a third violation of the restraining order.

If you or a loved one needs legal assistance when it comes to restraining orders in New Jersey, contact Adam H. Rosenblum of The Rosenblum Law Firm today. Mr. Rosenblum has helped people in similar situations and will fight to get you the results you want. Call him today at 888-815-3649.