A restraining order might be the only thing a person has to protect himself/herself against abuse from a spouse, friend, relative, or close acquaintance. In truth, a restraining order is a serious legal tool that can prevent you from having any contact with an individual, whether it be in person or virtually through e-mail, an online chat, Facebook, or Twitter.
Violating a restraining order in New Jersey is a crime and serious consequences can result if you are convicted of doing so. Consequently, it is crucial for you to familiarize yourself with the various types of restraining orders in New Jersey and the penalties associated with a violation of a restraining order.
Types of Restraining Orders in New Jersey
In New Jersey, you can obtain either a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) or a Final Restraining Order (FRO). If your circumstances are immediately dire, you may be able to receive an Emergency Order (EO).
In most cases, those who have encountered domestic violence or workplace harassment are the people who most often file for restraining orders in New Jersey.
A restraining order is a civil order issued by a judge that provides protection for a person and his/her family from harm caused by a specific person.
In the domestic violence arena, that specific person must be: 1) a spouse or former spouse, 2) a present or former household member, 3) a person you have a child in common with (or expect to have a child in common with), or 4) a person you had a dating relationship with.
Under New Jersey’s Workplace Safety Act, when filing for a workplace harassment restraining order, the employer (not the employee subject to the harassment) is the one who applies for the restraining order. This is done on behalf of the employee and to help ensure that the threat is substantially credible.
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Penalties for Violating a Restraining Order
Although a restraining order is a tool issued by a civil court relating to matters usually handled in civil or family court (e.g. domestic violence matters), violating a restraining order is criminal in nature.
The crime of violating a restraining order falls within New Jersey’s contempt statute. According to N.J.S.A. 2C:29-9:
- “A person is guilty of a crime of the fourth degree if he purposely or knowingly disobeys a judicial order or hinders, obstructs or impedes the effectuation of a judicial order or the exercise of jurisdiction over any person, thing or controversy by a court, administrative body or investigative entity.”
This means a police officer can arrest you when he or she has probable cause or a reasonable basis exists to believe that you violated the restraining order.
Additionally, being convicted of contempt in New Jersey (as the statute notes) is a fourth degree crime. If convicted, you can face up to up to 18 months behind bars as well as a fine of up to $10,000. Remember, each violation of a restraining order counts as its own separate violation. Therefore, these penalties will double for a second violation and triple for a third violation of the restraining order.
Furthermore, violating a restraining in NJ order can make getting or keeping a job an utter nightmare. The offense will be put on your criminal record and it will follow you throughout your job search.
Who Should You Contact?
If you or a loved one was charged with violating a restraining order in New Jersey, contact Adam H. Rosenblum of The Rosenblum Law Firm today. Mr. Rosenblum is a skilled criminal defense attorney who has helped people in similar situations. He will defend your constitutional rights, fight to keep you out of jail, and do what he can to have your charges dismissed. Call him today at 888-815-3649.