Unfortunately, relationships sometimes go sour and previously powerful bonds of attraction can become toxic. When that happens, people need to act in order to protect themselves. To do this, they obtain a restraining order (sometimes called an “order of protection”).
What is a Restraining Order (Order of Protection)?
A restraining order is a legal order from a court that prevents an individual from doing a particular act to the individual who obtained the order (e.g. coming within a certain distance, calling him or her on the phone, etc.). A restraining order that restricts another person’s ability to come into contact with the person who obtained the restraining is called a full stay away order. Additionally, if a domestic dispute took place and a restraining order is needed immediately, a judge will sometimes issue a temporary restraining order (TRO). A TRO is for a set period of time that eventually will elapse. A TRO can eventually become a final restraining order (FRO) if the situation becomes serious enough and a judge agrees to it.
Another kind of restraining order is a no illegal contact order. This prevents one person from committing an illegal act—like assault or battery—against the person who obtained the restraining order. Although it may seem strange to issue an order against an action that is already criminal, the purpose of a no illegal contact order is to increase the seriousness of the consequences of the commission of the illegal act. Essentially, it raises the bar on the punishment in order to add an extra deterrent.
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Remember, a restraining order can be designed to include any form of contact with a person, whether in-person or virtual. An individual can be prohibited from contacting another via Facebook, Google+, phone, e-mail, instant messaging, text message, and any other form of live or virtual communication. This could even include having someone else relay a message to the person.
What are the Penalties for Violating a Restraining Order (Order of Protection)?
Restraining orders often involve the physical safety and well-being of the one who applied for the order. Therefore, they are taken very seriously in New Jersey. Many people do not understand the ramifications of the restraining order they receive. Some believe that it only limits in-person communication and interaction. However, a simple mistake like that can spiral into a legal nightmare.
If you violate a restraining order, you can be charged with criminal contempt in New Jersey.
Under NJSA 2C:29-9, a person can be found guilty of a criminal contempt if he or she:
- “[P]urposefully 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.”
A conviction for criminal contempt in New Jersey is more serious than you might think. Depending on your situation, you could face up to 18 months in jail and a fine of up to $25,000. A second conviction for criminal contempt could land you behind bars for a minimum of 30 days. Restraining orders are not a joke. If you believe that you are in danger of being charged with violating a restraining order, be sure to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. Do not try to represent yourself; the courts do not go easy on someone that is breaking a direct order. Be sure to find a legal expert who can help you navigate your way out of these dangerous waters.
Who Should You Contact?
If you are in violation of a restraining order against you or were charged with criminal contempt in New Jersey, contact The Rosenblum Law Firm today. Our team of experienced criminal defense attorneys will do all they can to protect your legal rights, fight to keep you out of jail, and will diligently work to get you the results you want. Call us today at 888-815-3649.