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Contempt Consequences of Violating a New Jersey Restraining Order N.J.S. 2C:29-9

Restraining Orders
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New Jersey judges grant restraining orders when there are claims of violence, threats, or harassing behavior that is concerning or threatening to the person seeking the order. A restraining order is a civil order of the court, so simply having a restraining order against you doesn’t mean you have a criminal record. However, violation of a restraining order can lead to serious criminal consequences.

Someone might violate a restraining order with something as simple as sending a text message, making a phone call to the person they’ve been in a relationship with, or even having someone else get in touch with the person protected by the order. Dealing with an allegation of a restraining order violation is one thing; facing new criminal charges is another matter altogether.

Almost half of all restraining order violation arrests happen in connection with another criminal charge, whether it is harassment, assault, or some domestic violence allegation. Of the 2,636 arrests for allegations of a domestic violence restraining order violation, just over half--1,394--were for charges of only violating the order, while a little less than half of the cases--1,242--involved allegations of restraining order violations plus a new domestic violence offense.

Types of New Jersey Restraining Orders

New Jersey has two types of restraining orders: temporary and final. A petitioner seeking a restraining order must first file for a temporary restraining order (TRO). A judge hears the claims of the petitioner only and decides on the petition. If the TRO is granted, the police must deliver it to the person who is to be restrained. After a full hearing, where both sides have an opportunity to be heard, the judge can decide to issue a final restraining order (FRO), which is permanent until it is altered or revoked by a judge. In considering an alleged violation of a restraining order, a TRO and FRO are treated the same.

What Is Contempt – a Violation of a New Jersey Restraining Order?

A restraining order is a civil action that carries the full force of law enforcement behind it. Anyone who violates the conditions of the order can face criminal charges, called criminal contempt of court under N.J.S. 2C:29-9.

New Jersey law says that an alleged restraining order violator is to be taken into police custody, even if the allegations are untrue. If the court finds that the allegations of a restraining order violation are true, the violator faces punishment for criminal contempt of court under N.J.S 2C:29-9. A first violation may result in up to 180 days in jail and a $1,000 fine. A second violation results in a mandatory 30-day jail sentence.

In almost half of all domestic violence restraining order violation arrests that involve allegations of a separate domestic violence crime, the accused can face charges of a fourth-degree crime equivalent to a felony charge. A conviction on this charge can lead to a prison term of up to 18 months and a fine of up to $10,000.

A Skilled Restraining Order Attorney on Your Side

Charges of violating a restraining order – contempt of court - can be very serious. New criminal charges can follow the allegations, leading to jail time, fines, and a criminal record. A skilled criminal contempt attorney at Law Office of Leon Matchin LLC can guide you through the process and help you get better results than you’re likely to get alone. Contact Law Office of Leon Matchin LLC at (833) 732-7320 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.

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