Restraining orders are often used to protect an alleged victim from further instances of abuse. Law enforcement and the courts take these orders seriously and sternly penalize violations. If you’ve been accused of violating a restraining order, the criminal defense attorneys at Sutnick & Sutnick Attorneys at Law can help.
Violating a restraining order is a criminal offense. Even though the restraining order itself is not a crime or an offense, violating one is. The police will arrest you and charge you on a criminal complaint. It is important to start defending the case immediately while evidence is still fresh and available.
Temporary And Final Restraining Orders
A judge may issue a restraining order following allegations of domestic violence or harassment. A restraining order prevents you from contacting the alleged victim in any way, including in person, by phone or through social media.
Generally, a judge issues a temporary restraining order (TRO) after the complaint. A TRO remains in effect until a hearing, typically scheduled within 10 days. At the hearing, the judge will either remove or extend a TRO or replace it with a final restraining order (FRO). In New Jersey, FROs do not have time limits and remain in effect until removed by the court.
Mandatory Arrests Follow Violations
Violating a TRO or FRO is a criminal offense and a mandatory arrest. After a first restraining order violation, the court could sentence you to jail time, fines or probation. A second or subsequent violation carries a mandatory jail sentence of 30-days or longer and additional fines.
FAQs About Restraining Orders In New Jersey
A restraining order violation can dramatically impact an individual’s freedom. Our New Jersey restraining order violation attorneys understand the frustration and confusion many individuals feel when facing these charges. While every case is different, there are some common questions that come up time and again.
False Accusations FAQs
What to do if someone files a false restraining order against you? It is very important to start working right away with an attorney. There may be important evidence that must be saved or requested immediately. An attorney can help identify that evidence and identify ways to locate it.
How to defend yourself against false accusations?
Collect evidence right away. Sometimes just looking through text messages and phone logs can make the difference between a final restraining order and a dismissal. An attorney will help determine what evidence is important. Also, it is essential to speak to potential witnesses while their memories are fresh. Cases are based on facts and lack of facts and an early and thorough investigation may be necessary.
How do I fight a false restraining order in New Jersey?
Prepare for trial. Identify and locate witnesses. Save and print out photographs, text messages and social media posts. Consult with an attorney to determine the most strategic and helpful defense.
Fighting/Appealing a Restraining Order FAQs
Why fight a restraining order? A restraining order in New Jersey lasts forever. Any violation, no matter how small, is a criminal offense that may result in jail time and a criminal conviction. A final restraining order prohibits your ability to own a firearm and can also affect child custody.
How do you fight a restraining order in New Jersey?
Gather important evidence right away. Speak to an attorney about a realistic and powerful defense strategy. Often, there is an alternative to a final restraining order and an experienced attorney can help make that happen. If the case cannot be resolved, it may be necessary to speak to witnesses or people with background information. Every case is factually different and each individual needs personalized attention and a personalized defense.
Can you appeal a domestic violence restraining order in NJ?
Yes. After a judge enters a final restraining order, you have 45 days to file an appeal.
What are the grounds for appealing a restraining order?
A final restraining order may be appealed and overturned if the court who heard the case made a legal error or mistake. For example, if the judge who presided over the restraining order trial did not apply the law correctly, there may be a basis for an appeal.
Violation of a Restraining Order FAQs
What happens if you violate a restraining order in New Jersey? A violation of a restraining order is a criminal offense under N.J.S.A. 2C:29-9. The actual charge is called contempt and it can carry up to 18 months in jail. Even though violations of restraining orders are criminal in nature, in accordance with N.J.S.A. 2C: 25-50, they are not heard in the Criminal Part of Superior Court, but rather the Family Part of the Chancery Division. A contempt charge proceeds like an ordinary criminal matter where an individual is arraigned before a judge and has the right to remain silent and go to trial.
What is the charge for breaking a restraining order?
The charge for breaking a restraining order is called contempt. According to N.J.S.A. 2C:29-9 a person is guilty of contempt if they knowingly disobey a judicial order entered under the provisions of the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act of 1991. Some violations are fourth degree crimes punishable by up to 18 months in prison and others are disorderly persons offenses punishable by up to six months in the county jail.
Where will I be going to court for a restraining order in New Jersey? Trials for final restraining orders are held in the Superior Court, Chancery Division, Family Part of each county. There is no jury and it is a judge who listens to the evidence and decides whether to issue a final restraining order. The plaintiff and defendant both have an opportunity to present evidence to the Court.
Impact of a Restraining Order FAQs
How a restraining order affects you in NJ? If you are subject to a final restraining order, you are fingerprinted, photographed and entered into the New Jersey Domestic Violence Registry.
A restraining order in New Jersey is in effect forever so you will be prohibited from interacting with the plaintiff everywhere and always. If you do interact or reach out, even after many years, you are subject to a criminal arrest. A restraining order effects your ability to own a firearm. It can also affect child custody.
Can restraining orders affect employment?
A restraining order may affect your employment depending on where you work. If you are a licensed professional, such as a dentist or attorney, it may affect your license and ability to work. A final restraining order is not criminal so it will not appear on your criminal record or on a background check, however, some jobs may inquire about this issue.
Can a restraining order keep you from getting a job?
This depends on where you are looking to work. For example, if you would like to be a police officer or a nurse, an employer or licensing board may ask for information about whether or not you have any restraining orders. If you have a restraining order you will be prohibited from carrying a firearm and this could affect potential employment in law enforcement.
Will a restraining order show on a background check?
A final restraining order is not criminal and will not show up on a criminal background check. A violation of a restraining order is criminal.
Will a restraining order affect police, military, or other careers?
A restraining order can affect your ability to serve in the military or work in law enforcement because you are prohibited from owning a firearm. If carrying a weapon is necessary for a particular job, you would be unable to obtain that employment. An extensive background check to determine your fitness may reveal the restraining order from the New Jersey Domestic Violence Registry.
General Restraining Order FAQs
Are restraining orders felonies? No. A final restraining order is not a criminal charge. It will not show up on a criminal background check.
How long do you go to jail for violating a restraining order?
It depends on the type of violation. A knowing violation of a restraining order is called contempt. Felony contempt is punishable by up to 18 months in state prison. A disorderly persons contempt charge is punishable by up to six months in the county jail. The underlying facts of the contempt charge determine the level of crime.
Can restraining orders be reversed?
A restraining order can be appealed or vacated. This must be done in court.
Can restraining orders be dropped?
A person protected by a restraining order may dismiss it by going to court. A restraining order must be vacated by a judge. A person cannot simply decide that they no longer need the protection of a restraining order and act like it doesn’t exist. This must happen in court.
Is a restraining order the same as an order of protection or a stay away order?
Attorneys & Restraining Order FAQs
How can an attorney help me with a restraining order? An attorney can help a defendant try and dismiss a restraining order and can help a plaintiff try to obtain a restraining order. There are certain facts that are legally important, and an experienced attorney will help identify what is important in each situation. Every person and every case is different and it is necessary to obtain individualized and specific advice.
Should I get a lawyer for a restraining order?
Yes. An experienced lawyer will help you navigate the legal system and obtain the best possible result for your situation. If you are involved in a Family Court proceeding, it will undoubtedly be stressful, and an attorney can help manage and guide you through the process.
Arrange A Free Consultation To Learn More
These cases are often based on your word against the alleged victim’s version of events. You need a strong legal advocate to protect your rights.
Schedule a free consultation with a lawyer at our offices in Hackensack, Wayne or the Bronx to discuss your options. To arrange yours, email our firm or call us at 201-212-4532. We represent clients in Bergen County, Passaic County and New York.