Call Us Today! (973) 447-3943

In Contempt: What to Expect if you Violate a Restraining Order

By Sarah Jacobs, Esq.

Restraining Order Violation and Domestic Violence Attorneys Morristown NJ

Providing Legal Counsel to Clients Facing Restraining Orders in Florham Park, Hanover, Madison, Randolph, Tewksbury, and across Morris County

Restraining Order Violation and Domestic Violence Attorneys Morristown NJ

Prevention of Domestic Violence Act (PDVA) of 1991 outlines a wide variety of actions that constitute domestic violence. When a person becomes the victim of any of these acts, they may seek relief from the violence or abuse through a protective order known as a “Restraining Order”. Violating a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) or Final Restraining Order (FRO) is a criminal offense.

Are you a victim of domestic violence and need immediate protection from your abuser? Have you or a loved one been falsely accused of domestic violence and are in need of legal representation? Are in your violation of a restraining order against you or were charged with criminal contempt in New Jersey?

Jacobs Berger, LLC is here for you. With extensive experience helping clients across Florham Park, Hanover, Madison, Randolph, Tewksbury, Morristown, and Morris County with all manner of domestic violence and restraining order issues, we are ready to put our knowledgeable, effective, and compassionate legal service to work for you.

Call our office today for a strategic planning session to discuss your unique needs and situation regarding your domestic violence case and to prepare a potential plan of action.

What to Expect if You Violate a Restraining Order in Morris County 

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, texting, Facebook, Google+, emailing, calling, any other form of live or virtual communication, and could even include having someone else relay a message to the person).

Violating a restraining order is a criminal offense and if you violate a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) or a Final Restraining Order (FRO) or a violation is alleged, NJ Rev Stat § 2C:25-31 (2013) requires a mandatory arrest. Under Contempt of a Court Order, NJ Rev Stat § 2C:29-9 (2015), a person can be found guilty of criminal contempt if he or she: “purposefully 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.”

Violation of a TRO or an FRO are both punishable by up to six (6) months in the county jail and a $1,000 fine. Should one be found in contempt a second time there is a mandatory minimum of a 30-day county jail sentence, as required by  NJ Rev Stat § 2C:25-30 (2015). If coincidentally, one allegedly commits another crime while violating a TRO or FRO, the contempt violation becomes a 4th-degree felony charge; a crime punishable by up to 18 months in prison.

We are living together again…Can I be found in contempt or in violation if my partner calls the police?

Legal minds are split as to whether a reconciliation voids a restraining order. In State v. L.C., 283 N.J. Super. 441 (App. Div. 1995) there was a TRO in place but neither party sought to dismiss it. The couple resumed a romantic relationship, lived together and even vacationed together. In the end, the court stated that despite the reconciliation the restraining order was still legally in place and charged the defendant with contempt. Conversely in the case of Mohamed v. Mohamed, 232 N.J. Super. 474 (App. Div. 1989), the court held that the “domestic violence order ceased to be effective after the parties reconciled and resumed their marital relationship.” Therefore the defendant could not be held in contempt for the violation of a restraining order where there was a reconciliation with the plaintiff.

If you believe you are in a similar situation and are unsure what to do, consult an attorney who can help you better understand your rights and obligations.

What Happens During a Contempt Proceeding?

All contempt proceedings involving TRO’s, FRO’s, and related to N.J.S.A. 29-9 will be heard by the Family Court. If the violation is more severe (e.g., assault or battery) then the contempt charge is a fourth-degree offense, and the violation is heard in the Criminal Law Division of the Superior Court.

Standard of Proof that a Restraining Order has been Violated

The standard of proof in contempt is “beyond a reasonable doubt” and not the standard “preponderance of the evidence.” The State must establish that the defendant purposely and knowingly violated the final restraining order beyond a reasonable doubt.

Contact Our Morristown Restraining Order and Domestic Violence Attorneys Today

At Jacobs Berger, LLC our attorneys have extensive experience helping clients across Madison, Randolph, Florham Park, Hanover, Tewksbury, Morris County, and throughout New Jersey to secure legal protection from domestic violence and to defend themselves against false allegations of domestic violence and the lifelong consequences a Final Restraining Order can have.

With over 25 years of combined family law experience, our firm is ready to provide you with the knowledgeable, highly effective, and compassionate legal service that you need and deserve. We will do all we can to protect your legal rights, fight to keep you out of jail and work diligently to provide an optimal result.

To schedule a comprehensive and confidential consultation with our attorneys today, please contact us online, or through our Morristown, NJ office at 973-710-4366.

Contact Our Morristown Attorneys Today

At Jacobs Berger, our attorneys are experienced in protecting our clients across Madison, Randolph, Tewksbury, Morristown, and the greater Morris County area in all family law-related issues.

To schedule a strategic planning session with one of our experienced team members regarding your particular case, please contact us online or through our Morristown, NJ office at (973) 354-4506.