Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Consequences of Violating a Restraining Order

Criminal consequences of violating a restraining order

The Family Division in the Superior court handles restraining orders. It is a civil matter.

However, a violation of a temporary or final restraining order has criminal consequences.

What is a Restraining Order?

A restraining order is an order issued by the court. It protects a victim of domestic violence. A restraining order prohibits a person from contacting or communicating with another person. If you are issued a restraining order against you, you cannot contact the person who requested the order. If you do, you will face serious consequences.

New Jersey Violation of a Restraining Order Law

New Jersey law, N.J.S.A. 2C:25-30, says that a person is in contempt where he or she violates a temporary or final restraining order. If the police believe that you violated a restraining order, you can be arrested. After you are arrested, there will be a court hearing to determine if you violated the court’s order.

What is contempt?

A violation of a restraining order is called a contempt of the court. That means that the person violating the order did not follow the court’s order. The person, therefore, showed “contempt” for the court.

Contempt proceedings for violations of a restraining order are heard in family court.

When charged with violating a restraining order, you may have been arrested for a Disorderly Persons offense.

Disorderly Persons offenses include Harassment, Resisting Arrest, Obstruction of Justice, Eluding, Marijuana Possession, and Simple Assault.

 

What penalties do I face if I am charged with violating a restraining order?

Violation of a restraining order is a felony. Felony charges are also called indictable offenses in New Jersey.

Felonies are graded according to their seriousness. Fourth-degree felonies are the least serious felonies. The most serious felonies are first degree. Murder can be a first-degree felony.

A violation of a final restraining order is a fourth-degree felony under N.J.S.A. 2C:29-9. Although it is the lowest degree of felony, it is still very serious. If convicted of contempt of a restraining order, you would face up to 18 months in prison, and up to a $10,000 fine. The penalties for a second or subsequent violation include a jail sentence of at least 30 days. This sentence is mandatory.

Why did I receive a charge of contempt and an additional charge for violating a restraining order?

When a person is charged with violating a restraining order, many times they also are charged with another offense. The charge of violating the restraining order is a contempt charge. The other charge maybe for a misdemeanor offense (also called a disorderly persons offense in New Jersey), or a felony charge.

Felonies include aggravated assault, kidnapping, sexual assault, and other charges.

You may be charged with contempt of court and simple assault, for example. 

Or, you may be charged with contempt of court and kidnapping. 

So, in either example, you would face the penalties for violating the restraining order, and the penalties for the charge.

What penalties do I face if I am charged with violating a restraining order, and another charge?

A violation of a final restraining order is a fourth-degree felony under N.J.S.A. 2C:29-9. This means that you could be jailed for up to 18 months if convicted.

If you are also charged with a misdemeanor, you would also face up to a $1,000 fine and up to six months in jail.

Penalties for a felony charge depend on the degree of the felony. 

Read more about Felony Charges: 5 Steps To Start Fighting Back!

What if I did not know I had a restraining order issued against me?

The court must confirm that you knew about the restraining order before deciding if you violated the order.

You must be given a copy of the restraining order issued against you, or you must have known about the order. You have a defense if you did not know about the order, but your lack of knowledge must be reasonable.

Is the first violation of a restraining order for harassment in New Jersey a minimum charge?

No. The violation of a restraining order is a fourth degree felony under N.J.S.A. 2C:29-9.

If you violate a restraining order, you are subject to the penalties for violating a fourth degree felony. If you are also charged with harassment, you will face the penalties for harassment.


Harassment is a petty disorderly persons offense (lowest level misdemeanor). The penalties for harassment are up to 30 days in jail and a $500 fine.

Therefore, you will face up to 18 months in prison, and up to a $10,000 fine for the violation of the restraining order. You will also face up to 30 days in jail and a $500 fine for the harassment charge.

Is there a statute of limitations on reporting a violation of a final restraining order New Jersey?

No. A person who violates a restraining order can be reported at any time.

How to get an expungement violation of a restraining order in New Jersey?

If a temporary restraining order is dismissed, then the record can be expunged.

If a final restraining order is granted by the court, it cannot be expunged. However, there are two options available.

The first option is that you have 45 days to appeal the court’s decision.

The second option is that you can file a motion to vacate the final restraining order. You must prove that there has been a change in circumstances over time, and that the permanent restraining order is no longer necessary.

Read more about Expungements!

  • Get Help With Your Restraining Order Case

If you would like to meet with us to discuss your case, we offer FREE consultations.

About the Author

Attorney At Law

Mr. Peyrouton is a Criminal Defense Attorney located in Hackensack, NJ.

His articles in the areas of Criminal Law have been published in The New Jersey Law Journal.

He is a distinguished author, trial attorney, and has had the privilege of arguing before the New Jersey Supreme Court.

Prior to becoming an attorney, Mr. Peyrouton was a world-class, competitive tennis player.

He is perfectly fluent in Spanish.

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NJSA - 2C:43-7.2.
Eligibility for parole;
persons convicted of certain violent crimes

a. A court imposing a sentence of incarceration for a crime of the first or second degree enumerated in subsection d. of this section shall fix a minimum term of 85% of the sentence imposed, during which the defendant shall not be eligible for parole.


b. The minimum term required by subsection a. of this section shall be fixed as a part of every sentence of incarceration imposed upon every conviction of a crime enumerated in subsection d. of this section, whether the sentence of incarceration is determined pursuant to N.J.S.2C:43-6, N.J.S.2C:43-7, N.J.S.2C:11-3 or any other provision of law, and shall be calculated based upon the sentence of incarceration actually imposed. The provisions of subsection a. of this section shall not be construed or applied to reduce the time that must be served before eligibility for parole by an inmate sentenced to a mandatory minimum period of incarceration. Solely for the purpose of calculating the minimum term of parole ineligibility pursuant to subsection a. of this section, a sentence of life imprisonment shall be deemed to be 75 years.


c. Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary and in addition to any other sentence imposed, a court imposing a minimum period of parole ineligibility of 85 percent of the sentence pursuant to this section shall also impose a five-year term of parole supervision if the defendant is being sentenced for a crime of the first degree, or a three-year term of parole supervision if the defendant is being sentenced for a crime of the second degree. The term of parole supervision shall commence upon the completion of the sentence of incarceration imposed by the court pursuant to subsection a. of this section unless the defendant is serving a sentence of incarceration for another crime at the time he completes the sentence of incarceration imposed pursuant to subsection a., in which case the term of parole supervision shall commence immediately upon the defendant’s release from incarceration. During the term of parole supervision the defendant shall remain in release status in the community in the legal custody of the Commissioner of the Department of Corrections and shall be supervised by the State Parole Board as if on parole and shall be subject to the provisions and conditions

Felony Degree

Prison & Fines

Examples

First-Degree

1st-degree felony charges in NJ are reserved for the most serious criminal offenses.

Second-Degree

2nd-degree felony charges carry 5-10 yrs in prison.
These charges can often be “downgraded” to 3rd or 4th-degree crimes.

Third-Degree

3rd-degree felony charges carry 3-5 years.
You have a good shot at PTI if you are charged with 3rd-degree.

Fourth-Degree

4th-degree felony charges carry up to 18 months in jail. But if you have a really good lawyer, he may be able to your case “remanded” to a lower court. In this way, you will be out of “felony” danger.