What Are The Criminal Consequences of Violating A Restraining Order In New Jersey?

Restraining orders can be temporary or permanent and are used to protect someone and provide them with safety. Restraining orders typically ban contact between a plaintiff and the defendant, and failing to follow the terms of the order can result in criminal charges. You should speak to an attorney if you have violated a restraining order. 

Restraining orders can certainly be helpful for people when they feel threatened by a particular individual. The order essentially prohibits the defendant from communicating or contacting the plaintiff in any way possible. The consequences of violating a restraining order in NJ can be severe. 

Types of restraining orders

There are two types of restraining orders– temporary and permanent. 

  • Temporary restraining order. 

A temporary restraining order is issued quickly without requiring much evidence and lasts about ten days. The purpose of a temporary order is to provide immediate protection to the person. The process of reviewing additional evidence is conducted later. 

  • Final restraining order. 

A final restraining order, as the name suggests, is a final order which lasts for a lifetime and has severe implications. It is much more serious than a temporary order. After ten days of issuing a temporary order, the court orders a hearing to decide whether a final order should be issued. Unlike a temporary one, the final order requires strong evidence, witness statements, and cross-examination. 

What are the legal penalties for violating a restraining order in New Jersey?

The legal penalties for violating a restraining order depend on the seriousness of the violation. However, it is still possible to go to jail for a violation in certain circumstances. For example, if the plaintiff has brought a restraining order because of a domestic violence issue, the defendant must not try to contact them as it may mean they are trying to cause them harm. 

There are several degrees of offense– second-degree, third-degree, or fourth-degree. Depending on the severity of your offense, the defendant will be subject to penalties under domestic violence laws. Additionally, how long you go to jail is also laid out within this law. 

What if you did not know about the restraining order?

Before penalizing you for violating the restraining order, the court must determine that you were aware of the order. You have the right to be informed about a restraining order, either through the plaintiff or the court, as soon as it is issued against you. You would have a defense if you were unaware of the restraining order. 

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