Domestic violence victims may get a restraining order against their abuser. A restraining order usually prohibits the person being served from contacting the alleged victim. A temporary restraining order or TRO can be requested by an alleged abuse victim or the police officer who responds to a domestic violence call.
If you have been issued a TRO, you must take it seriously because it is a legal order from a judge. Violating a restraining order is a criminal offense and courts in New Jersey will not take it lightly. You can be fined or put in jail if you violate a protective order. To avoid making your situation worse, contact a restraining order defense attorney in New Jersey as soon as possible. Your attorney can fight for you by challenging the basis of the order’s issuance.
What to Expect When You Violate a Restraining Order
A domestic violence-related restraining order will require you not to communicate with the alleged victim in any way and avoid going to the scene where the alleged abuse or violence occur or go to other places like the business or school or the alleged victim.
If you violate a restraining order, the alleged victim can report you to the police. The police can arrest you and charge you with contempt of court and other charges like assault, stalking, or trespassing. Such charges are criminal in nature. A criminal contempt charge is a disorderly person’s offense if the accused did not commit any other crime beyond the violation of the restraining order. With this offense, you may be in jail for up to 6 months and pay $1, 000 in fines. But, if you knowingly violate the order by committing a domestic violence offense, you can be charged with a fourth-degree felony. Domestic violence offenses include homicide, stalking, assault, kidnapping, sexual assault, and others. In this case, your punishment is based on the crime you were found guilty of. You can stay up to 18 months in jail and pay a fine of up to $10, 000.
How to Defend Yourself Against a Charge of Violating a Restraining Order
There are many ways your defense attorney can help you if you fight a charge of violating an order. First, you need to be notified of a restraining order before a court determines if a violation of this order took place. The court will dismiss the charge if you haven’t received a copy of the order.
In cases where it is not possible to dispute the charge’s facts, your attorney will work to find a favorable resolution to your case. Sometimes, the consequences of a restraining order violation can be minor and your lawyer can seek a “de minimis infraction” ruling. Such provision is used to eliminate unnecessary prosecution from the docket of the court.