A defendant is barred from texting, calling or making any other contact with a domestic violence plaintiff once a restraining order is put into place. An individual is immediately arrested if there is probable cause to believe that they violated the no contact or other provisions of a temporary restraining order or permanent restraining order. Incarceration is mandatory for a second or subsequent restraining order violation (i.e. conviction for contempt).
The risks are clearly extremely high when someone is the subject of a restraining order. An accomplished criminal lawyer can prove to be an invaluable asset in averting the pitfalls of a contempt offense. Here at Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall we can offer representation from an eight member team of defense attorneys that have over 100 years of experience defending restraining order violations arising in Toms River, Little Egg Harbor, Stafford, Manchester, Brick Township and towns in Ocean County. Call our Toms River Office at (732) 286-6500 to speak to an attorney immediately without obligation. The following are some frequently asked questions of individuals charge with a restraining order violation.What Penalties & Collateral Consequences Are Triggered If I Am Convicted of Criminal Contempt?
A criminal complaint for contempt is governed by N.J.S. 2C:29-9. Failure to comply with the conditions of a restraining order is a fourth degree crime, a felony, under this law. The penalties if you are convicted of fourth degree contempt include a fine of up to $7,500 and as much as eighteen (18) months in jail. A jail term must be imposed by the court if you have previously been convicted of contempt (i.e. violating a restraining order). In other words, a jail term is mandatory for a second or subsequent conviction for contempt involving failure to comply with a restraining order.How Does The Prosecutor Prove a Charge For Contempt?
To be found guilty of contempt, New Jersey Law requires proof, beyond reasonable doubt, that you purposely or knowingly violated the terms of a restraining order. Accordingly, if were unaware of the existence of a temporary restraining order or a final restraining order and engaged in banned communications with the plaintiff, you cannot be convicted of contempt. You should also know that not all communications constitute a violation. For example, courts in NJ have held that questions when picking up/dropping off children like “when do I have the children next” or “I am going to pick up the lawn mower”, are de minimus and do not constitute actionable contempt.Can I Be Convicted for Violating a Restraining Order If It Is Dropped After the Contempt Was Committed?
Yes. As long as there was a restraining order in effect at the time of the violation, the prosecutor may proceed with the contempt charge. The issue under the law is not whether the victim followed through with the relief but rather defendant’s conduct while the restraining order was in effect.Toms River NJ Criminal Contempt Defense Attorneys
All cases involving allegations that someone violated a restraining order are heard at the Ocean County Superior Court. This is the court that possesses jurisdiction to decide a fourth degree crime such as violating a restraining order under 2C:29-9. This is the place where your offense will be heard and decide whether the related incident occurred in Jackson, Berkeley, Lacey, Ocean Township or Eagleswood.
The attorneys in our firm have been successfully representing individuals accused of violating restraining orders in Toms River for decades and our staff even includes a former prosecutor in the county. If you would like to speak to a lawyer about the facts surrounding your arrest, contact us at (732) 286-6500. The initial consultation with one of our lawyers is free of charge so do not hesitate in reaching out to us for guidance.