A New Jersey man who was recently accused of murdering his ex-girlfriend in Newark, New Jersey also reportedly violated a restraining order issued against him. According to the Newark Police Department, Kareem Dawson confronted the mother of his children despite the fact that she had obtained a restraining order last year following a physical attack. The victim reportedly fled, but a chase ensued and Dawson allegedly shot and killed her. Responding officers attempted to apprehend Dawson, who subsequently led the police on a car chase all the way to Summit, New Jersey. After coming to a stop, Dawson shot himself in the head. He was then transported to a hospital and treated for the injury.
This terrible story is reminder as to why the New Jersey courts take domestic violence matters so seriously. Setting aside the aspects of the alleged murder in this case, the accusation of violating a temporary or final restraining order in New Jersey is also very serious. In fact, violations of a restraining order in New Jersey are considered criminal offenses that are prosecuted in the NJ Superior Courts. According to N.J.S.A. 2C:29-9(b), a person is guilty of a crime of the fourth degree if that person purposely or knowingly violates any provision in a restraining order entered under the provisions of the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act (“PDVA”) when the conduct which constitutes the violation could also constitute a crime or a disorderly persons offense; in all other cases, a person is guilty of a disorderly persons offense if that person knowingly violates a restraining order.
The consequences and penalties for violating a restraining order in New Jersey depend on whether the defendant is convicted of a fourth degree crime or a disorderly persons offense. Generally, a fourth degree crime is punishable by up to a $10,000 fine and 18 months in prison, while a disorderly persons offense is punishable by up to a $1,000 fine and 6 months in jail. In accordance with N.J.S.A. 2C:25-30, the PDVA further sets forth that any person convicted of a second or subsequent disorderly persons domestic violence contempt offense shall serve a mandatory minimum term of not less than 30 days in jail, without exception.
If you are charged with contempt for violating a restraining order in New Jersey, you face severe penalties. You should not hesitate to contact the restraining order and contempt defense lawyers at the Tormey Law Firm. We have handled countless restraining order and contempt matters in Superior Courts throughout New Jersey and we are ready to defend you today. Contact us anytime to discuss your case.