Stalking and harassment are considered crimes, as well as violations of a restraining order in New Jersey. If you have been charged with contempt for violating a restraining order in Hawthorne or elsewhere in Bergen County, NJ, you face severe penalties that could include a mandatory 30 days in jail. The jail term is mandatory if you were previously convicted of contempt of a restraining order. The restraining order and contempt defense lawyers at the Tormey Law Firm can help you contest the charges. We’ve handled countless contempt matters in Superior Courts throughout New Jersey and we are ready to defend you today. Contact us anytime to discuss your case.
Stalking, Harassment, & Contempt in Hawthorne NJ
A Hawthorne man was recently charged with contempt of a restraining order, stalking, and harassment following complaints that the victim received an excessive amount of anonymous phone calls. According to the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office, the man used identity-concealing technology to make harassing phone calls that were alarming and disturbing in nature. Moreover, when he allegedly made the calls, the man was already subject to a restraining order. Thus, the actions constituted not only harassment and stalking, but also the violation of an existing restraining order. Accordingly, the man was charged, arrested, and detained in the Bergen County Jail in Hackensack, NJ.
Violations of a restraining order in New Jersey are considered criminal offenses that are prosecuted in the New Jersey Superior Courts. In fact, the NJ criminal justice system takes violations of restraining orders very seriously because, according to the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act (“PDVA”), 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 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. In other words: if the violation of the restraining order itself is an independent criminal offense or disorderly persons offense, such as aggravated assault or simple assault, then the contempt will be charged as a fourth degree crime. However, if the violation is based on a non-threatening phone call or text message, then the contempt will be charged as a disorderly persons offense.
Charged with Contempt in Bergen County, What am I Facing?
The penalties for contempt of a restraining order depend on whether the defendant is convicted of a fourth degree crime or a disorderly persons offense. Generally, a fourth degree crime in New Jersey 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 six (6) months in jail. However, under N.J.S.A. 2C:25-30, the PDVA further establishes 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.
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