A Bayonne man was recently charged with contempt of a restraining order due to allegations that he repeatedly called the restraining order’s protected party from the Hudson County Jail. According to the complaint, the suspect was charged with contempt and harassment for allegedly contacting the plaintiff several times over the course of three days between June 27, 2017, and June 29, 2017 while he was incarcerated. Since a temporary restraining order (TRO) had been issued against the suspect on June 9 in the Bayonne Municipal Court, these alleged calls violated that restraining order.
Violations of a temporary restraining order or a final restraining order (FRO) in New Jersey are considered criminal offenses and can be prosecuted in the New Jersey Superior Courts. In fact, the criminal justice system takes violations of restraining orders very seriously because the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act (“PDVA”), specifically N.J.S.A. 2C:29-9(b), stipulates that 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.
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 is punishable in New Jersey by a fine of up to $10,000 and 18 months in prison, while a disorderly persons offense is punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 and six months in jail. Additionally, under N.J.S.A. 2C:25-30, the PDVA 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.
Violation of Restraining Order, Contempt Charges in Hudson County NJ
If you are charged with contempt for violating a restraining order in New Jersey, you face severe penalties that include a mandatory 30 days in jail for a second offense. That’s why it is imperative that you contact the restraining order and contempt defense lawyers at the Tormey Law Firm. We have handled countless contempt matters in Superior Courts throughout New Jersey and we are ready to defend you today.