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What Happens if You Violate a Restraining Order During the Holidays?

November 8, 2021 | Posted In Criminal Law

Navigating the holidays can be challenging even under the best of circumstances. If you are subject to a domestic violence restraining order, knowing what you can and can’t do is critical for avoiding mistakes that could lead to jail time. Violating a domestic violence restraining order can land you in jail not only during but also long after the holidays. If you’ve been charged with a restraining order violation, you should speak with a lawyer right away.

Just as the police in New Jersey take all domestic violence allegations seriously, domestic violence restraining order violations are taken seriously as well. In most cases, a restraining order violation is a fourth-degree indictable crime, which is comparable to a low-level felony in other states.

Penalties for Domestic Violence Restraining Order Violations

Since domestic violence restraining orders are a type of court order, violations of these orders constitute contempt of court. New Jersey’s contempt statute (New Jersey Statutes Section 2C:29-9) states:

“[A] person is guilty of a crime of the fourth degree if that person purposely or knowingly violates any provision in an order entered under the provisions of the ‘Prevention of Domestic Violence Act of 1991’ . . . when the conduct which constitutes the violation could also constitute a crime or a disorderly persons offense.”

Harassment, cyber harassment, stalking, and trespassing are all examples of criminal acts that may violate a domestic violence restraining order. If convicted of a restraining order violation involving one of these crimes (or any other crime or disorderly persons offense), you can face:

  • Up to 18 months in prison, and
  • Up to a $10,000 fine.

Domestic violence restraining order violations that do not involve a crime or disorderly persons offense are prosecuted as disorderly persons offenses in New Jersey. While not as serious as fourth-degree indictable crimes, these offenses still carry:

  • Up to six months in jail, and
  • Up to a $1,000 fine.

Finally, if you are subject to a domestic violence restraining order due to a stalking conviction under Section 2C:12-10.1 or Section 2C:12-10.2 of the New Jersey Statutes, you could be facing prosecution for a third-degree indictable crime. These crimes carry up to five years in jail and a $15,000 fine.

Defending Against a Charge for Violating a Restraining Order

If you’ve been accused of violating a domestic violence restraining order during the holidays, a New Jersey defense lawyer at Helmer, Conley & Kasselman, P.A. can help you. From false accusations to not acting “purposely or knowingly,” there are several potential defenses our lawyers may be able to assert on your behalf. Regardless of the circumstances involved, it is in your best interests to rely on sound legal advice, and you can contact us 24/7 for a free initial consultation.

Get Help from an Experienced Defense Lawyer in New Jersey

To find out what defenses our domestic violence lawyers can use to fight your charge, call 877-435-6371 or tell us how we can reach you online. We will arrange for you to speak with a lawyer in confidence as soon as possible.


Over 20 attorneys at HCK have extensive experience in defending criminal cases as they were former assistant prosecutors and/or police officers for a combined total of over 600 years of law enforcement experience. You can find out more about them on our site, and you can call Managing Partner Ron Helmer on his cell phone at 609 685-0665.

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Helmer, Conley & Kasselman, P.A.

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