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New Jersey Restraining Order Lawyer

Fight Your Restraining Order with the Help of Helmer Legal

Under New Jersey law, there are a number of different reasons why you may have a restraining order entered against you. This includes being accused of domestic violence, as well as being convicted of stalking, sexual assault and other similar types of offenses. If you have been charged with violating a restraining order, it is important to hire an experienced New Jersey restraining order lawyer to defend you.

As the subject of a restraining order, you are bound to strictly comply with the terms of the order. Regardless of what you may personally believe about the validity of the order or the unreasonableness of the restrictions it imposes, you must comply unless and until the order is lifted. Violating a restraining order is a criminal offense under Section 2C:29-9 of the New Jersey Revised Statutes, and a conviction under Section 2C:29-9 can have drastic consequences.

We Handle Cases Involving All Types of Restraining Orders and No-Contact Orders

New Jersey judges can impose various kinds of restraining orders and no-contact orders. Our New Jersey restraining order lawyers defend individuals accused of violating all types of orders, including:

Temporary Restraining Orders (TROs)

Judges issue temporary restraining orders (TROs) early in domestic violence cases—usually when an alleged victim first files a complaint. If a judge determines that the alleged victim faces an imminent risk of domestic violence, he or she will issue a TRO, and the court will send it to the appropriate police precinct for service on the alleged abuser.

When someone accuses you of domestic violence, you generally don’t have a chance to try to prevent a TRO from being issued. Judges issue TROs in ex parte proceedings, which means these proceedings occur without the alleged attacker being present. As a result, until the police serve you with a TRO, you might not know that an order has been entered against you.

Final Restraining Orders (FROs)

Shortly after issuing a TRO, the judge will issue a final restraining order (FRO) if evidence suggests that ongoing protection is necessary. While alleged attackers have the opportunity to be present at FRO hearings, convincing a judge not to issue a protective order can be challenging. Once you receive a final restraining order, you must strictly comply with the terms of the order at all times. If you violate an FRO, you will most likely be charged with a fourth-degree indictable offense—which means you could face up to 18 months of imprisonment plus other penalties.

It is extremely important to avoid having an FRO entered against you. In addition to being subject to conditions such as alcohol, drug, psych, evaluations and treatment, you could be prevented from having any contact with your children, lose your ability to obtain a firearms license (forfeiting your firearms forever), and/or lose your job. You could also be placed on a list that could prevent you from coaching children, as well as face disbarment or suspension from your profession, among many other consequences. There are many defenses to an FRO even if you committed the act of domestic violence that you are accused of doing. A skilled New Jersey restraining order defense attorney can challenge the proof or succeed in preventing an FRO because of legal technicalities. Likewise, a skilled attorney can help the victim of domestic violence obtain an FRO or other form of protection from the accused.

Sexual Assault Restraining Order

The New Jersey Sexual Assault Survivor Protection Act (SASPA) authorizes judges to issue temporary restraining orders in cases involving allegations of sexual violence. To issue a TRO under SASPA, the judge must find that the victim was subject to actual or attempted non consensual sexual contact, sexual penetration or lewdness. Once a judge issues a TRO under SASPA, a hearing on a final restraining order will typically be scheduled within 10 days.

No-Contact Orders

A no-contact order is different from a restraining order, but violations of both types of orders have similar consequences. Judges issue no-contact orders during criminal cases when the victim needs protection from the defendant. Unlike TROs and FROs, no-contact orders are not limited to domestic violence cases. While restraining orders are designed to protect domestic violence victims from further abuse, no-contact orders are meant to ensure defendants do not try to intimidate victims from testifying against them.

Can You Have Your Restraining Order Lifted?

Due to the substantial burdens of complying with a restraining order and the consequences of violating a TRO or FRO, it is important to see if you can have your restraining order lifted. Depending on the circumstances of your case, a New Jersey restraining order lawyer may have these options for seeking to lift your restraining order:

  • Filing an Appeal – Once a judge issues a restraining order against you, you have 45 days to file an appeal. Potential grounds for appealing a restraining order in New Jersey include a mistake of fact, mistake of law, failure to properly consider objections, and failure to adequately specify the grounds for issuing the order.
  • Filing a motion for reconsideration/new trial - Once a judge issues a restraining order against you, you have 20 days to file a motion for reconsideration. Potential grounds for reconsideration of a restraining order in New Jersey include a mistake of fact, mistake of law, failure to properly consider objections, failure to permit evidence, consideration of improperly admitted evidence, failure to grant a postponement, to supplement the record with evidence under certain circumstances, and failure to adequately specify the grounds for issuing the order. Filing this motion may not prevent you from filing a subsequent appeal if the motion is denied and may strengthen the appeal that you file.
  • Filing a Motion to Vacate – Even if a restraining order is valid (and therefore cannot be appealed), it may still be possible to have the order lifted by filing a motion to vacate. This requires evidence that the restraining order is no longer necessary.

Our New Jersey Restraining Order Lawyer Explains What Counts as a Violation

If you have had a restraining order entered against you under the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act or any other New Jersey statute, you must strictly comply with the terms of the order. If you deviate from the terms of your restraining order in any respect, you can be charged with a restraining order violation under Section 2C:29-9.

Restraining orders can prohibit various types of conduct, and the terms of your restraining order will determine whether you are at risk for being convicted of a violation. With that said, some common examples of restraining order violations include:

  • Engaging in acts of violence or domestic violence
  • Being in a location (or within a certain proximity of a location) where you are not allowed to be
  • Harassing the individual who is protected by the order
  • Attempting to contact the person who is protected by the order (including contacting them via text or social media)
  • Possessing a firearm or other weapon

In addition to prohibiting certain conduct, in many cases, restraining orders will impose affirmative obligations as well. If you fail to attend counseling or therapy, fail to provide financial support, or fail to do anything else required by your restraining order, you could potentially be prosecuted for a violation. A permanent restraining order can significantly affect your custody and visitation rights immediately and in the future. Regardless of the specific issue involved, you should consult with a New Jersey restraining order lawyer promptly to protect yourself.

Penalties for Violating a Restraining Order in New Jersey

Depending on the specific circumstances involved, a restraining order violation can be prosecuted as either a disorderly persons offense, a fourth-degree indictable offense or a third-degree indictable offense. Potential penalties include:

  • Third-Degree Indictable Crimes – Three to five years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000.
  • Fourth-Degree Indictable Crimes – Up to 18 months in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
  • Disorderly Persons Offenses – Up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.

Most restraining order violations constitute fourth-degree indictable offenses. A restraining order violation may be prosecuted as a disorderly persons offense if the violation does not involve conduct that itself constitutes a crime (such as failing to attend counseling required pursuant to a domestic violence restraining order). Third-degree charges are possible in cases involving restraining orders entered in relation to stalking convictions under Section 2C:12-10.1 or Section 2C:12-10.2 of the New Jersey Revised Statutes, or pursuant to comparable provisions of other states’ criminal codes.

Defending Against Allegations of Violating a Restraining Order

Due to the potential for severe penalties, if you have been charged with violating a restraining order in New Jersey, it is critical that you hire an experienced defense attorney to protect you. At Helmer, Conley & Kasselman, P.A., our attorneys may be able to protect you by asserting defenses such as:

  • Lack of Purpose or Knowledge – Under Section 2C:29-9, you are only guilty of violating a restraining order if you do so, “purposely or knowingly.” If we can show that you did not purposely violate your restraining order, or that you did not knowingly do so, then we may be able to protect you against a criminal conviction.
  • False Accusations – Just as domestic violence cases often arise from false accusations, alleged restraining order violations may result from false accusations as well.
  • No Violation – If you did not actually violate your restraining order (either because your conduct was not prohibited or you did not engage in the conduct alleged), then you do not deserve to be penalized.
  • Constitutional Protections – If the police violated your constitutional rights (for example, by conducting an unreasonable search or seizure), we may be able to use this to keep key evidence out of your case and prevent a conviction.

Our New Jersey Restraining Order Lawyer Answers Your Top Questions

What should I do if I have been charged with violating a restraining order in New Jersey?

If you have been charged with violating a restraining order, you should speak with a defense lawyer as soon as possible. You are facing fines and jail or prison time, and you need to make sure you do everything possible to protect yourself and preserve your future.

What if I didn’t realize I was violating my restraining order?

While it is a defense to an alleged restraining order violation that you did not knowingly or purposefully violate the order, the prosecution is going to argue that there is no way you didn’t know what your order said. As a result, if you genuinely did not realize you were violating your restraining order, you will need to work with an experienced attorney who can effectively present this defense on your behalf.

What if I have been falsely accused of violating my restraining order?

Unfortunately, false accusations of restraining order violations are common, especially in cases involving domestic violence allegations. If you have been falsely accused, your lawyer can investigate the circumstances involved and determine what evidence is available to disprove your charge. You may even be able to file a restraining order against the person filing the false charges.

How can a New Jersey restraining order lawyer help me if I’m in violation?

Even if you knowingly and purposely violated your restraining order, you could still have several defenses available. To find out what our New Jersey restraining order lawyers can do to protect you, schedule a free initial consultation today.

How Long Does a Final Restraining Order Last?

A final restraining order lasts until one party (i.e., the accuser or the alleged attacker) successfully asks a judge to lift the order. Final restraining orders are indefinite by nature, which means that individuals who are subject to FROs must continuously comply until either (i) the accuser tells the judge the order is no longer needed or (ii) the alleged accuser convinces the judge that the order is no longer needed.

What if I Am Being Accused of Violating My Restraining Order Outside of New Jersey?

Restraining orders issued in New Jersey are enforceable in other states. If your restraining order is valid under New Jersey law, then courts in other states must give it “full faith and credit” under federal law.

What if I Am Being Accused of Violating an Out-of-State Restraining Order in New Jersey?

If you are being accused of violating a restraining order from another state in New Jersey, you can face prosecution in the New Jersey state courts. To protect yourself, you should hire a New Jersey restraining order lawyer right away.

Does Posting about My Ex on Social Media Violate My Restraining Order?

It might. The answer to this question is based on the specific language of your restraining order. Depending on what you post and where you post it, posting online could violate a restraining order issued under the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act or SASPA.

Can I Go to a Wedding or Funeral if I Have a Restraining Order?

If the person you are not allowed to contact will be at the wedding or funeral, then you might not be able to go. Even if you can maintain the physical distance required by your restraining order, you could still risk facing accusations of harassment or other violations. It is best that you speak with a New Jersey restraining order lawyer about your options.

What if I Unexpectedly Ran Into the Person I’m Not Allowed to Contact?

If you unexpectedly ran into the person you aren’t allowed to contact, you shouldn’t be found guilty of a restraining order violation — as long as you did your best to keep your distance and avoid any sort of confrontation. If you are still being accused of violating your restraining order, you will need to work with a New Jersey restraining order lawyer to prove that you did not knowingly or purposefully make contact.

Discuss Your Situation with Our Defense Attorneys in Confidence

To discuss your situation with a trained New Jersey restraining order lawyer, please call 877-435-6371 or contact us online. We will arrange for you to speak with a criminal defense lawyer in confidence as soon as possible. As top defense lawyers, we have offices throughout the state including: Salem, Trenton, Fort Lee, Clark, Millville and more. 

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