Although New Jersey has a reputation for being tough on crime, even innocent people can still be subject to harsh legal penalties due to some misunderstanding, disagreement, or a simple mistake. If you've been wrongfully accused of violating a restraining order in New Jersey, it's important to understand your rights and options under the law to avoid any unfair penalties.
Restraining Order Violations Have Drastic Consequences
If you have been charged with violating a restraining order which was entered under either the Prevention of Domestic Violence or any other New Jersey Statute, you can be charged with restraining order violations under General Statutes §2C:29-9 as well as contempt of court. Most restraining order violations are considered fourth-degree indictable offenses, which can carry $10,000.00 in economic fines, 18 months imprisonment, or both.
What Qualifies as a Violation?
Each restraining order is unique, and any sight deviation from the document's orders will constitute a restraining order violation. Some common examples of restraining order violations may include:
- Contacting the protected person(s);
- Possessing a firearm;
- Being located within a certain proximity of the protected person(s); and
- Attempting to contact the protected person through any form of social media, call, text, etc.
Many restraining orders will also carry additional obligations as well such as going to therapy, financial support, etc. Defendants can also be wrongfully charged with violating a restraining order if they are wrongfully charged with failure to adhere to the order's affirmative obligations.
Examples of False Accusations
In some instances, the accuser, such as an ex-spouse or partner, may feel slighted or wronged and lie to the court. This is often the case when the grounds for requesting the restraining order are unfounded, to begin with. While restraining orders are designed to restrict abuse or violence, sometimes they are issued for less honest reasons and simply are used as a retaliatory weapon between two quarreling parties. The accuser may feel jealous or hold some personal vendetta against the accused and may seek a restraining order to harass the accused or to make a public point. The accuser may then carry on with these antics by wrongfully arguing that the accused violated the restraining order in place.
In other instances, the accused may not have even been aware that they had an active restraining order issued against them. Although ignorance of the law is never an excuse for illegal conduct, an attorney can still help to mitigate consequences by arguing that the accused was not properly notified or served with a copy of the restraining order or that there was some other procedural error contained in the restraining order document itself that invalidated its legal effect.
Lastly, in some harassment cases, the accused may not be guilty but nevertheless strike an uncanny resemblance to a harasser, stalker, etc. In this instance, a qualified criminal defense attorney can argue that although the accused and the third party share common characteristics, the restraining order was never intended to restrain the accused.
Hire an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney Today
If you are fighting false allegations for violating a restraining order, an experienced criminal defense attorney can help! Attorney Joseph D. Lento and his entire team at the Lento Law Firm understand that the stakes are high, and your future is at stake. Attorney Lento and his team will take the time to explain your rights and analyze the unique circumstances of your case. Contact us by calling 888-535-3686 or by contacting us online.