For most people in New Jersey, the issue of trespassing is largely irrelevant. If you only enter properties where you're invited and stay in hotels or homes that you're permitted to occupy, then the threat of a trespassing charge is largely nonexistent.
For those who have a restraining order pending or in place, though, the issue of trespassing is far more relevant. If you step foot in a home that you once shared with an ex to get your personal items, will you be charged with trespassing? Or will you face other charges for violating a restraining order?
It is important to know how New Jersey treats the issue of trespassing when a restraining order is in play.
How New Jersey Defines Trespassing
NJ Rev Stat § 2C:18-3 (2013) defines trespassing laws in New Jersey. The statute reads:
“A person commits an offense if, knowing that he is not licensed or privileged to do so, he enters or surreptitiously remains in any research facility, structure, or separately secured or occupied portion thereof, or in or upon utility company property.”
Under certain circumstances, the penalty for criminal trespass in New Jersey can rise to the felony level. Possible examples of trespassing include:
- Entering a private residence without permission
- Remaining in a hotel room beyond when you were permitted and after being asked to leave
- Returning to a property that an owner has explicitly told you not to return to
- Remaining in a restaurant or other establishment beyond closing hours
In cases where a restraining order is in place, you may be wondering: If I enter someone's home who has a restraining order against me, will I be charged with criminal trespassing?
How Does Trespassing Apply If You Have a Restraining Order Against You?
First, know that past criminal trespassing charges could be the basis for you to become the subject of a final restraining order (FRO) in New Jersey. Criminal trespass is a predicate act of domestic violence in the Garden State and, therefore, can be the impetus for an FRO against you.
Once you have either a temporary or permanent restraining order against you, it may generally take precedence over the issue of criminal trespassing. So, if you enter a property that a TRO or FRO prohibits you from entering, you may face the consequences for the violation of the restraining order, first and foremost. You could also face charges of criminal trespass, depending on the circumstances of your case.
In either case, you may be looking at felony charges and the life-changing consequences that come with a felony record.
The Consequences of Trespassing and Restraining Order Violations Are Great—Hire an Attorney to Help With Your Legal Case Today
Whether you are charged with criminal trespass, violation of a restraining order, or both, you may be looking at serious legal consequences. Attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm will work to resolve your case in the most favorable manner possible.
Call the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686 or submit your case details online. Attorney Lento and his expert team will answer any additional questions you have about trespassing and restraining orders in New Jersey.