Once a TRO is issued in NJ, any contact you have with the protected party is a violation of the Restraining Order and you will be charged with Criminal Contempt of Court. You can be convicted of the contempt and sentenced to up to 18 months in prison even if the TRO is dismissed.
In New Jersey, the dismissal of a domestic violence TRO (Temporary Restraining Order) or FRO (Final Restraining Order) by either the victim/protected party, or the Court, does not impact the ability of the State to prosecute the criminal charge against you.
A New Jersey Domestic Violence RO is issued as a civil action involving the two parties (the victim against the defendant); while a NJ criminal complaint is issued by the State against the defendant. Even if the victim decides to ask the Court to dismiss the TRO prior to the evidentiary hearing, or asks the Court to dismiss an FRO after the Court has issued one, that does not stop the State from prosecuting you for violating the law.
In addition, just because the criminal complaint is dismissed by the prosecutor, that does not clear your criminal record, as the record is created when you are charged, not when or if you are convicted. The proceedings for a DV TRO/FRO and a criminal contempt charge are not handled in the same Court or by the same Judge; and, a ruling by the N.J. Supreme Court precludes a plaintiff or a defendant from linking the dismissal of one type of proceeding to an agreement to dismiss the other type. Since the two proceedings are in different Courts, that requires you to prepare a defense of both actions, before different Judges.
Even where the criminal contempt charges are the result of the defendant responding to a contact by the victim, it is not a defense to criminal contempt that you only contacted them after they contacted you. You are the person who the Order limits from contacting the protected party, so they cannot violate the Order, only you can. If you are charged with a domestic violence related matter, consult with an experienced criminal defense lawyer licensed in the State where the charges or RO are filed BEFORE you make any decisions on how to defend yourself, because you can make things worse…
#domesticviolence #TRO #criminalcontempt
The information contained in this blog post is intended as marketing, not advertising, as is more fully stated in the Disclaimer Page of this blog site. This post is strictly intended for general informational purposes only, and DOES NOT constitute legal advice on any legal matter in N.J. or in any other jurisdiction.
No attorney-client relationship is intended, offered or established by this information, even if it is similar in nature to a situation you are facing. Should you be confronted with a criminal prosecution or investigation, you are strongly advised to consult immediately with an experienced criminal defense lawyer licensed in the State or jurisdiction where the charges are filed, with whom you will have an attorney-client relationship, and can obtain legal advice on how to best handle your issues. This direct consultation should be done before you make any decisions in regards to your legal issue.