Once a N.J. Superior Court Judge issues a Domestic Violence Restraining Order, only a Judge can ‘drop’ or agree to lift the protections of that Order. The protected party cannot violate the Order, only the person (we’ll call them the defendant for the time being) can violate the Order. Any violation of the Order will survive the dismissal of the Order and you can be convicted of ‘Criminal Contempt of Court’ for that violation, which can send you to prison for up to 18 months.
The phone rings, and you answer it. The person who called you is the protected person under a N.J. DV Restraining Order. They ask you a question and you answer it. Who goes to jail charged with criminal contempt of Court? You.
You look out your front door and the protected person (PP) is standing in front of your home. You walk outside and they say something to you, to which you make a gesture. Who goes to jail? You.
Only the person (the defendant) who the Order is issued against can violate it. So what do you do if the protected person will not leave you in peace and keeps contacting you? Create a record of the actions of the PP. Keep all messages from them. DO NOT RESPOND! Whether it is voicemails, texts, emails, pictures, letters, packages, or any other items sent to you, keep it and make a record of it. Whether it is them standing outside your house; them following you; or, their family/friends doing this, record it on video and make a record of it. Whether it is posts on Facebook, Instagram or some other social media, take screen shots of it and make a record of it. DO NOT RESPOND!
Once you have the record of it, make copies and give it to your attorney to use as evidence as to why the Order of Protection is not necessary. If the case is pending as a Temporary Restraining Order with a pending hearing as to whether the Court should make the Order a Final Restraining Order (FRO), your attorney can use that evidence to establish that the protections are not necessary based on the actions of the PP. If the Court has already issued an FRO, your attorney can make a Motion for Reconsideration of the Order issued against you, since the PP does not need the Order to protect them since they are willing to come near you, or contact you, to begin with. Alternatively you can ask the Court to issue a DV Restraining Order against the PP, to protect you from their obvious harassment. The most important thing for you to do, is not lose your calm. Instead, build your case against the PP.
#Motion for Reconsideration #FRO #CriminalContempt
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