The Difference Between Restraining Orders and No Contact Orders in New Jersey

A “restraining order,” sometimes called a protective order, and a “no-contact order” sound remarkably similar. Both are designed to keep potentially dangerous individuals away from their victims. However, the circumstances under which the courts issue these orders are quite different as are the rules for following these orders and the penalties for violating them.

Restraining orders are typically issued by family court judges in relation to domestic violence cases, being civil in nature and not necessarily tied to criminal charges. In contrast, no-contact orders are issued in criminal courts specifically related to criminal charges and can be applied in various cases beyond domestic issues. Eligibility for restraining orders requires a domestic relationship or partnership, while no-contact orders can be instituted without any pre-existing relationship, focusing on ensuring the safety of a victim in criminal cases.

Get help from our Atlantic City protective order violation lawyers at the Law Offices of John J. Zarych by dialing (609) 616-4956 for a free case assessment.

How Are Restraining Orders and No Contact Orders Different in New Jersey

One significant difference between a restraining order and a no-contact order is the courts that issue them. A family court judge typically issues a restraining order in relation to domestic violence or abuse cases. Restraining orders are civil in nature and are not necessarily associated with any criminal charges. On the other hand, a no-contact order is issued in a criminal court concerning criminal charges. While a restraining order is typically for a domestic abuse or violence case, a no-contact order can be issued for any kind of case where a victim may need protection, not just domestic issues.

Eligibility for restraining orders is also different than that required for no-contact orders. For a restraining order, the alleged victim must be in some sort of domestic relationship or former partnership with the abuser. They may also be someone who shares a child with the abuser. Most often, they are a spouse or romantic partner who lives with the abuser. If this domestic relationship does not exist, a restraining order will likely not be issued.

For a no-contact order, there does not need to be a domestic relationship between the parties. In fact, there does not have to be any relationship between the parties. A no-contact order may be instituted in any criminal case in which a victim’s safety and security could be threatened. The victim and defendant could be total strangers. Also, the underlying crime for a no-contact order does not have to be domestic.

How Are Restraining Orders and No Contact Orders Similar in New Jersey?

Restraining orders and no-contact orders are somewhat similar in New Jersey because they are both protective in nature. In either circumstance, a victim needs protection from future abuse, violence, or retaliation. Additionally, they tend to be issued under very similar circumstances. While a no-contact order could be issued for potentially any crime, both orders are frequently issued for domestic violence offenses.

Both types of orders also come with criminal penalties for violations. Someone who violates a restraining order or a no-contact order may be held in contempt of court and charged with a fourth-degree crime punishable by up to 18 months in prison. If the conduct which caused the violation is itself a crime, you may be charged with a crime of the third-degree in addition to any new criminal charges. Additionally, you may be held without bail.

Defining a Restraining Order in New Jersey

A restraining order or a protective order is often issued in cases of domestic violence. These may be temporary and only effective for the duration of court proceedings. They may also become more permanent or longer lasting when they are issued as a final order. The terms of the restraining order will depend on the needs of the case and the victim.

These are often issued in domestic violence cases where the victim is an abused spouse or partner. The order is designed to keep the alleged abuser away from the victim until the court proceedings are over. Often, a restraining order is granted at the request of the victim. A hearing will be held to determine if the order is necessary for the victim’s protection and both parties will be permitted to argue for or against the order.

A restraining order can also be made final rather than temporary. A final restraining order will usually happen at the end of court proceedings and is intended to continue protecting the victim after a trial is over. Exactly how long a restraining order will last will be determined by the court.

Defining a No Contact Order in New Jersey?

A no-contact order may be issued against a criminal defendant if their case involves a victim. Not all criminal cases involve a real victim, such as nonviolent drug offenses. However, when there is a victim, especially in cases involving violence, courts can issue no-contact orders. These orders are intended to prevent the defendant from having any contact with the victim for the duration of the trial.

No-contact orders can be imposed at the judge’s will regardless of what the victim wants, although victims can request no-contact orders be imposed. This order aims to ensure the victim’s protection and safety and prevent the defendant from intimidating the victim. It is not uncommon for defendants or their friends to intimidate victims into not showing up for court. A no-contact order prevents any contact with the victim of the crime. Read more from our Hamilton Township restraining order violation lawyers today.

Examples of Circumstances that May Lead to the Issuance of a Restraining Order in New Jersey

There are several reasons why someone may want to file a restraining order. For example, such an order may be issued after any of the following:

Domestic Violence Incidents

One situation where a restraining order may be issued in New Jersey is in a case involving domestic violence. If an individual is a victim of domestic abuse, harassment, or assault, they may seek a restraining order to establish a legally mandated buffer between them and the alleged perpetrator.

Stalking and Harassment

Restraining orders can also be initiated after instances of stalking or harassment. If someone is persistently engaging in unwanted and threatening behavior, causing fear for the safety of another person, a restraining order may be sought as a protective measure.

Child Endangerment

Cases involving child endangerment may prompt the issuance of a restraining order. This can include situations where one parent poses a threat to the safety and well-being of the child, leading the other parent to seek legal protection through a restraining order.

Elder Abuse

Furthermore, restraining orders are not limited to specific age groups and they can be sought to protect against elder abuse. If an elderly individual is facing physical, emotional, or financial abuse, a restraining order can be instrumental in safeguarding their well-being.

Sexual Assault Cases

In the aftermath of a sexual assault, victims may pursue a restraining order against the alleged perpetrator. This serves as a legal mechanism to create a mandated separation, providing a sense of security for the survivor.

Threats of Violence

Lastly, when individuals receive credible threats of violence, either directly or indirectly, they may seek a restraining order to establish a legal barrier, ensuring distance from the person making the threats and mitigating the risk of harm.

Examples of Circumstances that May Lead to the Issuance of a No Contact Order in New Jersey

On the other hand, there are also several types of circumstances that may lead to the issuance of a no contact order. For instance, such an order may be filed after any of the following:

Domestic Disputes

In cases where there are disputes within a domestic setting, a no-contact order may be issued. This legal directive aims to prevent communication between individuals involved in the dispute, promoting a cooling-off period and reducing the potential for further conflict.

Post-Arrest Conditions

After an arrest, especially in cases involving allegations of violence or harassment, a court may issue a no-contact order as a condition of release. This order restricts the accused from contacting the alleged victim while legal proceedings are ongoing.

Protection in Harassment Cases

Harassment incidents that fall short of meeting the criteria for a restraining order may lead to the issuance of a no-contact order. This provides a level of legal protection by prohibiting the accused from initiating any form of contact with the alleged victim.

Interpersonal Conflicts

No contact orders may be issued in various interpersonal conflicts where there is a perceived risk of escalation. This includes situations where individuals are involved in disputes, and the court deems it necessary to impose restrictions on communication to maintain a safe environment.

Witness and Victim Protection

In criminal cases, especially those involving witnesses or victims, the court may issue no-contact orders to ensure the safety and cooperation of these individuals. This serves to prevent any potential interference or intimidation during the legal proceedings.

Preventing Retaliation

In instances where there is a fear of retaliation, the court may issue a no-contact order. This can arise in diverse situations, such as workplace conflicts, neighborhood disputes, or other circumstances where there is a perceived risk of harm because of ongoing communication.

Consequences of Violating Restraining Orders and No Contact Orders in New Jersey

The consequences of violating a restraining order or a no contact order can be severe. For instance, violators may face any of the following:

Civil Consequences

Violating a restraining order or a no-contact order can result in civil consequences, including fines and monetary penalties imposed by the court. These financial repercussions aim to underscore the importance of complying with the court-issued directives.

Criminal Charges

Violating a restraining order is considered a criminal offense, and individuals may face criminal charges. Depending on the jurisdiction, the severity of the violation, and any previous offenses, penalties may include fines, probation, or even imprisonment.

If you are facing criminal charges for violating a restraining order or a no contact order, then it is imperative that you seek help from legal representation immediately. Our protective order violation lawyers are prepared to protect your rights and fight for your interests.

Probationary Measures

Courts may impose probationary measures as a consequence of violating restraining or no-contact orders. This can include strict supervision, mandatory counseling, or other conditions aimed at preventing further violations and promoting rehabilitation.

Extension or Modification of Orders

A court may choose to extend or modify existing restraining or no-contact orders as a consequence of violations. This could result in an extension of the order’s duration or the imposition of additional restrictions on the individual found in violation.

Contempt of Court Charges

Individuals who violate restraining orders may face contempt of court charges. Contempt proceedings can result in additional fines, community service, or other penalties determined by the court.

Custody and Visitation Issues

Violating orders can have significant repercussions in family court, particularly concerning child custody and visitation rights. Courts may reconsider existing arrangements, and individuals found in violation may face limitations or modifications to their parental rights.

Enhanced Penalties for Repeat Offenses

Repeat offenses of violating restraining or no-contact orders often lead to enhanced penalties. Courts may impose more severe consequences for individuals with a history of non-compliance, recognizing the need for stronger measures to ensure order enforcement.

Call Our Law Firm for Help with Restraining Orders and No Contact Orders in New Jersey

Get assistance from our experienced protective order violation lawyers by calling the Law Offices of John J. Zarych at (609) 616-4956.

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