Restraining order violations can often send you to jail, force you to pay fines, and lead to stronger restraining orders against you in the future. Following a restraining order perfectly is vital, because even a minor violation or a technical violation can be considered a restraining order violation. But how do you know what exactly constitutes a restraining order violation in your case? The Atlantic City restraining order violation attorneys at the Law Offices of John J. Zarych explain.
What Counts as a Restraining Order Violation in New Jersey?
Restraining orders are specifically crafted to help prevent future violence or harassment, and they are typically based on the specifics of the situation at hand. This means that every restraining order has the potential to be a little bit different to tailor the order to the people, relationships, and issues involved.
The easiest way to understand what exactly constitutes a restraining order violation is to look at the specific text and wording of the restraining order you are under. The judge will formulate the language specifically to stop the behavior the order is intended to stop – but it should not interfere with other behavior that isn’t related to the order.
Generally, the terms of a restraining order are written to be interpreted in a straightforward way. It is rare that there is language that is unclear enough to cause confusion. For instance, orders not to contact the petitioner mean that you can’t call them, can’t text them, can’t write them letters, can’t send Facebook messages, and can’t message them on Instagram – all communications are covered. Similarly, restraining orders that say to stay 500 ft. away from the petitioner’s workplace mean that you can be 500.5 ft. away, but you cannot be 495.5 ft. away from their workplace.
Common Terms of Restraining Orders in New Jersey
Many restraining orders are used to stop stalking, harassment, intimate partner violence, assault, and domestic violence. These restraining orders often use the same sorts of techniques and restrictions to end these issues. While each restraining order is different, the following are common terms used in restraining orders and orders of protection in New Jersey:
- Orders not to communicate with the petitioner
- Orders to stay away from the petitioner’s home, workplace, or school
- Orders to temporarily or permanently move out of a shared home
- Orders not to contact shared children
- Orders modifying custody arrangements
- Orders to turn over guns or firearms
- Orders to seek anger management, drug or alcohol abuse counseling, or other types of counseling
- Orders to pay child or spousal support
- Orders not to commit acts of violence against the petitioner
- Orders not to commit other crimes against the petitioner
If you are unsure as to whether one of these terms applies to you, you can usually check the order to see what it says. If you think that a term was applied by mistake or that it should not apply to your situation, you must still follow that term in the order until a judge modifies the order. Your attorney can often explain why the questionable term is part of your protective order, and they can help you file for modification to get unfair terms removed or modified.
In some situations, there may be unique situations that apply to your case. This means the judge may need to write terms that deviate from these standard terms to apply more fully to your situation. Even if there are parts of your restraining order that are not normal or standard elements of a restraining order, you must still follow those terms.
Avoiding Restraining Order Violations in NJ
If you have a restraining order, but you absolutely need to violate the order, there are often ways to accomplish what you need to get done without violating the restraining order. If you are ever in doubt as to whether your actions will trigger a restraining order violation, talk to our Atlantic City criminal defense lawyers. Your attorney can guide you through issues related to your restraining order, especially if the order stops you from doing something you need to do.
Many people have problems with restraining orders preventing communication when they have shared children or shared homes with the person the order protects. A restraining order that prohibits communication with the petitioner can make it impossible to discuss picking up children or stopping by to get clothes or other items at your house. Restraining orders that put geographical limits on your travel can also be difficult to deal with, especially if you travel for work or live in a small town.
In most cases, the restraining order will account for these issues. In many cases, you are allowed to use a friend or a relative or some other neutral party as a go-between. This person may be permitted to pass messages to the petitioner or to go to your house to pick up clothes for you. In most cases, if there is no procedure set up for this, your attorney can handle the issue for you or petition the court to change the order to allow for these kinds of basic needs.
Call Our Atlantic City Restraining Order Lawyers for a Free Legal Consultation
If you have been stuck with a restraining order that stops you from going to your house, contacting your children, speaking with your significant other, or going about your day, contact a lawyer today. It is vital to talk to a lawyer if you aren’t sure what would constitute a violation in your case. Your lawyer can examine the restraining order and petition the court for modifications and procedures to help deal with these issues while keeping you on the right side of the law. For help with your case, contact our Atlantic City criminal defense lawyers today to set up a free legal consultation. The Law Offices of John J. Zarych can be reached at (609) 616-4956.