Sadly, some New Jersey residents suffer acts of domestic violence at the hands of someone close to them. In that situation, getting a restraining order is appropriate. This is what happens when you have one and what happens if the abuser violates it.
Understanding restraining orders
A restraining order is a document issued by the court to protect someone who has endured domestic violence or abuse. It orders the abuser to stay away from the victim, their home, workplace or school and family members. This includes going near the victim physically as well as digitally as it also applies to harassment online or via phone.
There are two main types of restraining orders: a temporary restraining order (TRO) and final restraining order (FRO). A temporary one can be issued fast and lasts for around 10 days to immediately protect the victim. If the person needs further protection, they can go to court for a hearing to determine if the order should be changed to FRO. A FRO is permanent and requires the abuser to indefinitely stay away from the victim.
Violation of a restraining order
If the abuser violates the restraining order and persists in contacting the victim, the victim can report that to the police. The police will then explore any evidence available to determine whether the order has been violated and then take action. For example, if the abuser and victim have a child together, the court can revoke custody or visitation from the abuser.
Violating a restraining order is also considered criminal contempt. When a final restraining order is violated, it results in a mandatory arrest and charges. Depending on the circumstances and number of violations, this can include several months in county jail or up to 18 months in prison and fines ranging from $1,000 to $10,000.
If you’re facing domestic violence, you don’t have to stay silent. Speaking out and seeking a protective order might save your life.