A violation of a restraining order in New Jersey can result in criminal penalties. So, if you are facing allegations of violating this court-issued order, you must not take your situation lightly. You want to know how a criminal defense lawyer can help challenge the charges you are facing and protect your rights. Below are the steps you must take:

Understand what Consequences You Might Face

Under New Jersey law, you can be charged with contempt if you violate a restraining order. Contempt of restraining order that stems from a domestic violence charge can be considered a disorderly person offense or an indictable offense. A disorderly person’s offense can carry penalties of up to six months in jail and a fine of $1, 000. Meanwhile, a fourth-degree indictable offense carries a prison time of up to 18 months and a fine of $10, 000.

Be Aware of Your Court Date

When facing being accused of violating a restraining order, ensure you when you should appear in court. Also, ensure you won’t be late for your court date. If you fail to appear in court on the scheduled date, a judge can issue a warrant of your arrest. This means that you could face extra criminal penalties. 

Take Notes and Collect Evidence

If you think you have been falsely accused of violating a restraining order, you must write down why and share this with your attorney. Also, get any evidence that can prove you did not violate the court order such as related text messages or pictures that show your whereabouts at the related time. Keep this evidence and also share it with your attorney. 

Because of the risks of being charged with contempt, you must consult an attorney immediately if you are facing allegations of violating a restraining order in NJ. By getting in touch with an attorney as soon as possible, you let them work with law enforcement to diffuse the situation. But if you can’t avoid a contempt charge anymore, you must work closely with your lawyer to present strong defenses.

Whether you have violated a restraining order before or not, you must not violate a current restraining order. Violating this order at any time can have serious consequences, which can be especially serious if you have an ongoing contempt case. No matter what your situation is, always rely on the expertise of a criminal defense attorney as they know the ins and outs of this type of case. 

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