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Domestic Violence - Contempt of Order

Domestic Violence - Contempt of Order

A domestic violence matter, which starts in the Family Court, can lead to criminal charges and a criminal record. Criminal contempt charges can be based upon violation of either a temporary restraining order ("TRO") or final restraining order ("FRO").

The law provides:

N.J.S.A. 2C:25-30. Violation of Orders. Except as provided below, a violation by the defendant of an order issued pursuant to this act shall constitute an offense under subsection b. of N.J.S.2C:29-9 and each order shall so state. All contempt proceedings conducted pursuant to N.J.S.2C:29-9 involving domestic violence orders, other than those constituting indictable offenses, shall be heard by the Family Part of the Chancery Division of the Superior Court. All contempt proceedings brought pursuant to P.L.1991, c.261 (C.2C:25-17 et seq.) shall be subject to any rules or guidelines established by the Supreme Court to guarantee the prompt disposition of criminal matters. Additionally, and notwithstanding the term of imprisonment provided in N.J.S.2C:43-8, any person convicted of a second or subsequent nonindictable domestic violence contempt offense shall serve a minimum term of not less than 30 days. Orders entered pursuant to paragraphs (3), (4), (5), (8) and (9) of subsection b. of section 13 of this act [2C:25-29] shall be excluded from enforcement under subsection b. of N.J.S.2C:29-9; however, violations of these orders may be enforced in a civil or criminal action initiated by the plaintiff or by the court, on its own motion, pursuant to applicable court rules.

SOURCE. Adopted. L. 1991, c. 261, §14, effective November 12, 1991. Amended. L. 1994, c. 93, §3, effective August 11, 1994; L. 1994, c. 94, §6, effective August 11, 1994.

N.J.S.A. 2C:29-9. Contempt.

a. A person is guilty of a crime of the fourth degree if he purposely or knowingly disobeys a judicial order or protective order, pursuant to section 1 of P.L.1985, c.250 (C.2C:28-5.1), or hinders, obstructs or impedes the effectuation of a judicial order or the exercise of jurisdiction over any person, thing or controversy by a court, administrative body or investigative entity.

b. Except as provided below, a person is guilty of a crime of the fourth degree if that person purposely or knowingly violates any provision in an order entered under the provisions of the "Prevention of Domestic Violence Act of 1991," P.L.1991, c.261 (C.2C:25-17 et al.) or an order entered under the provisions of a substantially similar statute under the laws of another state or the United States when the conduct which constitutes the violation could also constitute a crime or a disorderly persons offense. In all other cases a person is guilty of a disorderly persons offense if that person knowingly violates an order entered under the provisions of this act or an order entered under the provisions of a substantially similar statute under the laws of another state or the United States. Orders entered pursuant to paragraphs (3), (4), (5), (8) and (9) of subsection b. of section 13 of P.L.1991, c.261 (C.2C:25-29) or substantially similar orders entered under the laws of another state or the United States shall be excluded from the provisions of this subsection.

As used in this subsection, "state" means a state of the United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the United States Virgin Islands, or any territory or insular possession subject to the jurisdiction of the United States. The term includes an Indian tribe or band, or Alaskan native village, which is recognized by a federal law or formally acknowledged by a state.

SOURCE. Adopted. L. 1981, c. 290, §34. Amended. L. 1987, c. 356, §9; L. 1988, c. 28, §3; L. 1991, c. 261, §18, effective November 12, 1991; L. 2005, c. 333, §1, effective January 12, 2006; L. 2008, c. 81, §3, effective September 10, 2008.

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