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Mr. Tumelty represented Helena Hendricks, who was charged with first degree murder in Atlantic County Superior Court. The defendant faced a number of additional charges, including armed robbery, conspiracy and possession of a handgun for an unlawful purpose. At the conclusion of a jury trial that lasted three weeks, the defendant was found "not guilty" of all charges.

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What Constitutes Violation Of A Restraining Order?

Any once-strong relationship can falter or fail. Sometimes, the most rational parties fiercely argue when love or home and family is at risk.

Physical and/or emotional abuse or domestic violence can result. When this happens, the abused victim needs protection. To accomplish this goal, he or she may ask for a restraining order or an order of protection.

The court may grant a restraining order to prevent a party from performing a specific action to the person who requested the order. He or she may ask the court to specifically prevent the other individual from coming within a certain distance or visiting him or her at home or work:

  • A restraining order granted to restrict an individual’s ability to come into some form of contact with another person (who requested the order) is a full “stay away” order in New Jersey.
  • A temporary restraining order (TRO) may be issued if the parties were involved in a domestic abuse. The TRO elapses after a specified time period. It may become final if the judge believes the situation between the couple is potentially harmful.
  • A no illegal contact order prevents one of the parties from committing or performing a specific illegal act, such as battery or assault, against the party who requested the restraining order. The purpose of a no illegal contact order is to magnify the potential consequences if the individual commits the illegal action. It, therefore, raises the bar on the punishments he or she would receive as an additional deterrent.

The individual violates the restraining order by contacting the party who requested the order—or by performing any of the actions specifically denied to him or her on the order. Unfortunately, many individuals fail to comprehend the full ramifications of receiving a restraining order. They mistakenly assume that the restraining order merely limits their interaction or interpersonal communications with the person who requested it.

This seemingly small mistake can become a legal nightmare of epic proportions.

Under N.J.S.A. 2C:29-9, the violator may be found guilty of criminal contempt if he or she “purposefully” or “knowingly” disobeys the restraining order (issued by a judge, and therefore a judicial order), or if he or she “hinders, obstructs, or impedes” the purposes of the order. If convicted of criminal contempt in New Jersey, he or she faces up to 1-1/2 years in jail and a maximum $25,000 fine. If he or she is convicted a second time for criminal contempt, it’s possible to face more jail time and fines.

The bottom line is that any restraining order issued in New Jersey is serious. If you face the possibility of being charged with the violation of a restraining order in New Jersey, you need a seasoned criminal defense attorney now. Never attempt to represent yourself in court.

John W. Tumelty is a certified criminal trial attorney in New Jersey. As a former prosecutor, he will vigorously work to protect your rights. Contact The Law Offices of John W. Tumelty now to discuss your case at 609-345-3300.


The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney/client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.

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