Tag: Temporary Restraining Order or TRO

How to Manage Your Contempt Charges with the Help of an Experienced Criminal Law Attorney

Being charged with contempt of court can significantly impact your life and result in punishments as severe as jail time, a fine, or even a felony conviction on your permanent record.

How to Keep from Being Charged with Contempt of Court in New JerseyAlthough a person can be charged with contempt for inappropriate behavior which delays or disrupts court proceedings, very often a person can be charged with contempt as the result of violating a temporary restraining order (TRO) or final restraining order in simple assault or domestic violence cases. They can also be found in contempt for violating a family law court order related to child support or in problematic divorce cases where equal distribution of assets, property division, or alimony/spousal support agreement are an issue. In other cases, contempt charges may be brought for failing to appear in court or respond to a court summons.

If you or someone you know has been charged with contempt of court in New Jersey, or if you or a loved one is seeking to enforce a court-mandated order against a co-parent for child support, child custody agreement, or failure to honor a marital agreement, it’s best to retain experienced legal representation. No matter how minor the violation may seem, we can help you protect your rights. Our defense attorneys approach agreement resolution with a collaborative and amicable mindset, but will not hesitate to aggressively defend you in court.

At The Bronzino Law Firm, LLC, we have extensive experience protecting our clients’ rights and finding realistic and effective solutions for any legal matter in local Ocean County and Monmouth County communities, including Brick, Spring Lake, Sea Girt, Howell, Wall, Point Pleasant, Toms River and all of Southern New Jersey.

Contact us online or call our office today for a free and confidential consultation regarding your questions and concerns or for any other family law matter.

What Constitutes Contempt of Court in New Jersey?

At its foundation, court contempt of court occurs when someone deliberately violates court order, does something to intentionally prevent a court order from being exercised, acts inappropriately in court, or disrespects the judge while court is in session, or behaves in a disrespectful manner while court is in session.

Even if the contempt violations were unintentional or committed in good faith, and may seem as minor as making contact via text message, a social media post, email, or a phone call, the state may move forward with charging that person with a disorderly persons offense.

What is the Difference Between Civil and Criminal Contempt in New Jersey?

Although there are numerous ways to be found in contempt of court, it is generally differentiated between direct and indirect criminal contempt and civil contempt.

Direct contempt is considered inappropriate behavior (i.e., offensive language or not following court rules or decorum) that occurs in front of the judge, which is dealt with on the spot. Indirect contempt occurs outside the presence of a judge and may involve a lawyer or juror willfully violating a judicial order, such as a “gag order” to not discuss the case or court proceedings outside of court. Proving this type of offense requires the court to rely on third-party testimony.

Civil contempt of court charges, on the other hand, are often brought after the plaintiff files a suit against a defendant for financial damages or injunctive relief from the court. Typically examples are failure to obey a restraining order, pay child support, follow parental visitation orders, or a divorce decree.

Another distinction between civil and criminal contempt of court charges is the constitutional safeguards a person charged with criminal contempt has. Whereas criminal contempt is subjective and must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, civil contempt must be proven by clear and convincing evidence.

What are the Penalties for Contempt in New Jersey?

What are the Penalties for Contempt in New Jersey?The purpose of imposing criminal contempt charges is to punish disobedience and to preserve the court’s authority. Punishment for civil contempt charges are remedial and are designed to benefit the complainant. New Jersey family courts exercise a great deal of discretion when imposing penalties, and more often than not, the person found in contempt is ordered to pay the other’s attorney’s fees.

Depending on the situation, violating a court order can be classified as a disorderly persons offense or a fourth-degree criminal offense, especially if one commits another crime while violating the order. Although the threat of jail is often enough to gain compliance with a court order, the court may impose community service, wage garnishment, fines, drug or alcohol treatment, or loss of driving privileges.

Whether it’s yourself or someone you know, violating a restraining order in New Jersey can be classified as a fourth-degree criminal offense or a disorderly persons offense.

A disorderly persons offense in New Jersey is punishable by:

  • Fine: up to $1000
  • Incarceration: 6 months in the county jail
  • Criminal Record: a conviction will appear on your criminal record

A fourth-degree felony in New Jersey is punishable by:

  • Fine:up to $10,000
  • Incarceration: up to 18 months in New Jersey State Prison
  • Probation: an extensive probationary period
  • Criminal Record: a felony conviction appearing on your criminal record

In family law matters, when one party knowingly refuses or fails to follow a court order it can result in additional stress, confusion, and possibly fear for one’s safety and wellbeing. If the alleged contempt of court violation is significant, you should seek to remedy this immediately.

If you have concerns or questions about a possible contempt of court case, contact an experienced Ocean County family law attorney for advice.

Contact a Brick, NJ Attorney About Your Contempt of Court Case Today

Punishment for a contempt offense can be significant. So whether you failed to appear in court, behaved inappropriately while in court, or unknowingly violated a court order, you will need a skilled Brick, NJ defense attorney to fight your charges.

If you have been charged with contempt in New Jersey or seek to enforce an existing court order, it is imperative that you speak with an experienced criminal defense lawyer, so that you can explore all of your available options. Regardless of how small you think the violation may be, failure to take aggressive action can direly impact your life for years to come.

At The Bronzino Law Firm, LLC, our experienced criminal defense attorneys have extensive experience helping clients in local Ocean County and Monmouth County communities including Seaside Heights, Fort Dix, Keansburg, Howell, Wall, Beachwood, Tinton Falls, and other Jersey Shore communities. Our firm is built on the foundation of strong attorney-client relationships which larger firms simply cannot match.

Please contact us online today or through our Brick, NJ office at (732) 812-3102 for a free and confidential consultation.

Final Order of Protection Attorneys Monmouth and Ocean County NJ

Advising our Family Law clients in Brick, Toms River, Point Pleasant, Spring Lake, Jackson, and Freehold

Final Order of Protection Attorneys Monmouth and Ocean County NJNew Jersey’s state protects domestic violence victims and certain other crime victims with protective orders, commonly known as restraining orders. New Jersey law permits restraining orders as part of the 1982 law known as the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act. A restraining order is a court-ordered document that can prohibit one person from contacting or coming within a certain distance of someone else for a set period.  A final restraining order imposed by a judge can be vacated or revoked but requires a special process.  Otherwise, it could remain in effect for the rest of your life. Violation of a restraining order can be a criminal offense, even when the protected party wants to lift the order and consents to contact. Even in these cases, you could be charged with a criminal offense.  A New Jersey restraining order attorney can help construct and submit your appeal.

What Is the Purpose of a Restraining Order?

In New Jersey, the courts use restraining orders to protect domestic violence victims and sexual assault victims from their abusers or assailants. They can also use restraining orders to prevent contact between the parties, provide spousal or child support, and order temporary child custody. Restraining orders are a necessary protection for victims of violence and sexual assault.

But restraining orders can also have severe consequences for the defendant. If a court orders a final restraining order (FRO), the defendant will be fined $500, fingerprinted, photographed, and placed in a domestic violence registry. New Jersey law also prohibits the defendant from owning or possessing firearms. In some cases, police can remove the defendant from their home. The defendant may lose custody of their children, be ordered to pay spousal and child support, and continue paying a mortgage or rent. If you face a hearing for a restraining order, it’s essential to contact an experienced New Jersey criminal attorney as soon as possible.

Why Should I Appeal a Restraining Order?

Restraining orders can have strict consequences in New Jersey. The court may remove you from the home you share with the plaintiff and prevent you from contacting the plaintiff or any children you share. You could lose custody of your children, and the court could order you to pay spousal and child support. The court could also order you to continue paying the rent or mortgage in a home you do not occupy. Additionally, the court will fine you $500 and order you to be fingerprinted, photographed, and placed in a domestic violence registry.

If you violate a restraining order, it is a criminal offense and considered criminal contempt of a court order. Any allegation of violating a restraining order mandates an arrest.  The violation can be inadvertent or be as small as a text or email to the victim. A second violation will result in a mandatory 30 days in jail. If you face a restraining order hearing, it’s essential to contact an experienced New Jersey criminal attorney as soon as possible.

What Is the Process For an Appeal?

What Is the Process For an Appeal?You cannot appeal a temporary restraining order (TRO). A judge typically enters a TRO without notice to the defendant, and the order is only good until the hearing for the final restraining order (FRO). The hearing for the FRO is typically within ten days of entry of the TRO. At the hearing for the FRO, both parties will have the opportunity to tell their story and present evidence and witnesses to the court.

Once a judge has issued a final restraining order against you, you have a limited time in which to file your appeal. That time to file your appeal is limited to 45 days after its imposition. In the appeal, you will be required to allege that errors made during the trial warrant a reversal of the final restraining order’s imposition.

The error must relate to the facts, evidence, or law to be a valid basis for your appeal. Grounds for reversal may include, but are not necessarily limited to:

  • The judge incorrectly interpreted or applied the law: If the judge misapplied or incorrectly interpreted New Jersey law, that mistake can be grounds for a successful appeal. Judges are required to do their job correctly, and when they do not, you should not be punished for it.
  • The judge misinterpreted the facts: Judges are also expected to correctly analyze and apply the facts of the case to New Jersey law. Judges commonly misremember testimony or flat-out get things wrong. When they do, it could be the basis for a successful appeal of your final restraining order.
  • The judge misapplied the rules of evidence: Specific rules are in force regarding what evidence the court may consider when deciding on the final restraining order. When the court gets it wrong, the final restraining order may not be valid.
  • The judge’s findings were not complete: The opinion the judge sets forth must state in detail the ground for the restraining order, including the prior history of domestic violence, the predicate act, and that a restraining order was necessary to protect the well-being and safety of the plaintiff. Failure to state any or all of these is grounds for the reversal of the final restraining order.

If you are considering filing for divorce or know of someone, all your rights must be protected.  You need someone in your corner to support you doing this difficult time.

Contact a Domestic Violence Lawyer Today to Protect Your Rights

At Bronzino Law Firm,  we successfully represent clients in Brick, Toms River, Point Pleasant, Spring Lake, Jackson, and Freehold. Whether you have yet to decide your next steps fully or are ready to move forward immediately, our knowledgeable team of attorneys is only a phone call away.

Contact our Brick office by calling (732) 812-3102 today for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your individual needs and concerns.

Ways to Safely Exit the Home of an Abusive Marriage Attorney Brick and Sea Girt NJ

Being in a marriage with an abusive spouse is a constant cause of stress and worry.

Getting Out of an Abusive Marriage: Ways to Safely Exit the HomeThe helplessness that can overwhelm an abused partner – whether that abuse is mental, emotional, or physical – can weigh a person down until they feel even more trapped than they already are. Additional worries such as what to do about money if you are financially dependent, or what will happen in a custody proceeding if you have children, can upend even the most practically-minded person. Having a clear head and strategically planning an exit are essential for your family’s safe exit from an abusive marriage. Even in the absence of threats or actuality of physical harm if you attempt to leave, as a manipulation tactic to get you to stay, it is important to be highly cautious and plan every move.

In order to safely leave the shared living space and eventually the marriage, consider using the following supports:

  • Contact a Domestic Violence Hotline – There is a myriad of domestic violence hotlines whose counselors are specifically trained to support your safe transition out of abusive shared living space and ultimately a relationship. They will help you put together a step-by-step plan for your exit that includes invaluable considerations that you may have overlooked, such as what to put in your overnight bag, where to find emergency insurance, what paperwork to travel with, where local lines of support can be found, and what type of shelter to seek when you leave. This process of organizing the exit into a manageable task will immediately ground you.

The New Jersey Domestic Violence Hotline can be reached 24 hours per day at 1-800-572-SAFE (1-800-572-7233).

The National Domestic Violence Hotline can be reached 24 hours per day at 1-800-799-7233.

Things to take into account if suffering from abusive behavior

  • Subtly prepare your children to leave – It is not wise to let your children know that you are all going to be leaving. However, you do want to ensure that they know important information such as how to spell their first and last name, what their address is, and what to do in the case of an emergency. This emergency preparation would include both what to do, such as ‘run to a specific neighbor’s house,’ and who to call, ‘911.’
  • Keep track of instances of abuse – Documented evidence of abuse can be used to convict a partner of a domestic violence charge. While your first priority is to get your family safely out from under the same roof as the abuser, having documentation of their mental, emotional, and physical forms of abuse will support your case later down the road. This paperwork is one of the documents to keep in the overnight bag you have packed and ready to go.
  • Contact a family law attorney to file a restraining order – Having the support of a family law attorney to ensure that you and your children are legally protected from the advancement of your partner during the divorce process is essential. An experienced member of the team will facilitate the process of filing a restraining order with the New Jersey Municipal or Superior Court.

Filing a Restraining OrderFiling a Restraining Order

It is important to have the legal support of a professional during this process because filing for a Temporary Restraining Order with the New Jersey Superior Court Family does not automatically ensure that a Restraining Order will be immediately placed on the abuser unless the plaintiff shows physical injury. As such, for your safety and that of your family, it is important that you seek professional support to ensure that a Restraining Order, either Temporary or Final, is placed from the outset.

  • Stay vigilant about protecting your preparation process – One thing many abusers have in common is that they use threats to manipulate the other person to stay. This often takes the form of the abuser snooping through emails, phones, and computers to find reasons to allege any infidelity to the abusive relationship. Do all of your research regarding the exit from the home on another computer, such as that of a trusted friend or the community library. While it is important to keep your plan as secret as possible, if possible, keep at least one friend or family member abreast of your evolving plans, perhaps even providing them with important documentation in the case of emergency.

Facing an Abusive Marriage? Contact Us At Our Brick Or Sea Girt Office Locations

At Peter J. Bronzino Law Firm, our family law attorneys are experienced in protecting our clients in Brick, Spring Lake, Asbury Park, and all of Eastern New Jersey in all matters of domestic violence and abuse in the home.

Our approach places the safety of our clients at the center, ensuring that they can safely exit an abusive situation and be legally protected throughout the process of separation and divorce, equipped with the resources they need to have mental, emotional, and physical support and safety.

To meet with an experienced member of our firm today regarding your marital abuse, please please contact us online or through our Brick offices at (732) 812-3102.

Filing a Complaint for Domestic Violence Attorneys Brick and Sea Girt NJ

Domestic violence may be physical, sexual, emotional, economic, or psychological actions or threats of actions that are intended to influence another person.

Filing a Complaint for Domestic Violence Attorneys Brick and Sea Girt NJThe United States Department of Justice defines domestic violence, or intimate partner violence, as a pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over another intimate partner or former intimate partner.  Domestic violence may be physical, sexual, emotional, economic, or psychological actions or threats of actions that are intended to influence another person. This includes behaviors that are meant to intimidate, manipulate, humiliate, isolate, frighten, terrorize, coerce, threaten, blame, hurt, injure, or wound.

As a crime, domestic violence can take the form of homicide, assault, terrorist threat, kidnapping, false imprisonment, sexual assault, lewdness, criminal trespass or mischief, harassment, or burglary upon any person who is 18 years old or over, or is an emancipated minor, a former spouse, as well as any other person who is a present or former household member, in addition to a person with whom the victim has a child in common with.

Police have Discretion to Decide on an Arrest

In New Jersey, as with many other states, there are very strict domestic violence laws. As outlined in the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act, if there are any signs of physical injuries, the police are obligated to make an arrest of the alleged abuser. However, even in the absence of independent witnesses and without physical injuries, police have the discretion to decide to arrest the abuser. Furthermore, police must respond to all calls from a victim or from a bystander and are required to give the victim information about their rights and to help them. In addition, the police must write up a report any time they have been called to the scene of an act of domestic violence.

Filing a Domestic Violence Complaint

In the State of New Jersey, a domestic violence complaint may be filed at the family court in the county the victim lives in. After the complaint has been filed, the victim will be interviewed by a probation officer as well as a representative from the battered women’s program. They have the responsibility of explaining the court process and advising the victim about what services are available to them. Then the complaint will be processed and the case heard as soon as possible before a judge/domestic violence hearing officer. Should the judge/domestic violence hearing officer feel the complaint falls within the guidelines of domestic violence, the victim will be provided protection under a Temporary Restraining Order or TRO.  Though the provisions contained in this type of court order are based upon the circumstances and vary from case to case, it is the victim’s responsibility to provide a copy of the TRO to their local police department. After the TRO is issued by the court the case will be scheduled to return to court within 10 days for a final hearing.

Filing a Domestic Violence ComplaintAt the final hearing, the Judge/domestic violence hearing officer will hear relevant testimony from both the victim and the abuser. The court will then decide whether an act of domestic violence occurred and what relief should be granted to the victim. If the court finds that domestic violence actually occurred, a Final Domestic Violence Restraining Order, or FRO, will be issued on behalf of the victim. A copy will be given to both the victim and the abuser. Once again the victim must bring the order to the local police department to ensure that they are aware of it. Provided that both parties obey the terms, there is no time limit on how long a FRO lasts.

Withdrawing a Restraining Order

In cases where the two parties decide to get back together, the victim must return to court and withdraw the restraining order. Through an interview, the court will make sure that the victim is not being forced or coerced to withdraw the FRO. The court can then dismiss the complaint if it is satisfied that it is being withdrawn without fear or threats from the abuser. The victim is responsible for bringing a copy of the dismissal order to their local police department.

Violating a Restraining Order

If the restraining order is violated, it is highly advised that the victim go to the local police department or municipal court and sign a criminal “Contempt of a Restraining Order” complaint. This complaint should state clearly how the order was violated. Armed with this the police can then locate the abuser so that they can be arrested. This case then goes to the family court and the judge, who will hear testimony from both parties and will decide guilt or innocence and order the appropriate sentence or fine.

Being the victim or being accused of domestic violence is no small matter. In either case, it is recommended that you have the counsel of a qualified and experienced domestic violence attorney as soon as possible.

Going through Domestic Violence Issues? Contact Us At Our Brick Or Sea Girt Office Locations

At Peter J. Bronzino Law Firm, our attorneys are experienced in helping both victims and those accused of domestic violence in Brick, Spring Lake, Asbury Park, and all of Eastern New Jersey.

To speak with our firm today in a comprehensive and confidential case assessment regarding your situation, please please contact us online or through our Brick offices at (732) 812-3102.