Contact Our Flemington Office To Discuss Your Hunterdon County Contempt Charge With One Of Our Former Prosecutors & Highly Accomplished Defense Attorneys
A charge for criminal contempt, also referred to as violation of a restraining order, can have severe ramifications at the time of sentencing at the Hunterdon County Superior Court in Flemington. You will be left with a criminal record that can impact your ability to secure employment, obtain a professional license or maintain your immigration status. There is also the real possibility of incarceration. The best strategy for escaping negative consequences such as these is to retain a defense lawyer who is highly skilled in defending a New Jersey restraining order violation.
The lawyers at the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall have decades of experience serving clients charged with contempt in Hunterdon County and around the state. Most of the staff are former prosecutors who have tried many criminal cases including countless matters involving domestic violence restraining orders. We know how to meticulously dismantle restraining order charges like the one you are facing at the courthouse in Flemington. To speak to an attorney about your criminal contempt offense, contact our Flemington Office. Attorneys are available 24/7 at (908) 824-0855.
Pretrial Detention In Hunterdon County Criminal Contempt Cases
NJ bail reform has resulted in a massive change in how criminal contempt and other charges are handled immediately following an arrest. An individual no longer has the absolute right to post bail after processing on a warrant complaint. There is now mandatory pretrial detention. The normal sequence of events is for a defendant to be processed on a warrant at the police department in Clinton Township, Readington, Raritan Township or another local town and then transported to the Hunderton County Jail where they await their appearance before a Superior Court judge in Flemington within 48 hours. If the prosecutor decides to file a motion to detain, something that is common in domestic violence related cases, the accused is automatically held for an additional three days until a detention hearing can be conducted. The result of this hearing dictates whether or not the defendant will be released prior to trial so it is important to retain a savvy criminal attorney as early as possible in a restraining order violation case. Lawyers with considerable experience in this area can intervene in hopes of dissuading the prosecutor from filing a detention motion and also providing thorough representation in the event that a formal hearing is necessary.
How Does the Hunterdon County Prosecutor’s Office Prove A Criminal Contempt Charge?
The offense of criminal contempt for violating a restraining order is set forth at N.J.S.A. 2C:29-9(b)(1) and provides that:
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.
Proving a Fourth Degree Crime for Contempt of a Domestic Violence Restraining Order. The state must prove four things beyond reasonable doubt to convict someone of a fourth degree violation of a restraining order, including that: (1) there was a restraining order in effect; (2) a term of the order was violated by the accused; (3) the conduct was either purposeful or knowing; and (4) the conduct constituted a crime of the first, second, third or fourth degree, or a disorderly persons offense under New Jersey law.
Proving a Disorderly Persons Offense for Criminal Contempt. All of the elements for proving this grade of contempt are the same as a fourth-degree violation except that element (4) is not required.
Are There Some Types Of Conduct That Cannot Result In Criminal Contempt?
Yes. An individual is exempt from being charged with contempt if the conduct involves violation of a provision in an order that concerns parenting time, payment of money or some form of support, undergoing counseling or possession of property.
What Are The Penalties For Violating a Restraining Order?
A conviction for fourth-degree criminal contempt results in up to 18 months in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. A disorderly persons offense for criminal contempt carries up to 6 months in the county jail and a fine of up to $1,000. You should also know that there is a mandatory term of incarceration of 30 days that applies when someone is sentenced on a second or subsequent violation of 2C:29-9(b)(1).
Does Dismissal Of The Restraining Eliminate The Contempt Violation?
In accordance with State v. Sanders,327 N.J.Super. 385 (App.Div.2000), it is irrelevant that the plaintiff subsequently dismisses the restraining order. As long as there was an order that was violated, what happens subsequently is irrelevant to prosecution under 2C:29-2(b)(1).
The attorneys at our firm, the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall, 70 Church St, Flemington, NJ 08822, defend clients accused of violating restraining orders in Hunterdon County, including those arrested in Flemington, East Amwell, Readington, Clinton Township, Raritan Township, Bethlehem, Lebanon, Union Township, Tewksbury, Holland, Lambertville, Stockton, Kingswood and elsewhere.
Hunterdon County Criminal Contempt Defense Attorneys
Although Hunterdon County is a relatively low crime jurisdiction, plenty of individuals are arrested for restraining order violations. All of these charges are litigated at the courthouse in Flemington — less than a mile from our office on Church Street. If you or a loved one has been charged with violating a restraining order (a.k.a. criminal contempt), you should strongly consider calling our Hunterdon County Criminal Defense Firm for a free consultation. We feature a team of accomplished lawyers, most of whom are former prosecutors, that have the knowledge and skill to mount a successful defense to your charge. A lawyer at the firm is available around the clock for free consultations. Call (908) 824-0855 to speak to an attorney now.