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New Jersey Protective Orders Laws

Also known as restraining orders, protective orders are court orders that prohibit a person from getting within a certain distance of another person for a specified period of time. Often, these protective orders are issued to protect a battered spouse or domestic violence victim.

New Jersey protective orders stay in effect until the next court hearing, an example of which is a domestic violence arraignment. At such hearings, these orders may be made permanent, if the court deems it necessary.

Key information about New Jersey's protective orders law is listed in the table below. See Details on State Protective Order Laws to learn more.

Code Section

2C: 25-17, et seq., 2c:29-9

Activity Addressed by Order

Orders of protection address many types of activities. The following are examples of the kinds of activities that orders address:
  • Prohibiting the respondent from making contact with the petitioner
  • Excluding the respondent from the petitioner's dwelling, school, or place of employment
  • Establishing or maintaining visitation rights
  • Establishing or maintaining child support or custody arrangements
  • Requiring the respondent to attend sessions with a therapist or counselor
  • Prohibiting the respondent from possessing or using firearms or other dangerous weapons
  • Ordering that the respondent pays the costs that the petitioner has incurred pursuing the order
  • Directing the respondent not to harm or injure a pet or companion animal
  • Ordering the respondent to yield possession of a pet or companion animal to the petitioner

Duration of Order

A temporary order remains in effect until the next hearing. At the hearing, the temporary order may be made permanent.

Penalty for a Violation of Order

A violation of an order is treated as contempt, which is considered a crime in the 4th degree. If an incident is the second or a subsequent violation, the respondent may face up to 18 months in jail. The minimum amount of time in jail is 30 days, however.

Who May Apply for Order

The following people are examples of those eligible to file for orders:
  • A spouse
  • A former spouse
  • Present or former household members
  • A person victimized by someone with whom they have a child in common
  • A person victimized by someone whom they claim is the father of their child

Can Fees Be Waived?

There are no fees for filing.

Order Transmission to Law Enforcement

A copy is sent to the appropriate chiefs of police, members of state police, and other law enforcement agencies.

Civil Liability for Violation of Order

Contempt of court

Types of Protective Orders

The following are two types of protective orders:

  • Prohibiting contact: some protective orders prohibit contact between people. This is common in cases of domestic violence. An abusive spouse or former spouse may be ordered to stay away from the other spouse or former spouse, or their children, if child abuse is involved.
  • Excluding respondent from a dwelling, school, or place of employment: In some situations, contact may be necessary between an alleged abuser and a victim. In this case, an order may only prohibit the alleged abuser from visiting the victim's home, school, or place of employment. This will give the victim their privacy but may give the opportunity for contact in public spaces.

Duration of Protective Order

Initial protective orders will last until the next court hearing. At the final court hearing, the protective order will be granted for as long a duration as is necessary. In severe circumstances, the protective order may be permanent.

Penalties for Violating a Protective Order

Violating a restraining order can come with many different penalties. Every restraining order violation will put the violator in contempt of court. This is a crime punishable by jail time as well as fines. For a second or subsequent violation of a domestic violence restraining order, the minimum jail time is thirty days. The maximum amount of time in jail is 18 months.

Getting Help

If you would like to know more about protective orders, and if you would like help getting a protective order against someone, there are many attorneys throughout New Jersey with experience in domestic violence laws who may be able to help. In addition to knowing the law surrounding domestic violence, these attorneys may be able to help you take advantage of other services available to domestic violence victims, like temporary housing.

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