New Jersey Protective Orders Laws

Protective orders, also called "restraining orders" are court orders that prohibit a named individual from getting within a certain distance of another named individual for a specified period of time. Often, protective orders are issued in protection of a battered spouse or domestic violence victim. New Jersey protective orders stay in effect until the next court hearing (such as a domestic violence arraignment, for example), at which point the order may be made permanent if the court deems it necessary.

Key information about New Jersey's protective orders law is listed 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 Enjoin contact; exclude from dwelling, school, employment; regarding minors: visitation, support, custody, counseling: prohibit from possession of a firearm; reimburse petitioner's related expenses
Duration of Order Until next court hearing, at which point it may be made permanent
Penalty for a Violation of Order Contempt: crime in 4th degree. If 2nd or subsequent domestic violation contempt offense: jail minimum 30 days
Who May Apply for Order Any person claiming to be a victim of domestic violence
Can Fees Be Waived? -
Order Transmission to Law Enforcement Copy to appropriate chiefs of police, members of state police, and other law enforcement agencies
Civil Liability for Violation of Order Yes, contempt of court

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 From Dwelling, School, Employment

In some situations, contact may be necessary between an alleged abuser and a victim. In this case, an order preventing 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.

Possessing a Firearm

If there is a strong history of violence between the abuser and victim, and especially if the abuser has threatened the victim's life, the court may prohibit the abuser from owning or possessing a firearm.

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 of 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.

Who May Apply for a Protective Order

Any person who claims to be a victim of domestic violence may apply for a restraining order against their abuser.

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.

Next Steps: Search for a Local Attorney

Contact a qualified attorney.