What Happens if I Unintentionally Violate a Restraining Order?

Posted by Joseph D. Lento | Apr 26, 2024 | 0 Comments

A Pennsylvania man, Robert Ciccone, was arrested in Steuben County after intentionally initiating physical contact with a person who had a restraining order against him. If you have a restraining order against you, you most certainly know that initiating any contact, physical or otherwise, with the individual on the other side of the restraining order is strictly prohibited. You also likely know that the consequences of contacting that person can be severe. But what happens if you make contact with this person unintentionally? What are the implications of violating a restraining order? How can you protect yourself? The Lento Law Firm Family Law Team is here to answer those questions and help you. Call us at 888-535-3686 or contact us online.  

How do Unintentional Restraining Order Violations Happen?  

Depending on where you live in New Jersey and the community you are a part of, the difficulty of complying with a restraining order against you can differ. If you live in Jersey City or Newark, it is less likely you will bump into the individual who has filed the restraining order against you. You might have a more difficult time when you're in Colts Neck or Mount Holly, with populations hovering below 10,000. Regardless of the size of your town, the court will expect you to abide by the restraining order against you and question the validity of an accidental run-in.  

Unfortunately, unintentional violations of restraining orders do happen. The most common example of unintentional violations is unplanned meetings. Many unplanned meetings occur in public places like stores, malls, or restaurants. For example, you may bump into this person while grocery shopping. What makes this violation unintentional is that you had no reason to believe that this person would be shopping at this store at the time they were. The situation is different and considered intentional by the court if you know this person shops at this store frequently and generally at this specific time.   

If you are part of the same family or community, you may unintentionally see this person at events or parties. You should do everything you can to learn if the person will be in attendance and work with others attending the event to ensure everything is clear between your presence and the person with the restraining order against you.  

What Should I do if I Unintentionally See the Person Who Has the Restraining Order Against Me?  

As soon as you see this person, you should leave. Please do not go any closer physically, gesture to them, or say anything; remain silent and leave immediately. Even if the person attempts to engage you, do not respond in any way, shape, or form. So long as you take immediate action to leave and do not engage, the New Jersey court with jurisdiction over the restraining order is much more likely to accept the unintentional violation and choose not to charge you with violating the order. Always remember that you have an obligation to go out of your way to prevent accidental violations. 

What Should I Do if I Have Unintentionally Violated the Restraining Order Against Me? 

If you have unintentionally violated a restraining order against you in New Jersey, retain the Lento Law Firm Team immediately. We will ensure your best defense is put before the court, vigorously arguing the validity of unintentional violation. Call the Lento Law Firm at 888-535-3686 or contact us online 

About the Author

Joseph D. Lento

"I pride myself on having heart and driving hard to get results!" Attorney Joseph D. Lento is a veteran of one of the nation's busiest family courts with nearly 20 years' experience passionately helping families. By day, he worked in the trenches of family court, and at night, he studied the law. He helped countless families while working at family court, and he went on to become an attorney, dedicating his law practice to continuing the work he started years earlier. Mr. Lento's experience both behind the scenes and on the front lines allows him to understand a client's family law matter from all angles, and allows him to find and employ the most effective strategies to get favorable outcomes for any client. Joseph D. Lento is licensed in New Jersey and New York, and is admitted pro hac vice as needed nationwide. In the courtroom and in life, attorney Joseph D. Lento stands up when the bell rings! He does not settle for the easiest outcome, and instead prioritizes his clients' needs and protects their interests.


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Attorney Joseph D. Lento has more than a decade of experience practicing Family Law in New Jersey. If you are having any uncertainties about what the future may hold for you and your family, contact our offices today. Family Law Attorney Joseph Lento will go above and beyond the needs for any client and fight for what is fair.

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