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Military & Veteran Lawyer > Blog > Criminal > Restraining Orders Vs. Criminal No Contact Orders: What’s The Difference?

Restraining Orders Vs. Criminal No Contact Orders: What’s The Difference?


Both restraining and criminal no-contact orders generally prohibit certain parties from contacting protected parties. Both types of orders can prohibit individuals from communicating with protected parties either by phone, physically, in writing, by email, through social media, or via text messages. However, as much as these two types of orders seem alike, there are notable differences between them. Generally, the circumstances under which restraining orders can be issued are different from those under which criminal no-contact orders can be issued.

The following section explains more in-depth the difference between restraining orders and criminal no-contact orders in New Jersey.

Difference Between Restraining Orders and Criminal No Contact Orders in New Jersey

In New Jersey, plaintiffs can file for restraining orders regardless of whether criminal charges have been filed against the defendants. Such orders are imposed by a civil court and not criminal court. As long as a plaintiff can show the court that he or she is genuinely at risk of being harmed by a defendant, he or she can get a restraining order even if the defendant in question has not been charged with a crime.

Restraining orders are usually associated with cases where plaintiffs are threatened by domestic violence.  People who feel at risk of domestic violence can petition New Jersey family courts to grant them temporary restraining orders (TRO).  Once a TRO is granted, usually within ten (10) days a hearing for a final restraining order (FRO) takes place. An FRO can be granted even if no criminal charges have been filed against the defendants. An FRO is granted if 1) there is a domestic relationship between the parties; 2) there is a predicate act of domestic violence; and 3) granting and FRO is necessary to prevent further acts of domestic violence.

Conversely, a criminal no-contact order is issued to a defendant who has been charged with a crime. Generally, for a criminal no-contact order to be granted, there has to be an alleged victim who needs protection and an alleged perpetrator who the alleged victim needs to be protected from.  Just as is with a restraining order, when a criminal no-contact order is granted, the alleged perpetrator of a crime is barred from contacting the alleged victim. However, criminal no-contact orders are mostly issued as a bail condition. If an alleged perpetrator violates a criminal no-contact order, his or her bail will most likely be forfeited.

It is crucial to note that criminal no-contact orders are not issued in all criminal cases. Therefore, just because someone filed a criminal complaint against you doesn’t necessarily mean that you will be served with a criminal no-contact order. Judges have the authority to choose which situations warrant the issuance of such orders and which don’t. Additionally, an alleged victim has the right to request the court to cancel a criminal no-contact order.

Contact Citizen Soldier Law for Legal Assistance

The issuance of a restraining order or a criminal no-contact order can be life-changing. Therefore, you must fight to protect your rights with an attorney’s help after getting served with either order. If you need help fighting a criminal no-contact order or restraining order, contact a New Jersey criminal lawyer at Citizen Soldier Law today to schedule a consultation.



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