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Contempt of court remand to the municipal court?

Mount Holly, NJ |

Hi, my friend had to go to Municipal Court, plead guilty of harassment and was fined. The judge ordered him to cease all contact from the "victim". The "victim" contacted him via text message about 2 days later and asked how court was (she didn't go to court, her parents did) and he explained what happened, and how they couldn't talk anymore. That contact was enough to get him arrested for contempt of court. He had a hearing, then it got remanded from the Superior Court to the Municipal Court. I read that the fourth degree crime changes into a disorderly offense if dealt with in Municipal. I don't understand what the charge is anymore. Any help guys?

Attorney Answers 3

Posted

Your friend will be treated fairly in municipal court. It is still serious though so he should speak to an attorney.

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Posted

Your question lacks some important details. I am assuming there is no restraining Order in effect. In New Jersey, a restraining Order is the primary, enforceable way to stop contact between two parties assuming there was a pre-existing family, dating, marriage relationship. Unlike many states once a restraining Order is issued and left unappeased, it lasts forever, unless the protected party requests that the Order be removed. (A violation of same is usually a 4th degree felony). Absent a restraining Order, a court of competent jurisdiction, can, as a condition of bail, order no contact with a victim/witness prior to the case terminating after a trial, dismissal or guilty plea. As part of a felony sex offense, a superior court judge can sentence a defendant to no victim contact. The legislature has legislated in this area (no contact orders) under the DV statute NJS 2C:25-30, and for felony sex offenses only - a no-contact provision that can be made part of a sex offenses NJS 2C:44-8; NJS 2C:45-1; NJS 2C:45-2 (c)(2) - thus the legislature preempted a municipal court from creating its own quasi-restraining Order and contempt proceedings outside of these areas. Moreover, “contempt of a judicial order” is a felony charge thus, a violation of same would have to be prosecuted at the County level, not in a municipal Court. Can a NJ Municipal court Order no-contact - assuming the defendant plead guilty and there is no-probation? Yes. However, is such a provision enforceable? This is subject to question. R. 1:10-1 allows for summary contempt proceedings, however as stated above the municipal court may not have subject matter jurisdiction to create no-contact orders in the first place. However, since your question lacks specifics it is difficult to evaluate the situation. If the victim and the defendant need to contact each other, one or both of you should contact attorney.

Legal disclaimer: This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship and is based only on the limited information provided in the question.

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Posted

There are many fine attorneys in or around Mt. Holly that concentrate on municipal court matters. I recommend that your friend contact such a lawyer for a consultation.

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