New Jersey – D.S. v. B.C.
In a case from Ocean County, D.S. v. B.C., Docket No. FV-15-82-17, the Superior Court of New Jersey found that violation of a no contact provision in a restraining order is its own independent act of domestic violence.
This means that if you violate a domestic violence restraining order, that violation may be introduced against you at trial.
The D.S. v. B.C. case dealt with a woman (D.S.) and her ex-boyfriend (B.C.). D.S. and B.C. lived together for several years and had no children. During the relationship, there were some violent incidents including B.C.’s punching of a wall, a bed headboard and pushing D.S.
D.S. filed a complaint requesting a restraining order and was granted a temporary restraining order. The temporary restraining order prohibited B.C. from all contact with D.S.
Despite the clear warning of no contact, B.C. sent two texts to D.S. including one stating “Be careful tonight.” After receiving the texts, D.S. went back to court to modify her Complaint to add the two texts. At trial for the final restraining order she testified that she found the text “Be careful tonight” to be a threat.
The court agreed that the text “be careful tonight” could have been reasonably seen by D.S. as a threat. Moreover, the court found that the act of violating the temporary restraining order by sending the text was an independent act of domestic violence, sufficient to satisfy the standard that a predicate act of domestic violence has occurred.
Bottom Line: A survivor of domestic violence should document and report all violations of a temporary restraining order. Even though the offender may not be arrested for the violations, the violations can help a victim of domestic violence build his/her case to petition the court for a final restraining order.