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Legal Information: New Jersey

Statutes: New Jersey

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Statutes: New Jersey

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

Current with laws effective L.2020, c. 37. Please check to make sure there have been no changes since this time. You will find these and additional statutes online at the New Jersey Legislature website.

Title 2A. Administration of Civil and Criminal Justice

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

Subtitle 1. The Courts

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

Chapter 4A. Family Court

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

Article 2. Code of Juvenile Justice

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

2A:4A-30. Complaints and petitions

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

a. Complaints charging delinquency may be signed by any person who has knowledge of the facts alleged to constitute delinquency or is informed of such facts and believes that they are true. The complaint shall be filed with the clerk of the court and shall set forth:

(1) The name, address, and date of birth of the juvenile;

(2) The name and address of the juvenile’s parents or guardian and, if the juvenile is in custody of some other person, the name and address of the custodian;

(3) The date, time, manner, and place of the acts alleged as the basis of the complaint;

(4) A citation of the law or ordinance allegedly violated by the juvenile; and

(5) The signature of the complainant.

b. Petitions alleging that a juvenile-family crisis exists shall be signed by court intake services pursuant to section 8 of P.L.1982, c. 80 (C. 2A:4A-83). The petition shall be filed with the clerk of the court and shall set forth:

(1) The name, address, and date of birth of the juvenile;

(2) The name and address of the juvenile’s parents or guardian and, if the juvenile is in custody of some other person, the name and address of the custodian;

(3) The date, time, manner, and place of the behavior, conduct, or condition alleged as the basis of the petition; and

(4) The signature of the petitioner.

c. Complaints and petitions shall be in such form as prescribed by the Rules of Court.

Subtitle 6. Specific Civil Actions

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

Chapter 34. Divorce and Nullity of Marriage--Alimony and Maintenance--Care and Custody of Children

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

Article 1. Causes for Nullification and Divorce

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

2A:34-2. Causes for divorce from bond of matrimony

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

Divorce from the bond of matrimony may be adjudged for the following causes heretofore or hereafter arising:

a. Adultery;

b. Willful and continued desertion for the term of 12 or more months, which may be established by satisfactory proof that the parties have ceased to cohabit as man and wife;

c. Extreme cruelty, which is defined as including any physical or mental cruelty which endangers the safety or health of the plaintiff or makes it improper or unreasonable to expect the plaintiff to continue to cohabit with the defendant; provided that no complaint for divorce shall be filed until after 3 months from the date of the last act of cruelty complained of in the complaint, but this provision shall not be held to apply to any counterclaim;

d. Separation, provided that the husband and wife have lived separate and apart in different habitations for a period of at least 18 or more consecutive months and there is no reasonable prospect of reconciliation; provided, further that after the 18-month period there shall be a presumption that there is no reasonable prospect of reconciliation;

e. Voluntarily induced addiction or habituation to any narcotic drug as defined in the New Jersey Controlled Dangerous Substances Act, P.L.1970, c. 226 [FN1] or habitual drunkenness for a period of 12 or more consecutive months subsequent to marriage and next preceding the filing of the complaint;

f. Institutionalization for mental illness for a period of 24 or more consecutive months subsequent to marriage and next preceding the filing of the complaint;

g. Imprisonment of the defendant for 18 or more consecutive months after marriage, provided that where the action is not commenced until after the defendant’s release, the parties have not resumed cohabitation following such imprisonment;

h. Deviant sexual conduct voluntarily performed by the defendant without the consent of the plaintiff;

i. Irreconcilable differences which have caused the breakdown of the marriage for a period of six months and which make it appear that the marriage should be dissolved and that there is no reasonable prospect of reconciliation.

Article 2. Jurisdiction

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

B. How Acquired

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

2A:34-10. Jurisdiction in divorce proceedings, dissolution of a civil union, legal separation from a partner in a civil union couple; service of process; residence requirements

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

Jurisdiction in actions for divorce, either absolute or from bed and board, and in actions for dissolution of a civil union or legal separation from a partner in a civil union couple may be acquired when process is served upon the defendant as prescribed by the rules of the Supreme Court, and

1. When, at the time the cause of action arose, either party was a bona fide resident of this State, and has continued so to be down to the time of the commencement of the action; except that no action for absolute divorce or dissolution of a civil union shall be commenced for any cause other than adultery, unless one of the parties has been for the 1 year next preceding the commencement of the action a bona fide resident of this State; or

2. When, since the cause of action arose, either party has become, and for at least 1 year next preceding the commencement of the action has continued to be, a bona fide resident of this State.

C. Parents' Education Act

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

2A:34-12.3. Mandatory education program established; purpose

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

a. There is hereby established a mandatory education program to be known as the “Parents’ Education Program.”

b. The program shall be designed to assist and advise divorced parents on issues concerning divorce, separation and custody. The program shall be made available twice a month. The program shall be administered by the Administrative Office of the Courts. The Assignment Judge shall appoint appropriate staff to act as a program representative or representatives, as necessary, for each county.

c. The purpose of the program shall be to promote cooperation between the parties and to assist parents in resolving issues which may arise during the divorce or separation process, including, but not limited to:

(1) Understanding the legal process and cost of divorce or separation, including arbitration and mediation;

(2) Understanding the financial responsibilities for the children;

(3) Understanding the interaction between parent and child, the family relationship and any other areas of adjustment and concern during the process of divorce or separation;

(4) Understanding how children react to divorce or separation, how to spot problems, what to tell them about divorce or separation, how to keep communication open and how to answer questions and concerns the children may have about the process;

(5) Understanding how parents can help their children during the divorce or separation, specific strategies, ideas, tools, and resources for assistance;

(6) Understanding how parents can help children after the divorce or separation and how to deal with new family structures and different sets of rules; and

(7) Understanding that cooperation may sometimes be inappropriate in cases of domestic violence.

2A:34-12.5. Parties required to attend the program

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

a. The court shall order every person who has filed an action for divorce, nullity or separate maintenance where the custody, visitation or support of the minor child is an issue to attend the “Parents’ Education Program” established pursuant to section 3 of P.L.1999, c. 111 (C.2A:34-12.3). Each party shall attend separate sessions of the program.

b. Each party shall be required to pay a fee of $25 for registration in the “Parents’ Education Program” which shall be forwarded by the Clerk of the Superior Court for deposit in the “Parents’ Education Program Fund” established pursuant to section 2 of P.L.1999, c. 111 (C.2A:34-12.2).

c. Except as provided in subsections d. and e. of this section, the court shall require all parties who have filed an action for divorce, nullity or separate maintenance where the custody, visitation or support of the minor child is an issue to complete the program prior to entry of judgment. Failure of a party to participate in the program shall be considered as a factor by the court in making any custody and visitation determinations.

d. The court may exempt a party from attending the program, if the court finds good cause for an exemption.

e. The court shall not refer a party to the program if a temporary or final order restraining either party from contact with the other has been issued pursuant to the “Prevention of Domestic Violence Act of 1991,” P.L. 1991, c. 261 (C.2C:25-17 et seq.), or if either party is restrained from contact with the other party, or a child of the other party, under the criminal or civil laws of this or any other state.

Article 6 Alimony and Maintenance

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

Pending any matrimonial action or action for dissolution of a civil union brought in this State or elsewhere, or after judgment of divorce or dissolution or maintenance, whether obtained in this State or elsewhere, the court may make such order as to the alimony or maintenance of the parties, and also as to the care, custody, education and maintenance of the children, or any of them, as the circumstances of the parties and the nature of the case shall render fit, reasonable and just, and require reasonable security for the due observance of such orders, including, but not limited to, the creation of trusts or other security devices, to assure payment of reasonably foreseeable medical and educational expenses. Upon neglect or refusal to give such reasonable security, as shall be required, or upon default in complying with any such order, the court may award and issue process for the immediate sequestration of the personal estate, and the rents and profits of the real estate of the party so charged, and appoint a receiver thereof, and cause such personal estate and the rents and profits of such real estate, or so much thereof as shall be necessary, to be applied toward such alimony and maintenance as to the said court shall from time to time seem reasonable and just; or the performance of the said orders may be enforced by other ways according to the practice of the court. Orders so made may be revised and altered by the court from time to time as circumstances may require.

The court may order one party to pay a retainer on behalf of the other for expert and legal services when the respective financial circumstances of the parties make the award reasonable and just. In considering an application, the court shall review the financial capacity of each party to conduct the litigation and the criteria for award of counsel fees that are then pertinent as set forth by court rule. Whenever any other application is made to a court which includes an application for pendente lite or final award of counsel fees, the court shall determine the appropriate award for counsel fees, if any, at the same time that a decision is rendered on the other issue then before the court and shall consider the factors set forth in the court rule on counsel fees, the financial circumstances of the parties, and the good or bad faith of either party. The court may not order a retainer or counsel fee of a party convicted of an attempt or conspiracy to murder the other party to be paid by the party who was the intended victim of the attempt or conspiracy.

a. In determining the amount to be paid by a parent for support of the child and the period during which the duty of support is owed, the court in those cases not governed by court rule shall consider, but not be limited to, the following factors:

(1) Needs of the child;

(2) Standard of living and economic circumstances of each parent;

(3) All sources of income and assets of each parent;

(4) Earning ability of each parent, including educational background, training, employment skills, work experience, custodial responsibility for children including the cost of providing child care and the length of time and cost of each parent to obtain training or experience for appropriate employment;

(5) Need and capacity of the child for education, including higher education;

(6) Age and health of the child and each parent;

(7) Income, assets and earning ability of the child;

(8) Responsibility of the parents for the court-ordered support of others;

(9) Reasonable debts and liabilities of each child and parent; and

(10) Any other factors the court may deem relevant.

The obligation to pay support for a child who has not been emancipated by the court shall not terminate solely on the basis of the child’s age if the child suffers from a severe mental or physical incapacity that causes the child to be financially dependent on a parent. The obligation to pay support for that child shall continue until the court finds that the child is relieved of the incapacity or is no longer financially dependent on the parent. However, in assessing the financial obligation of the parent, the court shall consider, in addition to the factors enumerated in this section, the child’s eligibility for public benefits and services for people with disabilities and may make such orders, including an order involving the creation of a trust, as are necessary to promote the well-being of the child.

As used in this section “severe mental or physical incapacity” shall not include a child’s abuse of, or addiction to, alcohol or controlled substances.

b. In all actions brought for divorce, dissolution of a civil union, divorce from bed and board, legal separation from a partner in a civil union couple or nullity the court may award one or more of the following types of alimony: permanent alimony; rehabilitative alimony; limited duration alimony or reimbursement alimony to either party. In so doing the court shall consider, but not be limited to, the following factors:

(1) The actual need and ability of the parties to pay;

(2) The duration of the marriage or civil union;

(3) The age, physical and emotional health of the parties;

(4) The standard of living established in the marriage or civil union and the likelihood that each party can maintain a reasonably comparable standard of living;

(5) The earning capacities, educational levels, vocational skills, and employability of the parties;

(6) The length of absence from the job market of the party seeking maintenance;

(7) The parental responsibilities for the children;

(8) The time and expense necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the party seeking maintenance to find appropriate employment, the availability of the training and employment, and the opportunity for future acquisitions of capital assets and income;

(9) The history of the financial or non-financial contributions to the marriage or civil union by each party including contributions to the care and education of the children and interruption of personal careers or educational opportunities;

(10) The equitable distribution of property ordered and any payouts on equitable distribution, directly or indirectly, out of current income, to the extent this consideration is reasonable, just and fair;

(11) The income available to either party through investment of any assets held by that party;

(12) The tax treatment and consequences to both parties of any alimony award, including the designation of all or a portion of the payment as a non-taxable payment; and

(13) Any other factors which the court may deem relevant.

When a share of a retirement benefit is treated as an asset for purposes of equitable distribution, the court shall not consider income generated thereafter by that share for purposes of determining alimony.

c. In any case in which there is a request for an award of permanent alimony, the court shall consider and make specific findings on the evidence about the above factors. If the court determines that an award of permanent alimony is not warranted, the court shall make specific findings on the evidence setting out the reasons therefor. The court shall then consider whether alimony is appropriate for any or all of the following: (1) limited duration; (2) rehabilitative; (3) reimbursement. In so doing, the court shall consider and make specific findings on the evidence about factors set forth above. The court shall not award limited duration alimony as a substitute for permanent alimony in those cases where permanent alimony would otherwise be awarded.

An award of alimony for a limited duration may be modified based either upon changed circumstances, or upon the nonoccurrence of circumstances that the court found would occur at the time of the award. The court may modify the amount of such an award, but shall not modify the length of the term except in unusual circumstances.

In determining the length of the term, the court shall consider the length of time it would reasonably take for the recipient to improve his or her earning capacity to a level where limited duration alimony is no longer appropriate.

d. Rehabilitative alimony shall be awarded based upon a plan in which the payee shows the scope of rehabilitation, the steps to be taken, and the time frame, including a period of employment during which rehabilitation will occur. An award of rehabilitative alimony may be modified based either upon changed circumstances, or upon the nonoccurrence of circumstances that the court found would occur at the time of the rehabilitative award.

This section is not intended to preclude a court from modifying permanent alimony awards based upon the law.

e. Reimbursement alimony may be awarded under circumstances in which one party supported the other through an advanced education, anticipating participation in the fruits of the earning capacity generated by that education.

f. Except as provided in subsection i., nothing in this section shall be construed to limit the court’s authority to award permanent alimony, limited duration alimony, rehabilitative alimony or reimbursement alimony, separately or in any combination, as warranted by the circumstances of the parties and the nature of the case.

g. In all actions for divorce or dissolution other than those where judgment is granted solely on the ground of separation the court may consider also the proofs made in establishing such ground in determining an amount of alimony or maintenance that is fit, reasonable and just. In all actions for divorce, dissolution of civil union, divorce from bed and board, or legal separation from a partner in a civil union couple where judgment is granted on the ground of institutionalization for mental illness the court may consider the possible burden upon the taxpayers of the State as well as the ability of the party to pay in determining an amount of maintenance to be awarded.

h. Except as provided in this subsection, in all actions where a judgment of divorce, dissolution of civil union, divorce from bed and board or legal separation from a partner in a civil union couple is entered the court may make such award or awards to the parties, in addition to alimony and maintenance, to effectuate an equitable distribution of the property, both real and personal, which was legally and beneficially acquired by them or either of them during the marriage or civil union. However, all such property, real, personal or otherwise, legally or beneficially acquired during the marriage or civil union by either party by way of gift, devise, or intestate succession shall not be subject to equitable distribution, except that interspousal gifts or gifts between partners in a civil union couple shall be subject to equitable distribution. The court may not make an award concerning the equitable distribution of property on behalf of a party convicted of an attempt or conspiracy to murder the other party.

i. No person convicted of Murder, N.J.S.2C:11-3; Manslaughter, N.J.S.2C:11-4; Criminal Homicide, N.J.S.2C:11-2; Aggravated Assault, under subsection b. of N.J.S.2C:12-1; or a substantially similar offense under the laws of another jurisdiction, may receive alimony if: (1) the crime results in death or serious bodily injury, as defined in subsection b. of N.J.S.2C:11-1, to a family member of a divorcing party; and (2) the crime was committed after the marriage or civil union. A person convicted of an attempt or conspiracy to commit murder may not receive alimony from the person who was the intended victim of the attempt or conspiracy. Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to limit the authority of the court to deny alimony for other bad acts.

As used in this subsection:

“Family member” means a spouse, child, parent, sibling, aunt, uncle, niece, nephew, first cousin, grandparent, grandchild, father-in-law, mother-in-law, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, stepparent, stepchild, stepbrother, stepsister, half brother, or half sister, whether the individual is related by blood, marriage, or adoption.

2A:34-23. Orders as to alimony or maintenance of parties and care, custody, education, and maintenance of children

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

Pending any matrimonial action or action for dissolution of a civil union brought in this State or elsewhere, or after judgment of divorce or dissolution or maintenance, whether obtained in this State or elsewhere, the court may make such order as to the alimony or maintenance of the parties, and also as to the care, custody, education and maintenance of the children, or any of them, as the circumstances of the parties and the nature of the case shall render fit, reasonable and just, and require reasonable security for the due observance of such orders, including, but not limited to, the creation of trusts or other security devices, to assure payment of reasonably foreseeable medical and educational expenses. Upon neglect or refusal to give such reasonable security, as shall be required, or upon default in complying with any such order, the court may award and issue process for the immediate sequestration of the personal estate, and the rents and profits of the real estate of the party so charged, and appoint a receiver thereof, and cause such personal estate and the rents and profits of such real estate, or so much thereof as shall be necessary, to be applied toward such alimony and maintenance as to the said court shall from time to time seem reasonable and just; or the performance of the said orders may be enforced by other ways according to the practice of the court. Orders so made may be revised and altered by the court from time to time as circumstances may require.

The court may order one party to pay a retainer on behalf of the other for expert and legal services when the respective financial circumstances of the parties make the award reasonable and just. In considering an application, the court shall review the financial capacity of each party to conduct the litigation and the criteria for award of counsel fees that are then pertinent as set forth by court rule. Whenever any other application is made to a court which includes an application for pendente lite or final award of counsel fees, the court shall determine the appropriate award for counsel fees, if any, at the same time that a decision is rendered on the other issue then before the court and shall consider the factors set forth in the court rule on counsel fees, the financial circumstances of the parties, and the good or bad faith of either party. The court may not order a retainer or counsel fee of a party convicted of an attempt or conspiracy to murder the other party to be paid by the party who was the intended victim of the attempt or conspiracy.

a. In determining the amount to be paid by a parent for support of the child and the period during which the duty of support is owed, the court in those cases not governed by court rule shall consider, but not be limited to, the following factors:

(1) Needs of the child;

(2) Standard of living and economic circumstances of each parent;

(3) All sources of income and assets of each parent;

(4) Earning ability of each parent, including educational background, training, employment skills, work experience, custodial responsibility for children including the cost of providing child care and the length of time and cost of each parent to obtain training or experience for appropriate employment;

(5) Need and capacity of the child for education, including higher education;

(6) Age and health of the child and each parent;

(7) Income, assets and earning ability of the child;

(8) Responsibility of the parents for the court-ordered support of others;

(9) Reasonable debts and liabilities of each child and parent; and

(10) Any other factors the court may deem relevant.

The obligation to pay support for a child who has not been emancipated by the court shall not terminate solely on the basis of the child’s age if the child suffers from a severe mental or physical incapacity that causes the child to be financially dependent on a parent. The obligation to pay support for that child shall continue until the court finds that the child is relieved of the incapacity or is no longer financially dependent on the parent. However, in assessing the financial obligation of the parent, the court shall consider, in addition to the factors enumerated in this section, the child’s eligibility for public benefits and services for people with disabilities and may make such orders, including an order involving the creation of a trust, as are necessary to promote the well-being of the child.

As used in this section “severe mental or physical incapacity” shall not include a child’s abuse of, or addiction to, alcohol or controlled substances.

b. In all actions brought for divorce, dissolution of a civil union, divorce from bed and board, legal separation from a partner in a civil union couple or nullity the court may award one or more of the following types of alimony: open durational alimony; rehabilitative alimony; limited duration alimony or reimbursement alimony to either party. In so doing the court shall consider, but not be limited to, the following factors:

(1) The actual need and ability of the parties to pay;

(2) The duration of the marriage or civil union;

(3) The age, physical and emotional health of the parties;

(4) The standard of living established in the marriage or civil union and the likelihood that each party can maintain a reasonably comparable standard of living, with neither party having a greater entitlement to that standard of living than the other;

(5) The earning capacities, educational levels, vocational skills, and employability of the parties;

(6) The length of absence from the job market of the party seeking maintenance;

(7) The parental responsibilities for the children;

(8) The time and expense necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the party seeking maintenance to find appropriate employment, the availability of the training and employment, and the opportunity for future acquisitions of capital assets and income;

(9) The history of the financial or non-financial contributions to the marriage or civil union by each party including contributions to the care and education of the children and interruption of personal careers or educational opportunities;

(10) The equitable distribution of property ordered and any payouts on equitable distribution, directly or indirectly, out of current income, to the extent this consideration is reasonable, just and fair;

(11) The income available to either party through investment of any assets held by that party;

(12) The tax treatment and consequences to both parties of any alimony award, including the designation of all or a portion of the payment as a non-taxable payment;

(13) The nature, amount, and length of pendente lite support paid, if any; and

(14) Any other factors which the court may deem relevant.

In each case where the court is asked to make an award of alimony, the court shall consider and assess evidence with respect to all relevant statutory factors. If the court determines that certain factors are more or less relevant than others, the court shall make specific written findings of fact and conclusions of law on the reasons why the court reached that conclusion. No factor shall be elevated in importance over any other factor unless the court finds otherwise, in which case the court shall make specific written findings of fact and conclusions of law in that regard.

When a share of a retirement benefit is treated as an asset for purposes of equitable distribution, the court shall not consider income generated thereafter by that share for purposes of determining alimony.

c. In any case in which there is a request for an award of alimony, the court shall consider and make specific findings on the evidence about all of the statutory factors set forth in subsection b. of this section .

For any marriage or civil union less than 20 years in duration, the total duration of alimony shall not, except in exceptional circumstances, exceed the length of the marriage or civil union. Determination of the length and amount of alimony shall be made by the court pursuant to consideration of all of the statutory factors set forth in subsection b. of this section. In addition to those factors, the court shall also consider the practical impact of the parties’ need for separate residences and the attendant increase in living expenses on the ability of both parties to maintain a standard of living reasonably comparable to the standard of living established in the marriage or civil union, to which both parties are entitled, with neither party having a greater entitlement thereto.

Exceptional circumstances which may require an adjustment to the duration of alimony include:

(1) The ages of the parties at the time of the marriage or civil union and at the time of the alimony award;

(2) The degree and duration of the dependency of one party on the other party during the marriage or civil union;

(3) Whether a spouse or partner has a chronic illness or unusual health circumstance;

(4) Whether a spouse or partner has given up a career or a career opportunity or otherwise supported the career of the other spouse or partner;

(5) Whether a spouse or partner has received a disproportionate share of equitable distribution;

(6) The impact of the marriage or civil union on either party’s ability to become self-supporting, including but not limited to either party’s responsibility as primary caretaker of a child;

(7) Tax considerations of either party;

(8) Any other factors or circumstances that the court deems equitable, relevant and material.

An award of alimony for a limited duration may be modified based either upon changed circumstances, or upon the nonoccurrence of circumstances that the court found would occur at the time of the award. The court may modify the amount of such an award, but shall not modify the length of the term except in unusual circumstances.

In determining the length of the term, the court shall consider the length of time it would reasonably take for the recipient to improve his or her earning capacity to a level where limited duration alimony is no longer appropriate.

d. Rehabilitative alimony shall be awarded based upon a plan in which the payee shows the scope of rehabilitation, the steps to be taken, and the time frame, including a period of employment during which rehabilitation will occur. An award of rehabilitative alimony may be modified based either upon changed circumstances, or upon the nonoccurrence of circumstances that the court found would occur at the time of the rehabilitative award.

This section is not intended to preclude a court from modifying alimony awards based upon the law.

e. Reimbursement alimony may be awarded under circumstances in which one party supported the other through an advanced education, anticipating participation in the fruits of the earning capacity generated by that education. An award of reimbursement alimony shall not be modified for any reason.

f. Except as provided in subsection i., nothing in this section shall be construed to limit the court’s authority to award open durational alimony, limited duration alimony, rehabilitative alimony or reimbursement alimony, separately or in any combination, as warranted by the circumstances of the parties and the nature of the case.

g. In all actions for divorce or dissolution other than those where judgment is granted solely on the ground of separation the court may consider also the proofs made in establishing such ground in determining an amount of alimony or maintenance that is fit, reasonable and just. In all actions for divorce, dissolution of civil union, divorce from bed and board, or legal separation from a partner in a civil union couple where judgment is granted on the ground of institutionalization for mental illness the court may consider the possible burden upon the taxpayers of the State as well as the ability of the party to pay in determining an amount of maintenance to be awarded.

h. Except as provided in this subsection, in all actions where a judgment of divorce, dissolution of civil union, divorce from bed and board or legal separation from a partner in a civil union couple is entered the court may make such award or awards to the parties, in addition to alimony and maintenance, to effectuate an equitable distribution of the property, both real and personal, which was legally and beneficially acquired by them or either of them during the marriage or civil union. However, all such property, real, personal or otherwise, legally or beneficially acquired during the marriage or civil union by either party by way of gift, devise, or intestate succession shall not be subject to equitable distribution, except that interspousal gifts or gifts between partners in a civil union couple shall be subject to equitable distribution. The court may not make an award concerning the equitable distribution of property on behalf of a party convicted of an attempt or conspiracy to murder the other party.

i. No person convicted of Murder, N.J.S.2C:11-3; Manslaughter, N.J.S.2C:11-4; Criminal Homicide, N.J.S.2C:11-2; Aggravated Assault, under subsection b. of N.J.S.2C:12-1; or a substantially similar offense under the laws of another jurisdiction, may receive alimony if: (1) the crime results in death or serious bodily injury, as defined in subsection b. of N.J.S.2C:11-1, to a family member of a divorcing party; and (2) the crime was committed after the marriage or civil union. A person convicted of an attempt or conspiracy to commit murder may not receive alimony from the person who was the intended victim of the attempt or conspiracy. Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to limit the authority of the court to deny alimony for other bad acts.

As used in this subsection:

“Family member” means a spouse, child, parent, sibling, aunt, uncle, niece, nephew, first cousin, grandparent, grandchild, father-in-law, mother-in-law, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, stepparent, stepchild, stepbrother, stepsister, half brother, or half sister, whether the individual is related by blood, marriage or civil union, or adoption.

j. Alimony may be modified or terminated upon the prospective or actual retirement of the obligor.

(1) There shall be a rebuttable presumption that alimony shall terminate upon the obligor spouse or partner attaining full retirement age, except that any arrearages that have accrued prior to the termination date shall not be vacated or annulled. The court may set a different alimony termination date for good cause shown based on specific written findings of fact and conclusions of law.

The rebuttable presumption may be overcome if, upon consideration of the following factors and for good cause shown, the court determines that alimony should continue:

(a) The ages of the parties at the time of the application for retirement;

(b) The ages of the parties at the time of the marriage or civil union and their ages at the time of entry of the alimony award;

(c) The degree and duration of the economic dependency of the recipient upon the payor during the marriage or civil union;

(d) Whether the recipient has foregone or relinquished or otherwise sacrificed claims, rights or property in exchange for a more substantial or longer alimony award;

(e) The duration or amount of alimony already paid;

(f) The health of the parties at the time of the retirement application;

(g) Assets of the parties at the time of the retirement application;

(h) Whether the recipient has reached full retirement age as defined in this section;

(i) Sources of income, both earned and unearned, of the parties;

(j) The ability of the recipient to have saved adequately for retirement; and

(k) Any other factors that the court may deem relevant.

If the court determines, for good cause shown based on specific written findings of fact and conclusions of law, that the presumption has been overcome, then the court shall apply the alimony factors as set forth in subsection b. of this section to the parties’ current circumstances in order to determine whether modification or termination of alimony is appropriate. If the obligor intends to retire but has not yet retired, the court shall establish the conditions under which the modification or termination of alimony will be effective.

(2) Where the obligor seeks to retire prior to attaining the full retirement age as defined in this section, the obligor shall have the burden of demonstrating by a preponderance of the evidence that the prospective or actual retirement is reasonable and made in good faith. Both the obligor’s application to the court for modification or termination of alimony and the obligee’s response to the application shall be accompanied by current Case Information Statements or other relevant documents as required by the Rules of Court, as well as the Case Information Statements or other documents from the date of entry of the original alimony award and from the date of any subsequent modification.

In order to determine whether the obligor has met the burden of demonstrating that the obligor’s prospective or actual retirement is reasonable and made in good faith, the court shall consider the following factors:

(a) The age and health of the parties at the time of the application;

(b) The obligor’s field of employment and the generally accepted age of retirement for those in that field;

(c) The age when the obligor becomes eligible for retirement at the obligor’s place of employment, including mandatory retirement dates or the dates upon which continued employment would no longer increase retirement benefits;

(d) The obligor’s motives in retiring, including any pressures to retire applied by the obligor’s employer or incentive plans offered by the obligor’s employer;

(e) The reasonable expectations of the parties regarding retirement during the marriage or civil union and at the time of the divorce or dissolution;

(f) The ability of the obligor to maintain support payments following retirement, including whether the obligor will continue to be employed part-time or work reduced hours;

(g) The obligee’s level of financial independence and the financial impact of the obligor’s retirement upon the obligee; and

(h) Any other relevant factors affecting the obligor’s decision to retire and the parties’ respective financial positions.

If the obligor intends to retire but has not yet retired, the court shall establish the conditions under which the modification or termination of alimony will be effective.

(3) When a retirement application is filed in cases in which there is an existing final alimony order or enforceable written agreement established prior to the effective date of this act, the obligor’s reaching full retirement age as defined in this section shall be deemed a good faith retirement age. Upon application by the obligor to modify or terminate alimony, both the obligor’s application to the court for modification or termination of alimony and the obligee’s response to the application shall be accompanied by current Case Information Statements or other relevant documents as required by the Rules of Court, as well as the Case Information Statements or other documents from the date of entry of the original alimony award and from the date of any subsequent modification. In making its determination, the court shall consider the ability of the obligee to have saved adequately for retirement as well as the following factors in order to determine whether the obligor, by a preponderance of the evidence, has demonstrated that modification or termination of alimony is appropriate:

(a) The age and health of the parties at the time of the application;

(b) The obligor’s field of employment and the generally accepted age of retirement for those in that field;

(c) The age when the obligor becomes eligible for retirement at the obligor’s place of employment, including mandatory retirement dates or the dates upon which continued employment would no longer increase retirement benefits;

(d) The obligor’s motives in retiring, including any pressures to retire applied by the obligor’s employer or incentive plans offered by the obligor’s employer;

(e) The reasonable expectations of the parties regarding retirement during the marriage or civil union and at the time of the divorce or dissolution;

(f) The ability of the obligor to maintain support payments following retirement, including whether the obligor will continue to be employed part-time or work reduced hours;

(g) The obligee’s level of financial independence and the financial impact of the obligor’s retirement upon the obligee; and

(h) Any other relevant factors affecting the parties’ respective financial positions.

(4) The assets distributed between the parties at the time of the entry of a final order of divorce or dissolution of a civil union shall not be considered by the court for purposes of determining the obligor’s ability to pay alimony following retirement.

k. When a non-self-employed party seeks modification of alimony, the court shall consider the following factors:

(1) The reasons for any loss of income;

(2) Under circumstances where there has been a loss of employment, the obligor’s documented efforts to obtain replacement employment or to pursue an alternative occupation;

(3) Under circumstances where there has been a loss of employment, whether the obligor is making a good faith effort to find remunerative employment at any level and in any field;

(4) The income of the obligee; the obligee’s circumstances; and the obligee’s reasonable efforts to obtain employment in view of those circumstances and existing opportunities;

(5) The impact of the parties’ health on their ability to obtain employment;

(6) Any severance compensation or award made in connection with any loss of employment;

(7) Any changes in the respective financial circumstances of the parties that have occurred since the date of the order from which modification is sought;

(8) The reasons for any change in either party’s financial circumstances since the date of the order from which modification is sought, including, but not limited to, assessment of the extent to which either party’s financial circumstances at the time of the application are attributable to enhanced earnings or financial benefits received from any source since the date of the order;

(9) Whether a temporary remedy should be fashioned to provide adjustment of the support award from which modification is sought, and the terms of any such adjustment, pending continuing employment investigations by the unemployed spouse or partner; and

(10) Any other factor the court deems relevant to fairly and equitably decide the application.

Under circumstances where the changed circumstances arise from the loss of employment, the length of time a party has been involuntarily unemployed or has had an involuntary reduction in income shall not be the only factor considered by the court when an application is filed by a non-self-employed party to reduce alimony because of involuntary loss of employment. The court shall determine the application based upon all of the enumerated factors, however, no application shall be filed until a party has been unemployed, or has not been able to return to or attain employment at prior income levels, or both, for a period of 90 days. The court shall have discretion to make any relief granted retroactive to the date of the loss of employment or reduction of income.

l. When a self-employed party seeks modification of alimony because of an involuntary reduction in income since the date of the order from which modification is sought, then that party’s application for relief must include an analysis that sets forth the economic and non-economic benefits the party receives from the business, and which compares these economic and non-economic benefits to those that were in existence at the time of the entry of the order.

m. When assessing a temporary remedy, the court may temporarily suspend support, or reduce support on terms; direct that support be paid in some amount from assets pending further proceedings; direct a periodic review; or enter any other order the court finds appropriate to assure fairness and equity to both parties.

n. Alimony may be suspended or terminated if the payee cohabits with another person. Cohabitation involves a mutually supportive, intimate personal relationship in which a couple has undertaken duties and privileges that are commonly associated with marriage or civil union but does not necessarily maintain a single common household.

When assessing whether cohabitation is occurring, the court shall consider the following:

(1) Intertwined finances such as joint bank accounts and other joint holdings or liabilities;

(2) Sharing or joint responsibility for living expenses;

(3) Recognition of the relationship in the couple’s social and family circle;

(4) Living together, the frequency of contact, the duration of the relationship, and other indicia of a mutually supportive intimate personal relationship;

(5) Sharing household chores;

(6) Whether the recipient of alimony has received an enforceable promise of support from another person within the meaning of subsection h. of R.S.25:1-5; and

(7) All other relevant evidence.

In evaluating whether cohabitation is occurring and whether alimony should be suspended or terminated, the court shall also consider the length of the relationship. A court may not find an absence of cohabitation solely on grounds that the couple does not live together on a full-time basis.

As used in this section:

“Full retirement age” shall mean the age at which a person is eligible to receive full retirement for full retirement benefits under section 216 of the federal Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. s.416).

Article 8. Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

2A:34-54. Definitions

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

As used in this act:

“Abandoned” means left without provision for reasonable and necessary care or supervision.

“Child” means an individual who has not attained 18 years of age.

“Child custody determination” means a judgment, decree, or other order of a court providing for the legal custody, physical custody or visitation with respect to a child. The term includes a permanent, temporary, initial and modification order. The term does not include a provision relating to child support or other monetary obligation of an individual.

“Child custody proceeding” means a proceeding in which legal custody, physical custody or visitation with respect to a child is an issue. The term includes a proceeding for divorce, separation, neglect, abuse, dependency, guardianship, paternity, termination of parental rights, and protection from domestic violence, in which the issue may appear. The term does not include a proceeding involving juvenile delinquency, contractual emancipation or enforcement under article 3 of this act. [FN1]

“Commencement” means the filing of the first pleading in a proceeding.

“Court” means an entity authorized under the law of a state to establish, enforce or modify a child custody determination.

“Home state” means the state in which a child lived with a parent or a person acting as a parent for at least six consecutive months immediately before the commencement of a child custody proceeding. In the case of a child less than six months of age, the term means the state in which the child lived from birth with any of the persons mentioned. A period of temporary absence of any of the mentioned persons is part of the period.

“Initial determination” means the first child custody determination concerning a particular child.

“Issuing court” means the court that makes a child custody determination for which enforcement is sought under this act.

“Issuing state” means the state in which a child custody determination is made.

“Modification” means a child custody determination that changes, replaces, supersedes, or is otherwise made after a previous determination concerning the same child, whether or not it is made by the court that made the previous determination.

“Person” means an individual, corporation, business trust, estate, trust, partnership, limited liability company, association, joint venture, government, governmental subdivision, agency, or instrumentality, public corporation or any other legal or commercial entity.

“Person acting as a parent” means a person, other than a parent, who:

a. has physical custody of the child or has had physical custody for a period of six consecutive months, including any temporary absence, within one year immediately before the commencement of a child custody proceeding; and

b. has been awarded legal custody by a court or claims a right to legal custody under the laws of this State.

“Physical custody” means the physical care and supervision of a child.

“State” means a state of the United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the United States Virgin Islands, or any territory or insular possession subject to the jurisdiction of the United States.

“Tribe” means an Indian tribe or band, or Alaskan Native village, which is recognized by federal law or formally acknowledged by a state.

“Warrant” means an order issued by a court authorizing law enforcement officers to take physical custody of a child.

2A:34-56. Application to Indian tribes

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

a. A child custody proceeding that pertains to an Indian child as defined in the Indian Child Welfare Act, 25 U.S.C. 1901 et seq., is not subject to this act to the extent that it is governed by the Indian Child Welfare Act.

b. A court of this State shall treat a tribe as if it were a state of the United States for purposes of articles 1 and 2 of this act. [FN1]

c. A child custody determination made by a tribe under factual circumstances in substantial conformity with the jurisdictional standards of this act shall be recognized and enforced under the provisions of article 3 of this act. [FN2]

2A:34-57. International application of act

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

a. A court of this State shall treat a foreign country as if it were a state of the United States for the purpose of applying articles 1 and 2 of this act [FN1] if the foreign court gives notice and an opportunity to be heard to all parties before making child custody determinations.

b. A child custody determination made in a foreign country under factual circumstances in substantial conformity with the jurisdictional standards of this act shall be recognized and enforced under article 3 of this act. [FN2]

c. A court of this State need not apply this act if the child custody law of a foreign country violates fundamental principles of human rights or does not base custody decisions on evaluation of the best interests of the child.

2A:34-62. Communication between courts

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

a. A court of this State may communicate with a court in another state concerning a proceeding arising under this act.

b. The court may allow the parties to participate in the communication. If the parties are not able to participate in the communication, the parties shall be given the opportunity to present facts and legal arguments before a decision on jurisdiction is made.

c. Communication between courts on schedules, calendars, court records and similar matters may occur without informing the parties. A record need not be made of that communication.

d. Except as provided in subsection c. of this section, a record shall be made of a communication under this section. The parties shall be informed promptly of the communication and granted access to the record.

e. For the purposes of this section, “record” means information that is inscribed on a tangible medium or that which is stored in an electronic or other medium and is retrievable in perceivable form.

2A:34-63. Taking testimony in another state

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

a. In addition to other procedures available to a party, a party to a child custody proceeding may offer testimony of witnesses who are located in another state, including testimony of the parties and the child, by deposition or other means allowable in this State for testimony taken in another state. The court on its own motion may order that the testimony of a person be taken in another state and may prescribe the manner in which and the terms upon which the testimony is taken.

b. A court of this State may permit an individual residing in another state to be deposed or to testify by telephone, audiovisual means or other electronic means before a designated court or at another location in that state. A court of this State shall cooperate with courts of other states in designating an appropriate location for the deposition or testimony.

c. Documentary evidence transmitted from another state to a court of this State by technological means that do not produce an original writing may not be excluded from evidence on an objection based on the means of transmission.

2A:34-65. Initial child custody jurisdiction

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

a. Except as otherwise provided in section 16 of this act [FN1], or section 1 of P.L.2013, c. 7 (C.9:2-12.1) concerning a service member’s absence due to a deployment or service-related treatment as set forth in that section, a court of this State has jurisdiction to make an initial child custody determination only if:

(1) this State is the home state of the child on the date of the commencement of the proceeding, or was the home state of the child within six months before the commencement of the proceeding and the child is absent from this State but a parent or person acting as a parent continues to live in this State;

(2) a court of another state does not have jurisdiction under paragraph (1) of this subsection, or a court of the home state of the child has declined to exercise jurisdiction on the ground that this State is the more appropriate forum under section 19 or 20 of this act [FN2] and:

(a) the child and the child’s parents, or the child and at least one parent or a person acting as a parent have a significant connection with this State other than mere physical presence; and

(b) substantial evidence is available in this State concerning the child’s care, protection, training and personal relationships;

(3) all courts having jurisdiction under paragraph (1) or (2) of this subsection have declined to exercise jurisdiction on the ground that a court of this State is the more appropriate forum to determine the custody of the child under section 19 or 20 of this act; or

(4) no state would have jurisdiction under paragraph (1), (2) or (3) of this subsection.

b. Subsection a. of this section is the exclusive jurisdictional basis for making a child custody determination by a court of this State.

c. Physical presence of, or personal jurisdiction over, a party or a child is neither necessary nor sufficient to make a child custody determination.

d. A court of this State may assume temporary emergency jurisdiction in accordance with section 16 of this act.

2A:34-66. Exclusive, continuing jurisdiction

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

a. Except as otherwise provided in section 16 of this act [FN1], or section 1 of P.L.2013, c. 7 (C.9:2-12.1) concerning a service member’s absence due to a deployment or service-related treatment as set forth in that section, a court of this State that has made a child custody determination consistent with section 13 or 15 of this act [FN2] has exclusive, continuing jurisdiction over the determination until:

(1) a court of this State determines that neither the child, the child and one parent, nor the child and a person acting as a parent have a significant connection with this State and that substantial evidence is no longer available in this State concerning the child’s care, protection, training, and personal relationships; or

(2) a court of this State or a court of another state determines that neither the child, nor a parent, nor any person acting as a parent presently resides in this State.

b. A court of this State which has made a child custody determination and does not have exclusive, continuing jurisdiction under this section may modify that determination only if it has jurisdiction to make an initial determination under section 13 of this act.

2A:34-67. Jurisdiction to modify determination

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

Except as otherwise provided in section 16 of this act, [FN1] a court of this State may not modify a child custody determination made by a court of another state unless a court of this State has jurisdiction to make an initial determination under paragraph (1) or (2) of subsection a. of section 13 of this act [FN2] and:

a. the court of the other state determines it no longer has exclusive, continuing jurisdiction under section 14 of this act [FN3] or that a court of this State would be a more convenient forum under section 19 of this act; [FN4] or

b. a court of this State or a court of the other state determines that the child, the child’s parents, and any person acting as a parent do not presently reside in the other state.

2A:34-68. Temporary emergency jurisdiction

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

a. A court of this State has temporary emergency jurisdiction if the child is present in this State and the child has been abandoned or it is necessary in an emergency to protect the child because the child, or a sibling or parent of the child, is subjected to or threatened with mistreatment or abuse.

b. If there is no previous child custody determination that is entitled to be enforced under this act, and if no child custody proceeding has been commenced in a court of a state having jurisdiction under sections 13 through 15 of this act, [FN1] a child custody determination made under this section remains in effect until an order is obtained from a court of a state having jurisdiction under sections 13 through 15 of this act. If a child custody proceeding has not been or is not commenced in a court of a state having jurisdiction under sections 13 through 15 of this act, a child custody determination made under this section becomes a final determination if:

(1) it so provides; and

(2) this State becomes the home state of the child.

c. If there is a previous child custody determination that is entitled to be enforced under this act, or a child custody proceeding has been commenced in a court of a state having jurisdiction under sections 13 through 15 of this act, any order issued by a court of this State under this section must specify in the order a period of time which the court considers adequate to allow the person seeking an order to obtain an order from the state having jurisdiction under sections 13 through 15 of this act. The order issued in this State remains in effect until an order is obtained from the other state within the period specified or the period expires.

d. A court of this State which has been asked to make a child custody determination under this section, upon being informed that a child custody proceeding has been commenced in, or a child custody determination has been made, by a court of a state having jurisdiction under sections 13 through 15 of this act, shall immediately communicate with the other court. A court of this State which is exercising jurisdiction pursuant to sections 13 through 15 of this act, upon being informed that a child custody proceeding has been commenced in, or a child custody determination has been made by, a court of another state under a statute similar to this section shall immediately communicate with the court of that state to resolve the emergency, protect the safety of the parties and the child, and determine a period for the duration of the temporary order.

2A:34-70. Simultaneous proceedings

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

a. Except as otherwise provided in section 16 of this act, [FN1] a court of this State may not exercise its jurisdiction under this article if at the time of the commencement of the proceeding a proceeding concerning the custody of the child had been commenced in a court of another state having jurisdiction substantially in conformity with this act, unless the proceeding has been terminated or is stayed by the court of the other state because a court of this State is a more convenient forum under section 19 of this act. [FN2]

b. Except as otherwise provided in section 16 of this act, a court of this State, before hearing a child custody proceeding, shall examine the court documents and other information supplied by the parties pursuant to section 21 of this act. [FN3] If the court determines that a child custody proceeding was previously commenced in a court in another state having jurisdiction substantially in accordance with this act, the court of this State shall stay its proceeding and communicate with the court of the other state. If the court of the state having jurisdiction substantially in accordance with this act does not determine that the court of this State is a more appropriate forum, the court of this State shall dismiss the proceeding.

c. In a proceeding to modify a child custody determination, a court of this State shall determine whether a proceeding to enforce the determination has been commenced in another state. If a proceeding to enforce a child custody determination has been commenced in another state, the court may:

(1) stay the proceeding for modification pending the entry of an order of a court of the other state enforcing, staying, denying or dismissing the proceeding for enforcement;

(2) enjoin the parties from continuing with the proceeding for enforcement; or

(3) proceed with the modification under conditions it considers appropriate.

2A:34-71. Inconvenient forum

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

a. A court of this State that has jurisdiction under this act to make a child custody determination may decline to exercise its jurisdiction at any time if it determines that it is an inconvenient forum under the circumstances and that a court of another state is a more appropriate forum. The issue of inconvenient forum may be raised upon the court’s own motion, request of another court or motion of a party.

b. Before determining whether it is an inconvenient forum, a court of this State shall consider whether it is appropriate for a court of another state to exercise jurisdiction. For this purpose, the court shall allow the parties to submit information and shall consider all relevant factors, including:

(1) whether domestic violence has occurred and is likely to continue in the future and which state could best protect the parties and the child;

(2) the length of time the child has resided outside this State;

(3) the distance between the court in this State and the court in the state that would assume jurisdiction;

(4) the relative financial circumstances of the parties;

(5) any agreement of the parties as to which state should assume jurisdiction;

(6) the nature and location of the evidence required to resolve the pending litigation, including the testimony of the child;

(7) the ability of the court of each state to decide the issue expeditiously and the procedures necessary to present the evidence; and

(8) the familiarity of the court of each state with the facts and issues of the pending litigation.

c. If a court of this State determines that it is an inconvenient forum and that a court of another state is a more appropriate forum, it shall stay the proceedings upon condition that a child custody proceeding be promptly commenced in another designated state and may impose any other condition the court considers just and proper.

d. A court of this State may decline to exercise its jurisdiction under this act if a child custody determination is incidental to an action for divorce or another proceeding while still retaining jurisdiction over the divorce or other proceeding.

2A:34-73. Information to be submitted to court

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

a. Unless a party seeks an exception to disclosure of information as provided by subsection e. of this section, each party, in its first pleading or in an attached affidavit, shall give information, if reasonably ascertainable, under oath as to the child’s present address, the places where the child has lived during the last five years, and the names and present addresses of the persons with whom the child has lived during that period. The pleading or affidavit shall state whether the party:

(1) has participated, as a party or witness or in any other capacity, in any other proceeding concerning the custody of or visitation with the child and, if so, identify the court, the case number of the proceeding, and the date of the child custody determination, if any;

(2) knows of any proceeding that could affect the current proceeding, including proceedings for enforcement and proceedings relating to domestic violence, protective orders, termination of parental rights and adoptions and, if so, identify the court and the case number and the nature of the proceeding; and

(3) knows the names and addresses of any person not a party to the proceeding who has physical custody of the child or claims rights of legal custody or physical custody of, or visitation with, the child and, if so, the names and addresses of those persons.

b. If the information required by subsection a. of this section is not furnished, the court, upon its own motion or that of a party, may stay the proceeding until the information is furnished.

c. If the declaration as to any of the items described in subsection a. of this section is in the affirmative, the declarant shall give additional information under oath as required by the court. The court may examine the parties under oath as to details of the information furnished and other matters pertinent to the court’s jurisdiction and the disposition of the case.

d. Each party has a continuing duty to inform the court of any proceeding in this or any other state that could affect the current proceeding.

e. If a party alleges in an affidavit or a pleading under oath that the health, safety, or liberty of a party or child would be put at risk by the disclosure of identifying information, that information shall be sealed and not disclosed to the other party or the public unless the court orders the disclosure to be made after a hearing in which the court takes into consideration the health, safety, or liberty of the party or child and determines that the disclosure is in the interest of justice.

2A:34-74. Appearance of parties and child

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

a. In a child custody proceeding in this State, the court may order a party to a child custody proceeding who is in this State to appear before the court in person with or without the child. The court may order any person who is in this State and who has physical custody or control of the child to appear physically with the child.

b. If a party to a child custody proceeding whose presence is desired by the court is outside this state, the court may order that a notice given pursuant to section 8 of this act [FN1] include a statement directing the party to appear personally with or without the child and declaring that failure to appear may result in a decision adverse to the party.

c. The court may enter any orders necessary to ensure the safety of the child and of any person ordered to appear under this section.

d. If a party to a child custody proceeding who is outside this state is directed to appear under subsection b. of this section or desires to appear personally before the court with or without the child, the court may require another party to pay reasonable and necessary travel and other expenses of the party so appearing and of the child.

2A:34-75. Definitions

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

As used in this article:

“Petitioner” means a person who seeks enforcement of a child custody determination or enforcement of an order for the return of the child under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.

“Respondent” means a person against whom a proceeding has been commenced for enforcement of a child custody determination or enforcement of an order for return of a child under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.

2A:34-76. Enforcement under Hague Convention

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

Under this article, a court of this State may enforce an order for the return of a child made under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction as if it were a child custody determination.

2A:34-77. Duty to enforce

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

a. A court of this State shall recognize and enforce a child custody determination of a court of another state if the latter court exercised jurisdiction in substantial conformity with this act or the determination was made under factual circumstances meeting the jurisdictional standards of this act and the determination has not been modified in accordance with this act.

b. A court of this State may utilize any remedy available under other law of this State to enforce a child custody determination made by a court of another state. The remedies provided in this article are cumulative and do not affect the availability of other remedies to enforce a child custody determination.

2A:34-79. Registration of child custody determination

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

a. A child custody determination issued by a court of another state may be registered in this State, with or without a simultaneous request for enforcement, by sending to the Superior Court in this State:

(1) a letter or other document requesting registration;

(2) two copies, including one certified copy, of the determination sought to be registered, and a statement under penalty of perjury that to the best of the knowledge and belief of the person seeking registration the order has not been modified; and

(3) except as otherwise provided in section 21 of this act, [FN1] the name and address of the person seeking registration and any parent or person acting as a parent who has been awarded custody or visitation in the child custody determination sought to be registered.

b. On receipt of the documents required by subsection a. of this section, the registering court shall:

(1) cause the determination to be filed as a foreign judgment, together with one copy of any accompanying documents and information, regardless of their form; and

(2) serve notice upon the persons named pursuant to paragraph (3) of subsection a. of this section and provide them with an opportunity to contest the registration in accordance with this section.

c. The notice required by paragraph (2) of subsection b. of this section shall state that:

(1) a registered determination is enforceable as of the date of the registration in the same manner as a determination issued by a court of this State;

(2) a hearing to contest the validity of the registered determination shall be requested within 20 days after service of notice; and

(3) failure to contest the registration will result in confirmation of the child custody determination and preclude further contest of that determination with respect to any matter that could have been asserted.

d. A person seeking to contest the validity of a registered order shall request a hearing within 20 days after service of the notice. At that hearing, the court shall confirm the registered order unless the person contesting registration establishes that:

(1) the issuing court did not have jurisdiction under article 2 of this act; [FN2]

(2) the child custody determination sought to be registered has been vacated, stayed, or modified by a court of a state having jurisdiction to do so under article 2 of this act; or

(3) the person contesting registration was entitled to notice, but notice was not given in accordance with the standards of section 8 of this act in the proceedings before the court that issued the order for which registration is sought.

e. If a timely request for a hearing to contest the validity of the registration is not made, the registration is confirmed as a matter of law and the person requesting registration and all persons served must be notified of the confirmation.

f. Confirmation of a registered order, whether by operation of law or after notice and hearing, precludes further contest of the order with respect to any matter which could have been asserted at the time of registration.

2A:34-78. Temporary visitation

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

a. A court of this State which does not have jurisdiction to modify a child custody determination may issue a temporary order enforcing:

(1) a visitation schedule made by a court of another state; or

(2) the visitation provisions of a child custody determination of another state that does not provide for a specific visitation schedule.

b. If a court of this State makes an order under paragraph (2) of subsection a. of this section, it shall specify in the order a period that it considers adequate to allow the petitioner to obtain an order from a court having jurisdiction under the criteria specified in article 2 of this act. [FN1] The order remains in effect until an order is obtained from the other court or the period expires.

2A:34-80. Enforcement of registered determination

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

a. A court of this State may grant any relief normally available under the law of this State to enforce a registered child custody determination made by a court of another state.

b. A court of this State shall recognize and enforce, but may not modify, except in accordance with article 2 of this act, [FN1] a registered child custody determination of another state.

2A:34-81. Simultaneous proceedings

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

If a proceeding for enforcement under this article has been or is commenced in a court of this State and the court determines that a proceeding to modify the determination is pending in a court of another state having jurisdiction to modify the determination under article 2 of this act, [FN1] the enforcing court shall immediately communicate with the modifying court. The proceeding for enforcement continues unless the enforcing court, after consultation with the modifying court, stays or dismisses the proceeding.

2A:34-82. Expedited enforcement of child custody determination

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

a. A petition under this article shall be verified. Certified copies of all orders sought to be enforced and of the order confirming registration, if any, shall be attached to the petition. A copy of a certified copy of an order may be attached instead of the original.

b. A petition for enforcement of a child custody determination shall state:

(1) whether the court that issued the determination identified the jurisdictional basis it relied upon in exercising jurisdiction and, if so, what the basis was;

(2) whether the determination for which enforcement is sought has been vacated, stayed, or modified by a court whose decision must be enforced under this act and, if so, identify the court, the case number, and the nature of the proceeding;

(3) whether any proceeding has been commenced that could affect the current proceeding, including proceedings relating to domestic violence, protective orders, termination of parental rights, and adoptions and, if so, identify the court and the case number and the nature of the proceeding;

(4) the present physical address of the child and the respondent, if known; and

(5) whether relief in addition to the immediate physical custody of the child and attorney’s fees is sought, including a request for assistance from law enforcement officials and, if so, the relief sought: and

(6) if the child custody determination has been registered and confirmed under section 27 of this act, [FN1] the date and place of registration.

c. Upon the filing of a petition, the court shall issue an order directing the respondent to appear in person with or without the child at a hearing and may enter any orders necessary to ensure the safety of the parties and the child. The hearing shall be held on the next judicial day following service of process unless that date is impossible. In that event, the court shall hold the hearing on the first day possible. The court may extend the date of hearing at the request of the petitioner.

d. An order issued under subsection c. of this section shall state the time and place of the hearing and advise the respondent that at the hearing the court will order that the petitioner may take immediate physical custody of the child and the payment of fees, costs, and expenses under section 34 of this act, [FN2] and may schedule a hearing to determine whether further relief is appropriate, unless the respondent appears and establishes that:

(1) the child custody determination has not been registered and confirmed under section 27 of this act, and that

(a) the issuing court did not have jurisdiction under article 2 of this act; [FN3]

(b) the child custody determination for which enforcement is sought has been vacated, stayed, or modified by a court of a state having jurisdiction to do so under article 2 of this act; or

(c) the respondent was entitled to notice, but notice was not given in accordance with the standards of section 8 [FN4] in the proceedings before the court that issued the order for which enforcement is sought; or

(2) the child custody determination for which enforcement is sought was registered and confirmed under section 27 of this act, but has been vacated, stayed or modified by a court of a state having jurisdiction to do so under article 2 of this act or federal law.

2A:34-85. Warrant to take physical custody of child

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

a. Upon the filing of a petition seeking enforcement of a child custody determination, the petitioner may file a verified application for the issuance of a warrant to take physical custody of the child if the child is likely to suffer serious imminent physical harm or removal from this State.

b. If the court, upon the testimony of the petitioner or other witness, finds that the child is likely to suffer serious imminent physical harm or be imminently removed from this State, it may issue a warrant to take physical custody of the child. The petition shall be heard on the next judicial day after the warrant is executed. The warrant shall include the statements required by subsection b. of section 30 of this act. [FN1]

c. A warrant to take physical custody of a child shall:

(1) recite the facts upon which a conclusion of serious imminent physical harm or removal from the jurisdiction is based;

(2) direct law enforcement officers to take physical custody of the child immediately;

(3) provide for the placement of the child pending final relief.

d. The respondent shall be served with the petition, warrant and order immediately after the child is taken into physical custody.

e. A warrant to take physical custody of a child is enforceable throughout this State. If the court finds on the basis of the testimony of the petitioner or other witness that a less intrusive remedy is not effective, it may authorize law enforcement officers to enter private property to take physical custody of the child. If required by the exigency of the case, the court may authorize law enforcement officers to make a forcible entry at any hour.

f. The court may impose conditions upon placement of a child to ensure the appearance of the child and the child’s custodian. After the issuance of any temporary or permanent order determining custody or visitation of a minor child, a law enforcement officer having reasonable cause to believe that a person is likely to flee the State with the child or otherwise by flight or concealment evade the jurisdiction of the courts of this State may take a child into protective custody and return the child to the parent having lawful custody, or to a court in which a custody hearing concerning the child is pending.

g. After the issuance of any temporary or permanent order determining custody or visitation of a minor child, a law enforcement officer having reasonable cause to believe that a person is likely to flee the State with the child or otherwise by flight or concealment evade the jurisdiction of the courts of this State may take a child into protective custody and deliver the child to a court in which a custody hearing concerning the child is pending.

Chapter 58D. Reproduction or Disclosure of Images or Personal Information

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

2A:58D-1. Invasion of privacy, liability, civil action; damages, costs

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

a. An actor who, in violation of section 1 of P.L.2003, c.206 (C.2C:14-9), photographs, films, videotapes, records, or otherwise reproduces in any manner, the image of another person who is engaged in an act of sexual penetration or sexual contact, the exposed intimate parts of another person, or the undergarment-clad intimate parts of another person shall be liable to that person, who may bring a civil action in the Superior Court.

b. An actor who, in violation of section 1 of P.L.2003, c.206 (C.2C:14-9), discloses any photograph, film, videotape, recording or any other reproduction of the image of another person who is engaged in an act of sexual penetration or sexual contact, the exposed intimate parts of another person, or the undergarment-clad intimate parts of another person shall be liable to that person, who may bring a civil action in the Superior Court. For purposes of this section: (1) “disclose” means sell, manufacture, give, provide, lend, trade, mail, deliver, transfer, publish, distribute, circulate, disseminate, present, exhibit, advertise, offer, share, or make available via the Internet or by any other means, whether for pecuniary gain or not; and (2) “intimate parts” has the meaning ascribed to it in N.J.S.2C:14-1.

c. The court may award:

(1) actual damages, but not less than liquidated damages computed at the rate of $1,000 for each violation of this act;

(2) punitive damages upon proof of willful or reckless disregard of the law;

(3) reasonable attorney’s fees and other litigation costs reasonably incurred; and

(4) such other preliminary and equitable relief as the court determines to be appropriate.

A conviction of a violation of section 1 of P.L.2003, c.206 (C.2C:14-9) shall not be a prerequisite for a civil action brought pursuant to this section.

Title 2C. The New Jersey Code of Criminal Justice

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

Subtitle 1. General Provisions

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

Chapter 1. Preliminary

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

2C:1-4. Classes of offenses

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

a. An offense defined by this code or by any other statute of this State, for which a sentence of imprisonment in excess of 6 months is authorized, constitutes a crime within the meaning of the Constitution of this State. Crimes are designated in this code as being of the first, second, third or fourth degree.
b. An offense is a disorderly persons offense if it is so designated in this code or in a statute other than this code. An offense is a petty disorderly persons offense if it is so designated in this code or in a statute other than this code. Disorderly persons offenses and petty disorderly persons offenses are petty offenses and are not crimes within the meaning of the Constitution of this State. There shall be no right to indictment by a grand jury nor any right to trial by jury on such offenses. Conviction of such offenses shall not give rise to any disability or legal disadvantage based on conviction of a crime.
c. An offense defined by any statute of this State other than this code shall be classified as provided in this section or in section 2C:43-1 and, except as provided in section 2C:1-5b and chapter 43, the sentence that may be imposed upon conviction thereof shall hereafter be governed by this code. Insofar as any provision outside the code declares an offense to be a misdemeanor when such offense specifically provides a maximum penalty of 6 months’ imprisonment or less, whether or not in combination with a fine, such provision shall constitute a disorderly persons offense.
d. Subject to the provisions of section 2C:43-1, reference in any statute, rule, or regulation outside the code to the term “high misdemeanor” shall mean crimes of the first, second, or third degree and reference to the term “misdemeanor” shall mean all crimes.

Subtitle 2. Definition of Specific Offenses

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

Part 1. Offenses Involving Danger to the Person

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

Chapter 11. Criminal Homicide

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

2C:11-2. Criminal homicide

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

a. A person is guilty of criminal homicide if he purposely, knowingly, recklessly or, under the circumstances set forth in N.J.S.2C:11-5 or section 1 of P.L.2017, c. 165(C.2C:11-5.3), causes the death of another human being.
b. Criminal homicide is murder, manslaughter or death by auto or vessel.

Chapter 12. Assault; Reckless Endangering; Threats

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

2C:12-1. Assault

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

Assault. a. Simple assault. A person is guilty of assault if the person:

(1) Attempts to cause or purposely, knowingly or recklessly causes bodily injury to another; or

(2) Negligently causes bodily injury to another with a deadly weapon; or

(3) Attempts by physical menace to put another in fear of imminent serious bodily injury.

Simple assault is a disorderly persons offense unless committed in a fight or scuffle entered into by mutual consent, in which case it is a petty disorderly persons offense.

b. Aggravated assault. A person is guilty of aggravated assault if the person:

(1) Attempts to cause serious bodily injury to another, or causes injury purposely or knowingly or under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life recklessly causes such injury; or

(2) Attempts to cause or purposely or knowingly causes bodily injury to another with a deadly weapon; or

(3) Recklessly causes bodily injury to another with a deadly weapon; or

(4) Knowingly under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life points a firearm, as defined in subsection f. of N.J.S.2C:39-1, at or in the direction of another, whether or not the actor believes it to be loaded; or

(5) Commits a simple assault as defined in paragraph (1), (2), or (3) of subsection a. of this section upon:

(a) Any law enforcement officer acting in the performance of the officer’s duties while in uniform or exhibiting evidence of authority or because of the officer’s status as a law enforcement officer; or

(b) Any paid or volunteer firefighter acting in the performance of the firefighter’s duties while in uniform or otherwise clearly identifiable as being engaged in the performance of the duties of a firefighter; or

(c) Any person engaged in emergency first-aid or medical services acting in the performance of the person’s duties while in uniform or otherwise clearly identifiable as being engaged in the performance of emergency first-aid or medical services; or

(d) Any school board member, school administrator, teacher, school bus driver, or other employee of a public or nonpublic school or school board while clearly identifiable as being engaged in the performance of the person’s duties or because of the person’s status as a member or employee of a public or nonpublic school or school board or any school bus driver employed by an operator under contract to a public or nonpublic school or school board while clearly identifiable as being engaged in the performance of the person’s duties or because of the person’s status as a school bus driver; or

(e) Any employee of the Division of Child Protection and Permanency while clearly identifiable as being engaged in the performance of the employee’s duties or because of the status as an employee of the division; or

(f) Any justice of the Supreme Court, judge of the Superior Court, judge of the Tax Court or municipal judge while clearly identifiable as being engaged in the performance of judicial duties or because of the status as a member of the judiciary; or

(g) Any operator of a motorbus or the operator’s supervisor or any employee of a rail passenger service while clearly identifiable as being engaged in the performance of the person’s duties or because of the status as an operator of a motorbus or as the operator’s supervisor or as an employee of a rail passenger service; or

(h) Any Department of Corrections employee, county correctional police officer, juvenile correctional police officer, State juvenile facility employee, juvenile detention staff member, juvenile detention officer, probation officer or any sheriff, undersheriff, or sheriff’s officer acting in the performance of the person’s duties while in uniform or exhibiting evidence of the person’s authority or because of the status as a Department of Corrections employee, county correctional police officer, juvenile correctional police officer, State juvenile facility employee, juvenile detention staff member, juvenile detention officer, probation officer, sheriff, undersheriff, or sheriff’s officer; or

(i) Any employee, including any person employed under contract, of a utility company as defined in section 2 of P.L.1971, c. 224 (C.2A:42-86) or a cable television company subject to the provisions of the “Cable Television Act,” P.L.1972, c. 186 (C.48:5A-1 et seq.) while clearly identifiable as being engaged in the performance of the employee’sduties in regard to connecting, disconnecting, or repairing or attempting to connect, disconnect, or repair any gas, electric, or water utility, or cable television or telecommunication service; or

(j) Any health care worker employed by a licensed health care facility to provide direct patient care, any health care professional licensed or otherwise authorized pursuant to Title 26 or Title 45 of the Revised Statutes to practice a health care profession, except a direct care worker at a State or county psychiatric hospital or State developmental center or veterans’ memorial home, while clearly identifiable as being engaged in the duties of providing direct patient care or practicing the health care profession; or

(k) Any direct care worker at a State or county psychiatric hospital or State developmental center or veterans’ memorial home, while clearly identifiable as being engaged in the duties of providing direct patient care or practicing the health care profession, provided that the actor is not a patient or resident at the facility who is classified by the facility as having a mental illness or developmental disability; or

(6) Causes bodily injury to another person while fleeing or attempting to elude a law enforcement officer in violation of subsection b. of N.J.S.2C:29-2 or while operating a motor vehicle in violation of subsection c. of N.J.S.2C:20-10. Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, a person shall be strictly liable for a violation of this paragraph upon proof of a violation of subsection b. of N.J.S.2C:29-2 or while operating a motor vehicle in violation of subsection c. of N.J.S.2C:20-10 which resulted in bodily injury to another person; or

(7) Attempts to cause significant bodily injury to another or causes significant bodily injury purposely or knowingly or, under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life recklessly causes such significant bodily injury; or

(8) Causes bodily injury by knowingly or purposely starting a fire or causing an explosion in violation of N.J.S.2C:17-1 which results in bodily injury to any emergency services personnel involved in fire suppression activities, rendering emergency medical services resulting from the fire or explosion or rescue operations, or rendering any necessary assistance at the scene of the fire or explosion, including any bodily injury sustained while responding to the scene of a reported fire or explosion. For purposes of this paragraph, “emergency services personnel” shall include, but not be limited to, any paid or volunteer firefighter, any person engaged in emergency first-aid or medical services and any law enforcement officer. Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, a person shall be strictly liable for a violation of this paragraph upon proof of a violation of N.J.S.2C:17-1 which resulted in bodily injury to any emergency services personnel; or

(9) Knowingly, under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life, points or displays a firearm, as defined in subsection f. of N.J.S.2C:39-1, at or in the direction of a law enforcement officer; or

(10) Knowingly points, displays or uses an imitation firearm, as defined in subsection v. of N.J.S.2C:39-1, at or in the direction of a law enforcement officer with the purpose to intimidate, threaten, or attempt to put the officer in fear of bodily injury or for any unlawful purpose; or

(11) Uses or activates a laser sighting system or device, or a system or device which, in the manner used, would cause a reasonable person to believe that it is a laser sighting system or device, against a law enforcement officer acting in the performance of the officer’s duties while in uniform or exhibiting evidence of the officer’s authority. As used in this paragraph, “laser sighting system or device” means any system or device that is integrated with or affixed to a firearm and emits a laser light beam that is used to assist in the sight alignment or aiming of the firearm; or

(12) Attempts to cause significant bodily injury or causes significant bodily injury purposely or knowingly or, under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life, recklessly causes significant bodily injury to a person who, with respect to the actor, meets the definition of a victim of domestic violence, as defined in subsection d. of section 3 of P.L.1991, c. 261 (C.2C:25-19); or

(13) Knowingly or, under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life, recklessly obstructs the breathing or blood circulation of a person who, with respect to the actor, meets the definition of a victim of domestic violence, as defined in subsection d. of section 3 of P.L.1991, c. 261 (C.2C:25-19), by applying pressure on the throat or neck or blocking the nose or mouth of such person, thereby causing or attempting to cause bodily injury.

Aggravated assault under paragraphs (1) and (6) of subsection b. of this section is a crime of the second degree; under paragraphs (2), (7), (9), and (10) of subsection b. of this section is a crime of the third degree; under paragraphs (3) and (4) of subsection b. of this section is a crime of the fourth degree; and under paragraph (5) of subsection b. of this section is a crime of the third degree if the victim suffers bodily injury, otherwise it is a crime of the fourth degree. Aggravated assault under paragraph (8) of subsection b. of this section is a crime of the third degree if the victim suffers bodily injury; if the victim suffers significant bodily injury or serious bodily injury it is a crime of the second degree. Aggravated assault under paragraph (11) of subsection b. of this section is a crime of the third degree. Aggravated assault under paragraph (12) or (13) of subsection b. of this section is a crime of the third degree but the presumption of non-imprisonment set forth in subsection e. of N.J.S.2C:44-1 for a first offense of a crime of the third degree shall not apply.

c. (1) A person is guilty of assault by auto or vessel when the person drives a vehicle or vessel recklessly and causes either serious bodily injury or bodily injury to another. Assault by auto or vessel is a crime of the fourth degree if serious bodily injury results and is a disorderly persons offense if bodily injury results. Proof that the defendant was operating a hand-held wireless telephone while driving a motor vehicle in violation of section 1 of P.L.2003, c. 310(C.39:4-97.3) may give rise to an inference that the defendant was driving recklessly.

(2) Assault by auto or vessel is a crime of the third degree if the person drives the vehicle while in violation of R.S.39:4-50 or section 2 of P.L.1981, c. 512 (C.39:4-50.4a) and serious bodily injury results and is a crime of the fourth degree if the person drives the vehicle while in violation of R.S.39:4-50 or section 2 of P.L.1981, c. 512 (C.39:4-50.4a) and bodily injury results.

(3) Assault by auto or vessel is a crime of the second degree if serious bodily injury results from the defendant operating the auto or vessel while in violation of R.S.39:4-50 or section 2 of P.L.1981, c. 512 (C.39:4-50.4a) while:

(a) on any school property used for school purposes which is owned by or leased to any elementary or secondary school or school board, or within 1,000 feet of such school property;

(b) driving through a school crossing as defined in R.S.39:1-1 if the municipality, by ordinance or resolution, has designated the school crossing as such; or

(c) driving through a school crossing as defined in R.S.39:1-1 knowing that juveniles are present if the municipality has not designated the school crossing as such by ordinance or resolution.

Assault by auto or vessel is a crime of the third degree if bodily injury results from the defendant operating the auto or vessel in violation of this paragraph.

A map or true copy of a map depicting the location and boundaries of the area on or within 1,000 feet of any property used for school purposes which is owned by or leased to any elementary or secondary school or school board produced pursuant to section 1 of P.L.1987, c. 101 (C.2C:35-7) may be used in a prosecution under subparagraph (a) of paragraph (3) of this subsection.

It shall be no defense to a prosecution for a violation of subparagraph (a) or (b) of paragraph (3) of this subsection that the defendant was unaware that the prohibited conduct took place while on or within 1,000 feet of any school property or while driving through a school crossing. Nor shall it be a defense to a prosecution under subparagraph (a) or (b) of paragraph (3) of this subsection that no juveniles were present on the school property or crossing zone at the time of the offense or that the school was not in session.

(4) Assault by auto or vessel is a crime of the third degree if the person purposely drives a vehicle in an aggressive manner directed at another vehicle and serious bodily injury results and is a crime of the fourth degree if the person purposely drives a vehicle in an aggressive manner directed at another vehicle and bodily injury results. For purposes of this paragraph, “driving a vehicle in an aggressive manner” shall include, but is not limited to, unexpectedly altering the speed of the vehicle, making improper or erratic traffic lane changes, disregarding traffic control devices, failing to yield the right of way, or following another vehicle too closely.

As used in this subsection, “vessel” means a means of conveyance for travel on water and propelled otherwise than by muscular power.

d. A person who is employed by a facility as defined in section 2 of P.L.1977, c. 239 (C.52:27G-2) who commits a simple assault as defined in paragraph (1) or (2) of subsection a. of this section upon an institutionalized elderly person as defined in section 2 of P.L.1977, c. 239 (C.52:27G-2) is guilty of a crime of the fourth degree.

e. (Deleted by amendment, P.L.2001, c. 443).f. A person who commits a simple assault as defined in paragraph (1), (2), or (3) of subsection a. of this section in the presence of a child under 16 years of age at a school or community sponsored youth sports event is guilty of a crime of the fourth degree. The defendant shall be strictly liable upon proof that the offense occurred, in fact, in the presence of a child under 16 years of age. It shall not be a defense that the defendant did not know that the child was present or reasonably believed that the child was 16 years of age or older. The provisions of this subsection shall not be construed to create any liability on the part of a participant in a youth sports event or to abrogate any immunity or defense available to a participant in a youth sports event. As used in this act, “school or community sponsored youth sports event” means a competition, practice, or instructional event involving one or more interscholastic sports teams or youth sports teams organized pursuant to a nonprofit or similar charter or which are member teams in a youth league organized by or affiliated with a county or municipal recreation department and shall not include collegiate, semi-professional or professional sporting events.

2C:12-10. Stalking

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

a. As used in this act:

(1) “Course of conduct” means repeatedly maintaining a visual or physical proximity to a person; directly, indirectly, or through third parties, by any action, method, device, or means, following, monitoring, observing, surveilling, threatening, or communicating to or about, a person, or interfering with a person’s property; repeatedly committing harassment against a person; or repeatedly conveying, or causing to be conveyed, verbal or written threats or threats conveyed by any other means of communication or threats implied by conduct or a combination thereof directed at or toward a person.

(2) “Repeatedly” means on two or more occasions.

(3) “Emotional distress” means significant mental suffering or distress.

(4) “Cause a reasonable person to fear” means to cause fear which a reasonable victim, similarly situated, would have under the circumstances.

b. A person is guilty of stalking, a crime of the fourth degree, if he purposefully or knowingly engages in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for his safety or the safety of a third person or suffer other emotional distress.

c. A person is guilty of a crime of the third degree if he commits the crime of stalking in violation of an existing court order prohibiting the behavior.

d. A person who commits a second or subsequent offense of stalking against the same victim is guilty of a crime of the third degree.

e. A person is guilty of a crime of the third degree if he commits the crime of stalking while serving a term of imprisonment or while on parole or probation as the result of a conviction for any indictable offense under the laws of this State, any other state or the United States.

f. This act shall not apply to conduct which occurs during organized group picketing.

2C:12-10.1. Stalking conviction to operate as application for permanent restraining order; hearing; dissolution of order; notice; violations

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

a. A judgment of conviction for stalking shall operate as an application for a permanent restraining order limiting the contact of the defendant and the victim who was stalked.

b. A hearing shall be held on the application for a permanent restraining order at the time of the verdict or plea of guilty unless the victim requests otherwise. This hearing shall be in Superior Court. A permanent restraining order may grant the following specific relief:

(1) An order restraining the defendant from entering the residence, property, school, or place of employment of the victim and requiring the defendant to stay away from any specified place that is named in the order and is frequented regularly by the victim.

(2) An order restraining the defendant from making contact with the victim, including an order forbidding the defendant from personally or through an agent initiating any communication likely to cause annoyance or alarm including, but not limited to, personal, written, or telephone contact with the victim, the victim’s employers, employees, or fellow workers, or others with whom communication would be likely to cause annoyance or alarm to the victim.

c. The permanent restraining order entered by the court subsequent to a conviction for stalking as provided in this act may be dissolved upon the application of the stalking victim to the court which granted the order.

d. Notice of permanent restraining orders issued pursuant to this act shall be sent by the clerk of the court or other person designated by the court to the appropriate chiefs of police, members of the State Police and any other appropriate law enforcement agency or court.

e. Any permanent restraining order issued pursuant to this act shall be in effect throughout the State, and shall be enforced by all law enforcement officers.

f. A violation by the defendant of an order issued pursuant to this act shall constitute an offense under subsection a. of N.J.S.2C:29-9 and each order shall so state. Violations of these orders may be enforced in a civil or criminal action initiated by the stalking victim or by the court, on its own motion, pursuant to applicable court rules. Nothing in this act shall preclude the filing of a criminal complaint for stalking based on the same act which is the basis for the violation of the permanent restraining order.

2C:12-10.2. Stalking of children and persons with mental defect; restraining order

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

a. In any case involving an allegation of stalking where the victim is a child under the age of 18 years or is developmentally disabled as defined in section 3 of P.L.1977, c. 200 (C.5:5-44.4) or where the victim is 18 years of age or older and has a mental disease or defect which renders the victim temporarily or permanently incapable of understanding the nature of his conduct, including, but not limited to, being incapable of providing consent, the court may issue a temporary restraining order against the defendant which limits the contact of the defendant and the victim.

b. The provisions of subsection a. of this section are in addition to, and not in lieu of, the provisions of section 3 of P.L.1996, c. 39 (C.2C:12-10.1) which provide that a judgment of conviction for stalking shall operate as an application for a permanent restraining order limiting the contact of the defendant and the victim.

c. The parent or guardian of the child or the person described in subsection a. of this section may file a complaint with the Superior Court in conformity with the rules of court seeking a temporary restraining order against a person alleged to have committed stalking against the child or the person described in subsection a. of this section. The parent or guardian may seek emergency, ex parte relief. A decision shall be made by the judge regarding the emergency relief forthwith. If it appears that the child or the person described in subsection a. of this section is in danger of being stalked by the defendant, the judge shall issue a temporary restraining order pursuant to subsection e. of this section.

d. A conviction of stalking shall not be a prerequisite for the grant of a temporary restraining order under this act.

e. A temporary restraining order issued under this act shall limit the contact of the defendant and the child or the person described in subsection a. of this section who was stalked and in addition may grant all other relief specified in section 3 of P.L.1996, c. 39 (C.2C:12-10.1).

f. A hearing shall be held in the Superior Court within 10 days of the issuance of any temporary restraining order which was issued on an emergency, ex parte basis. A copy of the complaint shall be served on the defendant in conformity with the rules of court. At the hearing the standard for continuing the temporary restraining order shall be by a preponderance of the evidence.

g. If the court rules that the temporary restraining order shall be continued, the order shall remain in effect until either:

(1) the defendant is convicted of stalking, in which case the court shall hold a hearing on the issue of whether a permanent restraining order shall be entered pursuant to section 3 of P.L.1996, c. 39 (C.2C:12-10.1); or

(2) the victim’s parent or guardian or, in the case of a victim who has reached the age of 18, the victim, requests that the restraining order be dismissed and the court finds just cause to do so.

2C:12-3. Terroristic threats

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

a. A person is guilty of a crime of the third degree if he threatens to commit any crime of violence with the purpose to terrorize another or to cause evacuation of a building, place of assembly, or facility of public transportation, or otherwise to cause serious public inconvenience, or in reckless disregard of the risk of causing such terror or inconvenience. A violation of this subsection is a crime of the second degree if it occurs during a declared period of national, State or county emergency. The actor shall be strictly liable upon proof that the crime occurred, in fact, during a declared period of national, State or county emergency. It shall not be a defense that the actor did not know that there was a declared period of emergency at the time the crime occurred.

b. A person is guilty of a crime of the third degree if he threatens to kill another with the purpose to put him in imminent fear of death under circumstances reasonably causing the victim to believe the immediacy of the threat and the likelihood that it will be carried out.

Chapter 13 Kidnapping and Related Offenses: Coercion

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

2C:13-1. Kidnapping

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

a. Holding for ransom, reward, or as a hostage. A person is guilty of kidnapping if he unlawfully removes another from the place where he is found or if he unlawfully confines another with the purpose of holding that person for ransom or reward or as a shield or hostage.

b. Holding for other purposes. A person is guilty of kidnapping if he unlawfully removes another from his place of residence or business, or a substantial distance from the vicinity where he is found, or if he unlawfully confines another for a substantial period, with any of the following purposes:

(1) To facilitate commission of any crime or flight thereafter;

(2) To inflict bodily injury on or to terrorize the victim or another;

(3) To interfere with the performance of any governmental or political function; or

(4) To permanently deprive a parent, guardian, or other lawful custodian of custody of the victim.

c. Grading of kidnapping. (1) Except as provided in paragraph (2) of this subsection, kidnapping is a crime of the first degree and upon conviction thereof, a person may, notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph (1) of subsection a. of N.J.S.2C:43-6, be sentenced to an ordinary term of imprisonment between 15 and 30 years. If the actor releases the victim unharmed and in a safe place prior to apprehension, it is a crime of the second degree.

(2) Kidnapping is a crime of the first degree and upon conviction thereof, an actor shall be sentenced to a term of imprisonment by the court, if the victim of the kidnapping is less than 16 years of age and if during the kidnapping:

(a) A crime under N.J.S.2C:14-2 or subsection a. of N.J.S.2C:14-3 is committed against the victim;

(b) A crime under subsection b. of N.J.S.2C:24-4 is committed against the victim; or

(c) The actor sells or delivers the victim to another person for pecuniary gain other than in circumstances which lead to the return of the victim to a parent, guardian or other person responsible for the general supervision of the victim.

Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph (1) of subsection a. of N.J.S. 2C:43-6, the term of imprisonment imposed under this paragraph shall be either a term of 25 years during which the actor shall not be eligible for parole, or a specific term between 25 years and life imprisonment, of which the actor shall serve 25 years before being eligible for parole; provided, however, that the crime of kidnapping under this paragraph and underlying aggravating crimes listed in subparagraph (a), (b), or (c) of this paragraph shall merge for purposes of sentencing. If the actor is convicted of the criminal homicide of a victim of a kidnapping under the provisions of chapter 11, any sentence imposed under provisions of this paragraph shall be served consecutively to any sentence imposed pursuant to the provisions of chapter 11.

d. “Unlawful” removal or confinement. A removal or confinement is unlawful within the meaning of this section and of sections 2C:13-2 and 2C:13-3, if it is accomplished by force, threat, or deception, or, in the case of a person who is under the age of 14 or is incompetent, if it is accomplished without the consent of a parent, guardian, or other person responsible for general supervision of his welfare.

e. It is an affirmative defense to a prosecution under paragraph (4) of subsection b. of this section, which must be proved by clear and convincing evidence, that:

(1) The actor reasonably believed that the action was necessary to preserve the victim from imminent danger to his welfare. However, no defense shall be available pursuant to this subsection if the actor does not, as soon as reasonably practicable but in no event more than 24 hours after taking a victim under his protection, give notice of the victim’s location to the police department of the municipality where the victim resided, the office of the county prosecutor in the county where the victim resided, or the Division of Child Protection and Permanency in the Department of Children and Families;

(2) The actor reasonably believed that the taking or detaining of the victim was consented to by a parent, or by an authorized State agency; or

(3) The victim, being at the time of the taking or concealment not less than 14 years old, was taken away at his own volition by his parent and without purpose to commit a criminal offense with or against the victim.

f. It is an affirmative defense to a prosecution under paragraph (4) of subsection b. of this section that a parent having the right of custody reasonably believed he was fleeing from imminent physical danger from the other parent, provided that the parent having custody, as soon as reasonably practicable:

(1) Gives notice of the victim’s location to the police department of the municipality where the victim resided, the office of the county prosecutor in the county where the victim resided, or the Division of Child Protection and Permanency in the Department of Children and Families; or

(2) Commences an action affecting custody in an appropriate court.

g. As used in subsections e. and f. of this section, “parent” means a parent, guardian or other lawful custodian of a victim.

2C:13-2. Criminal restraint

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

A person commits a crime of the third degree if he knowingly:

a. Restrains another unlawfully in circumstances exposing the other to risk of serious bodily injury; or

b. Holds another in a condition of involuntary servitude.

The creation by the actor of circumstances resulting in a belief by another that he must remain in a particular location shall for purposes of this section be deemed to be a holding in a condition of involuntary servitude.

In any prosecution under subsection b., it is an affirmative defense that the person held was a child less than 18 years old and the actor was a relative or legal guardian of such child and his sole purpose was to assume control of such child.

2C:13-3. False imprisonment

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

A person commits a disorderly persons offense if he knowingly restrains another unlawfully so as to interfere substantially with his liberty. In any prosecution under this section, it is an affirmative defense that the person restrained was a child less than 18 years old and that the actor was a relative or legal guardian of such child and that his sole purpose was to assume control of such child.

2C:13-4. Interference with custody

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

a. Custody of children. A person, including a parent, guardian or other lawful custodian, is guilty of interference with custody if he:

(1) Takes or detains a minor child with the purpose of concealing the minor child and thereby depriving the child’s other parent of custody or parenting time with the minor child; or

(2) After being served with process or having actual knowledge of an action affecting marriage or custody but prior to the issuance of a temporary or final order determining custody and parenting time rights to a minor child, takes, detains, entices or conceals the child within or outside the State for the purpose of depriving the child’s other parent of custody or parenting time, or to evade the jurisdiction of the courts of this State; or

(3) After being served with process or having actual knowledge of an action affecting the protective services needs of a child pursuant to Title 9 of the Revised Statutes in an action affecting custody, but prior to the issuance of a temporary or final order determining custody rights of a minor child, takes, detains, entices or conceals the child within or outside the State for the purpose of evading the jurisdiction of the courts of this State; or

(4) After the issuance of a temporary or final order specifying custody, joint custody rights or parenting time, takes, detains, entices or conceals a minor child from the other parent in violation of the custody or parenting time order.

Interference with custody is a crime of the second degree if the child is taken, detained, enticed or concealed: (i) outside the United States or (ii) for more than 24 hours. Otherwise, interference with custody is a crime of the third degree but the presumption of non-imprisonment set forth in subsection e. of N.J.S.2C:44-1 for a first offense of a crime of the third degree shall not apply.

b. Custody of committed persons. A person is guilty of a crime of the fourth degree if he knowingly takes or entices any committed person away from lawful custody when he is not privileged to do so. “Committed person” means, in addition to anyone committed under judicial warrant, any orphan, neglected or delinquent child, person with a mental disease, defect or illness, or other dependent or incompetent person, entrusted to another’s custody by or through a recognized social agency or otherwise by authority of law.

c. It is an affirmative defense to a prosecution under subsection a. of this section, which must be proved by clear and convincing evidence, that:

(1) The actor reasonably believed that the action was necessary to preserve the child from imminent danger to his welfare. However, no defense shall be available pursuant to this subsection if the actor does not, as soon as reasonably practicable but in no event more than 24 hours after taking a child under his protection, give notice of the child’s location to the police department of the municipality where the child resided, the office of the county prosecutor in the county where the child resided, or the Division of Youth and Family Services in the Department of Children and Families;

(2) The actor reasonably believed that the taking or detaining of the minor child was consented to by the other parent, or by an authorized State agency; or

(3) The child, being at the time of the taking or concealment not less than 14 years old, was taken away at his own volition and without purpose to commit a criminal offense with or against the child.

d. It is an affirmative defense to a prosecution under subsection a. of this section that a parent having the right of custody reasonably believed he was fleeing from imminent physical danger from the other parent, provided that the parent having custody, as soon as reasonably practicable:

(1) Gives notice of the child’s location to the police department of the municipality where the child resided, the office of the county prosecutor in the county where the child resided, or the Division of Youth and Family Services in the Department of Children and Families; or

(2) Commences an action affecting custody in an appropriate court.

e. The offenses enumerated in this section are continuous in nature and continue for so long as the child is concealed or detained.

f. (1) In addition to any other disposition provided by law, a person convicted under subsection a. of this section shall make restitution of all reasonable expenses and costs, including reasonable counsel fees, incurred by the other parent in securing the child’s return.

(2) In imposing sentence under subsection a. of this section the court shall consider, in addition to the factors enumerated in chapter 44 of Title 2C of the New Jersey Statutes:

(a) Whether the person returned the child voluntarily; and

(b) The length of time the child was concealed or detained.

g. As used in this section, “parent” means a parent, guardian or other lawful custodian of a minor child.

2C:13-5. Criminal coercion

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

a. Offense defined. A person is guilty of criminal coercion if, with purpose unlawfully to restrict another’s freedom of action to engage or refrain from engaging in conduct, he threatens to:

(1) Inflict bodily injury on anyone or commit any other offense, regardless of the immediacy of the threat;

(2) Accuse anyone of an offense;

(3) Expose any secret which would tend to subject any person to hatred, contempt or ridicule, or to impair his credit or business repute;

(4) Take or withhold action as an official, or cause an official to take or withhold action;

(5) Bring about or continue a strike, boycott or other collective action, except that such a threat shall not be deemed coercive when the restriction compelled is demanded in the course of negotiation for the benefit of the group in whose interest the actor acts;

(6) Testify or provide information or withhold testimony or information with respect to another’s legal claim or defense; or

(7) Perform any other act which would not in itself substantially benefit the actor but which is calculated to substantially harm another person with respect to his health, safety, business, calling, career, financial condition, reputation or personal relationships.

It is an affirmative defense to prosecution based on paragraphs (2), (3), (4), (6) and (7) that the actor believed the accusation or secret to be true or the proposed official action justified and that his purpose was limited to compelling the other to behave in a way reasonably related to the circumstances which were the subject of the accusation, exposure or proposed official action, as by desisting from further misbehavior, making good a wrong done, or refraining from taking any action or responsibility for which the actor believes the other disqualified.

b. Grading. Criminal coercion is a crime of the fourth degree unless the threat is to commit a crime more serious than one of the fourth degree or the actor’s purpose is criminal, in which cases the offense is a crime of the third degree.

Chapter 14. Sexual Offenses

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

2C:14-1. Definitions

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

The following definitions apply to this chapter:

a. “Actor” means a person accused of an offense proscribed under this act;

b. “Victim” means a person alleging to have been subjected to offenses proscribed by this act;

c. “Sexual penetration” means vaginal intercourse, cunnilingus, fellatio or anal intercourse between persons or insertion of the hand, finger or object into the anus or vagina either by the actor or upon the actor’s instruction. The depth of insertion shall not be relevant as to the question of commission of the crime;

d. “Sexual contact” means an intentional touching by the victim or actor, either directly or through clothing, of the victim’s or actor’s intimate parts for the purpose of degrading or humiliating the victim or sexually arousing or sexually gratifying the actor. Sexual contact of the actor with himself must be in view of the victim whom the actor knows to be present;

e. “Intimate parts” means the following body parts: sexual organs, genital area, anal area, inner thigh, groin, buttock or breast of a person;

f. “Severe personal injury” means severe bodily injury, disfigurement, disease, incapacitating mental anguish or chronic pain;

g. “Physically helpless” means that condition in which a person is unconscious or is physically unable to flee or is physically unable to communicate unwillingness to act;

h. (Deleted by amendment, P.L.2011, c. 232)

i. “Mentally incapacitated” means that condition in which a person is rendered temporarily incapable of understanding or controlling his conduct due to the influence of a narcotic, anesthetic, intoxicant, or other substance administered to that person without his prior knowledge or consent, or due to any other act committed upon that person which rendered that person incapable of appraising or controlling his conduct;

j. “Coercion” as used in this chapter shall refer to those acts which are defined as criminal coercion in section 2C:13-5(1), (2), (3), (4), (6) and (7).

2C:14-2. Sexual assault

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

Sexual assault. a. An actor is guilty of aggravated sexual assault if he commits an act of sexual penetration with another person under any one of the following circumstances:

(1) The victim is less than 13 years old;

(2) The victim is at least 13 but less than 16 years old; and

(a) The actor is related to the victim by blood or affinity to the third degree, or

(b) The actor has supervisory or disciplinary power over the victim by virtue of the actor’s legal, professional, or occupational status, or

(c) The actor is a resource family parent, a guardian, or stands in loco parentis within the household;

(3) The act is committed during the commission, or attempted commission, whether alone or with one or more other persons, of robbery, kidnapping, homicide, aggravated assault on another, burglary, arson or criminal escape;

(4) The actor is armed with a weapon or any object fashioned in such a manner as to lead the victim to reasonably believe it to be a weapon and threatens by word or gesture to use the weapon or object;

(5) The actor is aided or abetted by one or more other persons and the actor uses physical force or coercion;

(6) The actor uses physical force or coercion and severe personal injury is sustained by the victim;

(7) The victim is one whom the actor knew or should have known was physically helpless or incapacitated, intellectually or mentally incapacitated, or had a mental disease or defect which rendered the victim temporarily or permanently incapable of understanding the nature of his conduct, including, but not limited to, being incapable of providing consent.

Aggravated sexual assault is a crime of the first degree.

Except as otherwise provided in subsection d. of this section, a person convicted under paragraph (1) of this subsection shall be sentenced to a specific term of years which shall be fixed by the court and shall be between 25 years and life imprisonment of which the person shall serve 25 years before being eligible for parole, unless a longer term of parole ineligibility is otherwise provided pursuant to this Title.

b. An actor is guilty of sexual assault if he commits an act of sexual contact with a victim who is less than 13 years old and the actor is at least four years older than the victim.

c. An actor is guilty of sexual assault if he commits an act of sexual penetration with another person under any one of the following circumstances:

(1) The actor uses physical force or coercion, but the victim does not sustain severe personal injury;

(2) The victim is on probation or parole, or is detained in a hospital, prison or other institution and the actor has supervisory or disciplinary power over the victim by virtue of the actor’s legal, professional or occupational status;

(3) The victim is at least 16 but less than 18 years old and:

(a) The actor is related to the victim by blood or affinity to the third degree; or

(b) The actor has supervisory or disciplinary power of any nature or in any capacity over the victim; or

(c) The actor is a resource family parent, a guardian, or stands in loco parentis within the household;

(4) The victim is at least 13 but less than 16 years old and the actor is at least four years older than the victim;

(5) The victim is a pupil at least 18 but less than 22 years old and has not received a high school diploma and the actor is a teaching staff member or substitute teacher, school bus driver, other school employee, contracted service provider, or volunteer and the actor has supervisory or disciplinary power of any nature or in any capacity over the victim. As used in this paragraph, “teaching staff member” has the meaning set forth in N.J.S.18A:1-1.

Sexual assault is a crime of the second degree.

d. Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection a. of this section, where a defendant is charged with a violation under paragraph (1) of subsection a. of this section, the prosecutor, in consideration of the interests of the victim, may offer a negotiated plea agreement in which the defendant would be sentenced to a specific term of imprisonment of not less than 15 years, during which the defendant shall not be eligible for parole. In such event, the court may accept the negotiated plea agreement and upon such conviction shall impose the term of imprisonment and period of parole ineligibility as provided for in the plea agreement, and may not impose a lesser term of imprisonment or parole or a lesser period of parole ineligibility than that expressly provided in the plea agreement. The Attorney General shall develop guidelines to ensure the uniform exercise of discretion in making determinations regarding a negotiated reduction in the term of imprisonment and period of parole ineligibility set forth in subsection a. of this section.

2C:14-2.1. Right of victim to consult with prosecuting authority

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

Whenever there is a prosecution for a violation of N.J.S.A.2C: 14-2, the victim of the sexual assault shall be provided an opportunity to consult with the prosecuting authority prior to the conclusion of any plea negotiations.

Nothing contained herein shall be construed to alter or limit the authority or discretion of the prosecutor to enter into any plea agreement which the prosecutor deems appropriate.

2C:14-3. Criminal sexual contact

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

Criminal sexual contact. a. An actor is guilty of aggravated criminal sexual contact if he commits an act of sexual contact with the victim under any of the circumstances set forth in 2C:14-2a. (2) through (7).

Aggravated criminal sexual contact is a crime of the third degree.

b. An actor is guilty of criminal sexual contact if he commits an act of sexual contact with the victim under any of the circumstances set forth in section 2C:14-2c. (1) through (5).

Criminal sexual contact is a crime of the fourth degree.

2C:14-4. Lewdness

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

a. A person commits a disorderly persons offense if he does any flagrantly lewd and offensive act which he knows or reasonably expects is likely to be observed by other nonconsenting persons who would be affronted or alarmed.

b. A person commits a crime of the fourth degree if:

(1) He exposes his intimate parts for the purpose of arousing or gratifying the sexual desire of the actor or of any other person under circumstances where the actor knows or reasonably expects he is likely to be observed by a child who is less than 13 years of age where the actor is at least four years older than the child.

(2) He exposes his intimate parts for the purpose of arousing or gratifying the sexual desire of the actor or of any other person under circumstances where the actor knows or reasonably expects he is likely to be observed by a person who because of mental disease or defect is unable to understand the sexual nature of the actor’s conduct.

c. As used in this section:

“lewd acts” shall include the exposing of the genitals for the purpose of arousing or gratifying the sexual desire of the actor or of any other person.

2C:14-9. Invasion of privacy; observation of sexual contact; reproduction or disclosure of images of sexual contact or undergarment-clad intimate parts of another person; dressing rooms; defenses

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

a. An actor commits a crime of the fourth degree if, knowing that he is not licensed or privileged to do so, and under circumstances in which a reasonable person would know that another may expose intimate parts or may engage in sexual penetration or sexual contact, he observes another person without that person’s consent and under circumstances in which a reasonable person would not expect to be observed.

b. (1) An actor commits a crime of the third degree if, knowing that he is not licensed or privileged to do so, he photographs, films, videotapes, records, or otherwise reproduces in any manner, the image of another person whose intimate parts are exposed or who is engaged in an act of sexual penetration or sexual contact, without that person’s consent and under circumstances in which a reasonable person would not expect to be observed.

(2) An actor commits a crime of the fourth degree if, knowing that he is not licensed or privileged to do so, he photographs, films, videotapes, records, or otherwise reproduces in any manner, the image of the undergarment-clad intimate parts of another person, without that person’s consent and under circumstances in which a reasonable person would not expect to have his undergarment-clad intimate parts observed.

c. An actor commits a crime of the third degree if, knowing that he is not licensed or privileged to do so, he discloses any photograph, film, videotape, recording or any other reproduction of the image, taken in violation of subsection b. of this section, of: (1) another person who is engaged in an act of sexual penetration or sexual contact; (2) another person whose intimate parts are exposed; or (3) another person’s undergarment-clad intimate parts, unless that person has consented to such disclosure.

For purposes of this subsection: (1) “disclose” means sell, manufacture, give, provide, lend, trade, mail, deliver, transfer, publish, distribute, circulate, disseminate, present, exhibit, advertise , offer, share, or make available via the Internet or by any other means, whether for pecuniary gain or not; and (2) “intimate parts” has the meaning ascribed to it in N.J.S.2C:14-1. Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection b. of N.J.S.2C:43-3, a fine not to exceed $30,000 may be imposed for a violation of this subsection.

d. It is an affirmative defense to a crime under this section that:

(1) the actor posted or otherwise provided prior notice to the person of the actor’s intent to engage in the conduct specified in subsection a., b., or c., and

(2) the actor acted with a lawful purpose.

e. (1) It shall not be a violation of subsection a. or b. to observe another person in the access way, foyer or entrance to a fitting room or dressing room operated by a retail establishment or to photograph, film, videotape, record or otherwise reproduce the image of such person, if the actor conspicuously posts at the entrance to the fitting room or dressing room prior notice of his intent to make the observations, photographs, films, videotapes, recordings or other reproductions.

(2) It shall be a violation of subsection c. to disclose in any manner any such photograph, film, videotape or recording of another person using a fitting room or dressing room except under the following circumstances:

(a) to law enforcement officers in connection with a criminal prosecution;

(b) pursuant to subpoena or court order for use in a legal proceeding; or

(c) to a co-worker, manager or supervisor acting within the scope of his employment.

f. It shall be a violation of subsection a. or b. to observe another person in a private dressing stall of a fitting room or dressing room operated by a retail establishment or to photograph, film, videotape, record or otherwise reproduce the image of another person in a private dressing stall of a fitting room or dressing room.

g. For purposes of this act, a law enforcement officer, or a corrections officer or guard in a correctional facility or jail, who is engaged in the official performance of his duties shall be deemed to be licensed or privileged to make and to disclose observations, photographs, films, videotapes, recordings or any other reproductions.

h. Notwithstanding the provisions of N.J.S.2C:1-8 or any other provisions of law, a conviction arising under subsection b. of this section shall not merge with a conviction under subsection c. of this section, nor shall a conviction under subsection c. merge with a conviction under subsection b.

2C:14-14. Application for temporary protective order; definitions; requirements

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

Application for Temporary Protective Order.

a. (1) Any person alleging to be a victim of nonconsensual sexual contact, sexual penetration, or lewdness, or any attempt at such conduct, and who is not eligible for a restraining order as a “victim of domestic violence” as defined by the provisions of subsection d. of section 3 of P.L.1991, c. 261 (C.2C:25-19), may, except as provided in subsection b. of this section, file an application with the Superior Court pursuant to the Rules of Court alleging the commission of such conduct or attempted conduct and seeking a temporary protective order.

As used in this section and in sections 3, 4, and 8 of P.L.2015, c. 147 (C.2C:14-15, C.2C:14-16, and C.2C:14-20):

“Sexual contact” means an intentional touching by the victim or actor, either directly or through clothing, of the victim’s or actor’s intimate parts for the purpose of degrading or humiliating the victim or sexually arousing or sexually gratifying the actor.

“Sexual penetration” means vaginal intercourse, cunnilingus, fellatio or anal intercourse between persons or insertion of the hand, finger or object into the anus or vagina either by the actor or upon the actor’s instruction.

“Lewdness” means the exposing of the genitals for the purpose of arousing or gratifying the sexual desire of the actor or of any other person.

“Intimate parts” means the following body parts: sexual organs, genital area, anal area, inner thigh, groin, buttock or breast of a person.

(2) Except as provided in subsection b. of this section, an application for relief under P.L.2015, c. 147 (C.2C:14-13 et al.) may be filed by the alleged victim’s parent or guardian on behalf of the alleged victim in any case in which the alleged victim:

(a) is less than 18 years of age; or

(b) has a developmental disability as defined in section 3 of P.L.1977, c. 200 (C.5:5-44.4) or a mental disease or defect that renders the alleged victim temporarily or permanently incapable of understanding the nature of the alleged victim’s conduct, including, but not limited to, being incapable of providing consent.

b. (1) When it is alleged that nonconsensual sexual contact, sexual penetration, or lewdness, or any attempt at such conduct, has been committed by an unemancipated minor, an applicant seeking a protective order shall not proceed under the provisions of P.L.2015, c. 147 (C.2C:14-13 et al.), but may seek a protective order and other relief under the New Jersey Code of Juvenile Justice, P.L.1982, c. 77 (C.2A:4A-20 et seq.) by filing a complaint pursuant to the provisions of section 11 of P.L.1982, c. 77 (C.2A:4A-30).

(2) When it is alleged that nonconsensual sexual contact, sexual penetration, or lewdness, or any attempt at such conduct, has been committed against an unemancipated minor by a parent, guardian, or other person having care, custody and control of that child as defined in N.J.S.9:6-2, an applicant seeking a protective order shall not proceed under the provisions of P.L.2015, c. 147 (C.2C:14-13 et al.), but shall report the incident to the Division of Child Protection and Permanency in the Department of Children and Families for investigation and possible legal action by the division pursuant to R.S.9:6-1 et seq. or other applicable law, including, when appropriate, petitioning the Superior Court pursuant to P.L.1974, c. 119 (C.9:6-8.21 et seq.) for a protective order and other relief on behalf of the applicant and the unemancipated minor.

c. (1) An applicant may seek a protective order pursuant to P.L.2015, c. 147 (C.2C:14-13 et al.) and the court may issue such an order regardless of whether criminal charges based on the incident were filed and regardless of the disposition of any such charges.

(2) The filing of an application pursuant to this section shall not prevent the filing of a criminal complaint, or the institution or maintenance of a criminal prosecution based on the same act.

d. The court shall waive any requirement that the applicant’s or alleged victim’s place of residence appear on the application.

e. An applicant may seek a protective order pursuant to P.L.2015, c. 147 (C.2C:14-13 et al.) in a court having jurisdiction over the place where the alleged conduct or attempted conduct occurred, where the respondent resides, or where the alleged victim resides or is sheltered.

f. No fees or other costs shall be assessed against an applicant for seeking a protective order pursuant to P.L.2015, c. 147 (C.2C:14-13 et al.).

2C:14-15. Emergency ex parte temporary protective order; grounds for issuance; appeal; notice

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

Temporary Protective Order.

a. An applicant may seek emergency, ex parte relief in the nature of a temporary protective order. A judge of the Superior Court may enter an emergency ex parte order when necessary to protect the safety and well-being of an alleged victim on whose behalf the relief is sought. The court may grant any relief necessary to protect the safety and well-being of an alleged victim.

b. The court shall, upon consideration of the application, order emergency ex parte relief in the nature of a temporary protective order if the court determines that the applicant is a victim of nonconsensual sexual contact, sexual penetration, or lewdness, or any attempt at such conduct, and qualifies for such relief pursuant to section 2 of P.L.2015, c. 147 (C.2C:14-14). The court shall render a decision on the application and issue a temporary protective order, where appropriate, in an expedited manner.

c. The court may issue a temporary protective order, pursuant to court rules, upon sworn testimony or an application of an alleged victim who is not physically present, pursuant to court rules, or by a person who represents an alleged victim who is physically or mentally incapable of filing personally. A temporary restraining order may be issued if the judge is satisfied that exigent circumstances exist sufficient to excuse the failure of the applicant to appear personally and that sufficient grounds for granting the application have been shown.

d. An order for emergency, ex parte relief shall be granted upon good cause shown and shall remain in effect until a judge of the Superior Court issues a further order. Any temporary protective order issued pursuant to this section is immediately appealable for a plenary hearing de novo not on the record before any judge of the Superior Court of the county in which the alleged victim resides or is sheltered if that judge issued the temporary protective order or has access to the reasons for the issuance of the temporary protective order and sets forth in the record the reasons for the modification or dismissal.

e. A temporary protective order issued pursuant to this section may include, but is not limited to, the following emergency relief:

(1) an order prohibiting the respondent from committing or attempting to commit any future act of nonconsensual sexual contact, sexual penetration, or lewdness, or any attempt at such conduct, against the alleged victim;

(2) an order prohibiting the respondent from entering the residence, property, school, or place of employment of the victim or the victim’s family or household members, and requiring the respondent to stay away from any specified place that is named in the order and is frequented regularly by the alleged victim or the alleged victim’s family or household members;

(3) an order prohibiting the respondent from having any contact with the alleged victim or others, including an order forbidding the respondent from personally or through an agent initiating any communication likely to cause annoyance or alarm including, but not limited to, personal, written, or telephone contact, or contact via electronic device, with the alleged victim or the alleged victim’s family members, or their employers, employees, or fellow workers, an employee or volunteer of a sexual assault response entity that is providing services to an alleged victim, or others with whom communication would be likely to cause annoyance or alarm to the alleged victim;

(4) an order prohibiting the respondent from stalking or following, or threatening to harm, stalk, or follow, the alleged victim;

(5) an order prohibiting the respondent from committing or attempting to commit an act of harassment, including an act of cyber-harassment, against the alleged victim; and

(6) any other relief that the court deems appropriate.

f. A copy of the temporary protective order issued pursuant to this section shall be immediately forwarded to the police of the municipality in which the alleged victim resides or is sheltered. A copy of the temporary protective order shall also be forwarded to the sheriff of the county in which the respondent resides for immediate service upon the respondent in accordance with the Rules of Court. The court or the sheriff may coordinate service of the temporary protective order upon the respondent through the police in appropriate circumstances. If personal service cannot be effected upon the respondent, the court may order other appropriate substituted service. At no time shall the alleged victim be asked or required to serve any order on the respondent.

g. Notice of temporary protective orders issued pursuant to this section shall be sent by the clerk of the court or other person designated by the court to the appropriate chiefs of police, members of the State Police and any other appropriate law enforcement agency or court.

2C:14-16. Hearing; considerations; issuance of final protective order; notice; duration

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

Final Protective Order.

a. A hearing shall be held in the Superior Court within 10 days of the filing of an application pursuant to section 3 of P.L.2015, c. 147 (C.2C:14-15) in the county where the temporary protective order was ordered, unless good cause is shown for the hearing to be held elsewhere. A copy of the application shall be served on the respondent in conformity with the Rules of Court. If a criminal complaint arising out of the same incident which is the subject matter of an application for a protective order has been filed, testimony given by the applicant, the alleged victim, or the respondent in accordance with an application filed pursuant to this section shall not be used in the criminal proceeding against the respondent, other than contempt matters, and where it would otherwise be admissible hearsay under the rules of evidence that govern when a party is unavailable. At the hearing, the standard for proving the allegations made in the application for a protective order shall be a preponderance of the evidence. The court shall consider but not be limited to the following factors:

(1) the occurrence of one or more acts of nonconsensual sexual contact, sexual penetration, or lewdness, or any attempt at such conduct, against the alleged victim; and

(2) the possibility of future risk to the safety or well-being of the alleged victim.

b. The court shall not deny relief under this section due to: the applicant’s or alleged victim’s failure to report the incident to law enforcement; the alleged victim’s or the respondent’s alleged intoxication; whether the alleged victim did or did not leave the premises to avoid nonconsensual sexual contact, sexual penetration, or lewdness, or an attempt at such conduct; or the absence of signs of physical injury to the alleged victim.

c. In any proceeding involving an application for a protective order pursuant to P.L.2015, c. 147 (C.2C:14-13 et al.), evidence of the alleged victim’s previous sexual conduct or manner of dress at the time of the incident shall not be admitted nor shall any reference made to such conduct or manner or dress, except as provided in N.J.S.2C:14-7.

d. The issue of whether an act alleged in the application for a protective order occurred, or whether an act of contempt under paragraph (2) of subsection b. of N.J.S.2C:29-9 occurred, shall not be subject to mediation or negotiation in any form.

e. A final protective order issued pursuant to this section shall be issued only after a finding or an admission is made that the respondent committed an act of nonconsensual sexual contact, sexual penetration, or lewdness, or any attempt at such conduct, against the alleged victim. A final protective order shall:

(1) prohibit the respondent from having contact with the victim; and

(2) prohibit the respondent from committing any future act of nonconsensual sexual contact, sexual penetration, or lewdness, or any attempt at such conduct, against the victim.

f. In addition to any relief provided to the victim under subsection e. of this section, a final protective order issued pursuant to this section may include, but is not limited to, the following relief:

(1) an order prohibiting the respondent from entering the residence, property, school, or place of employment of the victim or the victim’s family or household members, and requiring the respondent to stay away from any specified place that is named in the order and is frequented regularly by the victim or the victim’s family or household members;

(2) an order prohibiting the respondent from having any contact with the victim or others, including an order forbidding the respondent from personally or through an agent initiating any communication likely to cause annoyance or alarm including, but not limited to, personal, written, or telephone contact, or contact via electronic device, with the victim or the victim’s family members or their employers, employees, or fellow workers; an employee or volunteer of a sexual assault response entity that is providing services to a victim; or others with whom communication would be likely to cause annoyance or alarm to the victim;

(3) an order prohibiting the respondent from stalking or following, or threatening to harm, stalk or follow, the victim;

(4) an order prohibiting the respondent from committing or attempting to commit an act of harassment, including an act of cyber-harassment, against the victim; and

(5) any other relief that the court deems appropriate.

g. A copy of the final protective order issued pursuant to this section shall be immediately forwarded to the police of the municipality in which the victim resides or is sheltered. A copy of the final protective order shall be forwarded to the sheriff of the county in which the respondent resides for immediate service upon the respondent in accordance with the Rules of Court. The court or the sheriff may coordinate service of the final protective order upon the respondent through the police in appropriate circumstances. If personal service cannot be effected upon the respondent, the court may order other appropriate substituted service. At no time shall the victim be asked or required to serve any order on the respondent.

h. Notice of a final protective order issued pursuant to this section shall be sent by the clerk of the Superior Court or other person designated by the court to the appropriate county prosecutor, the appropriate chiefs of police, members of the State Police and any other appropriate law enforcement agency. Notice of the issuance of a final protective order shall also be provided to the Division of Child Protection and Permanency in the Department of Children and Families where the victim is less than 18 years of age.

i. A final protective order issued pursuant to this section shall remain in effect until further order of a judge of the Superior Court. Either party may file a petition with the court to dissolve or modify a final protective order. When considering a petition for dissolution or modification of a final protective order, the court shall conduct a hearing to consider whether a material change in circumstances has occurred since the issuance of the protective order which would make its continued enforcement inequitable, oppressive or unjust taking into account the current status of the parties, including the desire of the victim for the continuation of the protective order, the potential for contact between the parties, the history of the respondent’s violations of the protective order or criminal convictions, and any other factors that the court may find relevant to protecting the safety and well-being of the victim.

2C:14-17. Scope of temporary or final protective order; enforcement; contempt

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

a. Any temporary or final protective order issued pursuant to P.L.2015, c. 147 (C.2C:14-13 et al.) shall be in effect throughout the State, and shall be enforced by all law enforcement officers.

b. When a law enforcement officer finds probable cause that a respondent has committed contempt of an order entered pursuant to P.L.2015, c. 147 (C.2C:14-13 et al.), the respondent shall be arrested and taken into custody. The court shall determine whether the respondent shall be released pending trial or detained pending a pretrial detention hearing pursuant to sections 4 and 5 of P.L.2014, c. 31 (C.2A:162-18 and C.2A:162-19) and applicable court rules.

2C:14-18. Violation of protective order as contempt

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

a. A respondent’s violation of any protective order issued pursuant to P.L.2015, c. 147 (C.2C:14-13 et al.) shall constitute an offense under subsection d. of N.J.S.2C:29-9 and each order shall so state. All contempt proceedings brought pursuant to subsection d. of N.J.S.2C:29-9 shall be subject to any rules or guidelines established by the Supreme Court to promote the prompt disposition of criminal matters.

b. Where a victim alleges that a respondent has committed contempt of a protective order entered pursuant to the provisions of P.L.2015, c. 147 (C.2C:14-13 et al.), but a law enforcement officer has found that the facts are insufficient to establish probable cause to arrest the respondent, the law enforcement officer shall advise the victim of the procedure for completing and signing a criminal complaint alleging a violation of subsection d. of N.J.S.2C:29-9 through the municipal court. Nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent the court from granting any other emergency relief it deems necessary.

c. If a respondent is charged with a non-indictable offense pursuant to paragraph (2) of subsection d. of N.J.S.2C:29–9 as a result of a violation of a protective order entered pursuant to P.L.2015, c. 147 (C.2C:14–13 et al.), the contempt proceedings for the non-indictable offense shall be heard in the Superior Court.

Chapter 15. Robbery

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

2C:15-1. Robbery

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

a. Robbery defined. A person is guilty of robbery if, in the course of committing a theft, he:

(1) Inflicts bodily injury or uses force upon another; or

(2) Threatens another with or purposely puts him in fear of immediate bodily injury; or

(3) Commits or threatens immediately to commit any crime of the first or second degree.

An act shall be deemed to be included in the phrase “in the course of committing a theft” if it occurs in an attempt to commit theft or in immediate flight after the attempt or commission.

b. Grading. Robbery is a crime of the second degree, except that it is a crime of the first degree if in the course of committing the theft the actor attempts to kill anyone, or purposely inflicts or attempts to inflict serious bodily injury, or is armed with, or uses or threatens the immediate use of a deadly weapon.

Part 2. Offenses Against Property

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

Chapter 17. Arson, Criminal Mischief, and Other Property Destruction

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

2C:17-3. Criminal mischief

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

a. Offense defined. A person is guilty of criminal mischief if he:

(1) Purposely or knowingly damages tangible property of another or damages tangible property of another recklessly or negligently in the employment of fire, explosives or other dangerous means listed in subsection a. of N.J.S.2C:17-2; or

(2) Purposely, knowingly or recklessly tampers with tangible property of another so as to endanger person or property, including the damaging or destroying of a rental premises by a tenant in retaliation for institution of eviction proceedings.

b. Grading. (1) Criminal mischief is a crime of the third degree if the actor purposely or knowingly causes pecuniary loss of $2,000.00 or more.

(2) Criminal mischief is a crime of the fourth degree if the actor causes pecuniary loss in excess of $500.00 but less than $2000.00. It is a disorderly persons offense if the actor causes pecuniary loss of $500.00 or less.

(3) Criminal mischief is a crime of the third degree if the actor damages, defaces, eradicates, alters, receives, releases or causes the loss of any research property used by the research facility, or otherwise causes physical disruption to the functioning of the research facility. The term “physical disruption” does not include any lawful activity that results from public, governmental, or research facility employee reaction to the disclosure of information about the research facility.

(4) Criminal mischief is a crime of the fourth degree if the actor damages, removes or impairs the operation of any device, including, but not limited to, a sign, signal, light or other equipment, which serves to regulate or ensure the safety of air traffic at any airport, landing field, landing strip, heliport, helistop or any other aviation facility; however, if the damage, removal or impediment of the device recklessly causes bodily injury or damage to property, the actor is guilty of a crime of the third degree, or if it recklessly causes a death, the actor is guilty of a crime of the second degree.

(5) Criminal mischief is a crime of the fourth degree if the actor interferes or tampers with any airport, landing field, landing strip, heliport, helistop or any other aviation facility; however if the interference or tampering with the airport, landing field, landing strip, heliport, helistop or other aviation facility recklessly causes bodily injury or damage to property, the actor is guilty of a crime of the third degree, or if it recklessly causes a death, the actor is guilty of a crime of the second degree.

(6) Criminal mischief is a crime of the third degree if the actor tampers with a grave, crypt, mausoleum or other site where human remains are stored or interred, with the purpose to desecrate, destroy or steal such human remains or any part thereof.

(7) Criminal mischief is a crime of the third degree if the actor purposely or knowingly causes a substantial interruption or impairment of public communication, transportation, supply of water, oil, gas or power, or other public service. Criminal mischief is a crime of the second degree if the substantial interruption or impairment recklessly causes death.

(8) Criminal mischief is a crime of the fourth degree if the actor purposely or knowingly breaks, digs up, obstructs or otherwise tampers with any pipes or mains for conducting gas, oil or water, or any works erected for supplying buildings with gas, oil or water, or any appurtenances or appendages therewith connected, or injures, cuts, breaks down, destroys or otherwise tampers with any electric light wires, poles or appurtenances, or any telephone, telecommunications, cable television or telegraph wires, lines, cable or appurtenances.

c. A person convicted of an offense of criminal mischief that involves an act of graffiti may, in addition to any other penalty imposed by the court, be required to pay to the owner of the damaged property monetary restitution in the amount of the pecuniary damage caused by the act of graffiti and to perform community service, which shall include removing the graffiti from the property, if appropriate. If community service is ordered, it shall be for either not less than 20 days or not less than the number of days necessary to remove the graffiti from the property.

d. As used in this section:

“Act of graffiti” means the drawing, painting or making of any mark or inscription on public or private real or personal property without the permission of the owner.

e. A person convicted of an offense of criminal mischief that involves the damaging or destroying of a rental premises by a tenant in retaliation for institution of eviction proceedings, may, in addition to any other penalty imposed by the court, be required to pay to the owner of the property monetary restitution in the amount of the pecuniary damage caused by the damage or destruction.

Chapter 18. Burglary and Other Criminal Intrusion

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

2C:18-3. Criminal trespass

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

a. Unlicensed entry of structures. A person commits an offense if, knowing that he is not licensed or privileged to do so, he enters or surreptitiously remains in any research facility, structure, or separately secured or occupied portion thereof, or in or upon utility company property, or in the sterile area or operational area of an airport. An offense under this subsection is a crime of the fourth degree if it is committed in a school or on school property. The offense is a crime of the fourth degree if it is committed in a dwelling. An offense under this section is a crime of the fourth degree if it is committed in a research facility, power generation facility, waste treatment facility, public sewage facility, water treatment facility, public water facility, nuclear electric generating plant or any facility which stores, generates or handles any hazardous chemical or chemical compounds. An offense under this subsection is a crime of the fourth degree if it is committed in or upon utility company property. An offense under this subsection is a crime of the fourth degree if it is committed in the sterile area or operational area of an airport. Otherwise it is a disorderly persons offense.

b. Defiant trespasser. A person commits a petty disorderly persons offense if, knowing that he is not licensed or privileged to do so, he enters or remains in any place as to which notice against trespass is given by:

(1) Actual communication to the actor; or

(2) Posting in a manner prescribed by law or reasonably likely to come to the attention of intruders; or

(3) Fencing or other enclosure manifestly designed to exclude intruders.

c. Peering into windows or other openings of dwelling places. A person commits a crime of the fourth degree if, knowing that he is not licensed or privileged to do so, he peers into a window or other opening of a dwelling or other structure adapted for overnight accommodation for the purpose of invading the privacy of another person and under circumstances in which a reasonable person in the dwelling or other structure would not expect to be observed.

d. Defenses. It is an affirmative defense to prosecution under this section that:

(1) A structure involved in an offense under subsection a. was abandoned;

(2) The structure was at the time open to members of the public and the actor complied with all lawful conditions imposed on access to or remaining in the structure; or

(3) The actor reasonably believed that the owner of the structure, or other person empowered to license access thereto, would have licensed him to enter or remain, or, in the case of subsection c. of this section, to peer.

2C:18-2. Burglary

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

a. Burglary defined. A person is guilty of burglary if, with purpose to commit an offense therein or thereon he:

(1) Enters a research facility, structure, or a separately secured or occupied portion thereof unless the structure was at the time open to the public or the actor is licensed or privileged to enter;

(2) Surreptitiously remains in a research facility, structure, or a separately secured or occupied portion thereof knowing that he is not licensed or privileged to do so; or

(3) Trespasses in or upon utility company property where public notice prohibiting trespass is given by conspicuous posting, or fencing or other enclosure manifestly designed to exclude intruders.

b. Grading. Burglary is a crime of the second degree if in the course of committing the offense, the actor:

(1) Purposely, knowingly or recklessly inflicts, attempts to inflict or threatens to inflict bodily injury on anyone; or

(2) Is armed with or displays what appear to be explosives or a deadly weapon.

Otherwise burglary is a crime of the third degree. An act shall be deemed “in the course of committing” an offense if it occurs in an attempt to commit an offense or in immediate flight after the attempt or commission.

Chapter 21. Forgery and Fraudulent Practices

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

2C:21-17. Impersonation; identity theft; degree of crime

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

Impersonation; Theft of identity; crime.

a. A person is guilty of a crime if the person engages in one or more of the following actions by any means including, but not limited to, the use of electronic communications or an Internet website:

(1) Impersonates another or assumes a false identity and does an act in such assumed character or false identity for the purpose of obtaining a benefit for himself or another or to injure or defraud another;

(2) Pretends to be a representative of some person or organization and does an act in such pretended capacity for the purpose of obtaining a benefit for himself or another or to injure or defraud another;

(3) Impersonates another, assumes a false identity or makes a false or misleading statement regarding the identity of any person, in an oral or written application for services, for the purpose of obtaining services;

(4) Obtains any personal identifying information pertaining to another person and uses that information, or assists another person in using the information, in order to assume the identity of or represent himself as another person, without that person’s authorization and with the purpose to fraudulently obtain or attempt to obtain a benefit or services, or avoid the payment of debt or other legal obligation or avoid prosecution for a crime by using the name of the other person; or

(5) Impersonates another, assumes a false identity or makes a false or misleading statement, in the course of making an oral or written application for services, with the purpose of avoiding payment for prior services. Purpose to avoid payment for prior services may be presumed upon proof that the person has not made full payment for prior services and has impersonated another, assumed a false identity or made a false or misleading statement regarding the identity of any person in the course of making oral or written application for services.

As used in this section:

“Benefit” means, but is not limited to, any property, any pecuniary amount, any services, any pecuniary amount sought to be avoided or any injury or harm perpetrated on another where there is no pecuniary value.

b. (Deleted by amendment, P.L.2005, c. 224).

c. A person who violates subsection a. of this section is guilty of a crime as follows:

(1) If the actor obtains a benefit or deprives another of a benefit in an amount less than $500 and the offense involves the identity of one victim, the actor shall be guilty of a crime of the fourth degree except that a second or subsequent conviction for such an offense constitutes a crime of the third degree; or

(2) If the actor obtains a benefit or deprives another of a benefit in an amount of at least $500 but less than $75,000, or the offense involves the identity of at least two but less than five victims, the actor shall be guilty of a crime of the third degree; or

(3) If the actor obtains a benefit or deprives another of a benefit in the amount of $75,000 or more, or the offense involves the identity of five or more victims, the actor shall be guilty of a crime of the second degree.

d. A violation of N.J.S.2C:28-7, constituting a disorderly persons offense, section 1 of P.L.1979, c. 264 (C.2C:33-15), R.S.33:1-81 or section 6 of P.L.1968, c. 313 (C.33:1-81.7) in a case where the person uses the personal identifying information of another to illegally purchase an alcoholic beverage or for using the personal identifying information of another to misrepresent his age for the purpose of obtaining tobacco or other consumer product denied to persons under 19 years of age shall not constitute an offense under this section if the actor received only that benefit or service and did not perpetrate or attempt to perpetrate any additional injury or fraud on another.

e. The sentencing court shall issue such orders as are necessary to correct any public record or government document that contains false information as a result of a theft of identity. The sentencing court may provide restitution to the victim in accordance with the provisions of section 4 of P.L.2002, c. 85 (C.2C:21-17.1).

Part 3. Offenses Against Others

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

Chapter 25. Domestic Violence

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

2C:25-17. Prevention of Domestic Violence Act of 1991; short title

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

This act shall be known and may be cited as the “Prevention of Domestic Violence Act of 1991.”

2C:25-18. Legislative findings and declaration

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

The Legislature finds and declares that domestic violence is a serious crime against society; that there are thousands of persons in this State who are regularly beaten, tortured and in some cases even killed by their spouses or cohabitants; that a significant number of women who are assaulted are pregnant; that victims of domestic violence come from all social and economic backgrounds and ethnic groups; that there is a positive correlation between spousal abuse and child abuse; and that children, even when they are not themselves physically assaulted, suffer deep and lasting emotional effects from exposure to domestic violence. It is therefore, the intent of the Legislature to assure the victims of domestic violence the maximum protection from abuse the law can provide.

The Legislature further finds and declares that the health and welfare of some of its most vulnerable citizens, the elderly and disabled, are at risk because of incidents of reported and unreported domestic violence, abuse and neglect which are known to include acts which victimize the elderly and disabled emotionally, psychologically, physically and financially; because of age, disabilities or infirmities, this group of citizens frequently must rely on the aid and support of others; while the institutionalized elderly are protected under P.L.1977, c.239 (C.52:27G-1 et seq.), elderly and disabled adults in noninstitutionalized or community settings may find themselves victimized by family members or others upon whom they feel compelled to depend.

The Legislature further finds and declares that violence against the elderly and disabled, including criminal neglect of the elderly and disabled under section 1 of P.L.1989, c.23 (C.2C:24-8), must be recognized and addressed on an equal basis as violence against spouses and children in order to fulfill our responsibility as a society to protect those who are less able to protect themselves.

The Legislature further finds and declares that even though many of the existing criminal statutes are applicable to acts of domestic violence, previous societal attitudes concerning domestic violence have affected the response of our law enforcement and judicial systems, resulting in these acts receiving different treatment from similar crimes when they occur in a domestic context. The Legislature finds that battered adults presently experience substantial difficulty in gaining access to protection from the judicial system, particularly due to that system’s inability to generate a prompt response in an emergency situation.

It is the intent of the Legislature to stress that the primary duty of a law enforcement officer when responding to a domestic violence call is to enforce the laws allegedly violated and to protect the victim. Further, it is the responsibility of the courts to protect victims of violence that occurs in a family or family-like setting by providing access to both emergent and long-term civil and criminal remedies and sanctions, and by ordering those remedies and sanctions that are available to assure the safety of the victims and the public. To that end, the Legislature encourages the training of all police and judicial personnel in the procedures and enforcement of this act, and about the social and psychological context in which domestic violence occurs; and it further encourages the broad application of the remedies available under this act in the civil and criminal courts of this State. It is further intended that the official response to domestic violence shall communicate the attitude that violent behavior will not be excused or tolerated, and shall make clear the fact that the existing criminal laws and civil remedies created under this act will be enforced without regard to the fact that the violence grows out of a domestic situation.

2C:25-19. Definitions

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

As used in this act:

a. “Domestic violence” means the occurrence of one or more of the following acts inflicted upon a person protected under this act by an adult or an emancipated minor:

(1) Homicide N.J.S.2C:11-1 et seq.

(2) Assault N.J.S.2C:12-1

(3) Terroristic threats N.J.S.2C:12-3

(4) Kidnapping N.J.S.2C:13-1

(5) Criminal restraint N.J.S.2C:13-2

(6) False imprisonment N.J.S.2C:13-3

(7) Sexual assault N.J.S.2C:14-2

(8) Criminal sexual contact N.J.S.2C:14-3

(9) Lewdness N.J.S.2C:14-4

(10) Criminal mischief N.J.S.2C:17-3

(11) Burglary N.J.S.2C:18-2

(12) Criminal trespass N.J.S.2C:18-3

(13) Harassment N.J.S.2C:33-4

(14) Stalking P.L.1992, c. 209 (C.2C:12-10)

(15) Criminal coercion N.J.S.2C:13-5

(16) Robbery N.J.S.2C:15-1

(17) Contempt of a domestic violence order pursuant to subsection b. of N.J.S.2C:29-9 that constitutes a crime or disorderly persons offense

(18) Any other crime involving risk of death or serious bodily injury to a person protected under the “Prevention of Domestic Violence Act of 1991,” P.L.1991, c. 261 (C.2C:25-17 et al.)

(19) Cyber-harassment P.L.2013, c. 272 (C.2C:33–4.1)

When one or more of these acts is inflicted by an unemancipated minor upon a person protected under this act, the occurrence shall not constitute “domestic violence,” but may be the basis for the filing of a petition or complaint pursuant to the provisions of section 11 of P.L.1982, c. 77 (C.2A:4A-30).

b. “Law enforcement agency” means a department, division, bureau, commission, board or other authority of the State or of any political subdivision thereof which employs law enforcement officers.

c. “Law enforcement officer” means a person whose public duties include the power to act as an officer for the detection, apprehension, arrest and conviction of offenders against the laws of this State.

d. “Victim of domestic violence” means a person protected under this act and shall include any person who is 18 years of age or older or who is an emancipated minor and who has been subjected to domestic violence by a spouse, former spouse, or any other person who is a present household member or was at any time a household member. “Victim of domestic violence” also includes any person, regardless of age, who has been subjected to domestic violence by a person with whom the victim has a child in common, or with whom the victim anticipates having a child in common, if one of the parties is pregnant. “Victim of domestic violence” also includes any person who has been subjected to domestic violence by a person with whom the victim has had a dating relationship.

e. “Emancipated minor” means a person who is under 18 years of age but who has been married, has entered military service, has a child or is pregnant or has been previously declared by a court or an administrative agency to be emancipated.

2C:25-20. Training course and curriculum; domestic crisis teams

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

4. a. (1) The Division of Criminal Justice shall develop and approve a training course and curriculum on the handling, investigation and response procedures concerning reports of domestic violence and abuse and neglect of the elderly and disabled. This training course and curriculum shall be reviewed at least every two years and modified by the Division of Criminal Justice from time to time as need may require. The Division of Criminal Justice shall distribute the curriculum to all local police agencies.

(2)The Attorney General shall be responsible for ensuring that all law enforcement officers attend initial training within 90 days of appointment or transfer and annual inservice training of at least four hours as described in this section.

b. (1) The Administrative Office of the Courts shall develop and approve a training course and a curriculum on the handling, investigation and response procedures concerning allegations of domestic violence. This training course shall be reviewed at least every two years and modified by the Administrative Office of the Courts from time to time as need may require.

(2)The Administrative Director of the Courts shall be responsible for ensuring that all judges and judicial personnel attend initial training within 90 days of appointment or transfer and annual inservice training as described in this section.

(3)The Division of Criminal Justice and the Administrative Office of the Courts shall provide that all training on the handling of domestic violence matters shall include information concerning the impact of domestic violence on society, the dynamics of domestic violence, the statutory and case law concerning domestic violence, the necessary elements of a protection order, policies and procedures as promulgated or ordered by the Attorney General or the Supreme Court, and the use of available community resources, support services, available sanctions and treatment options. Law enforcement agencies shall: (1) establish domestic crisis teams or participate in established domestic crisis teams, and (2) shall train individual officers in methods of dealing with domestic violence and neglect and abuse of the elderly and disabled. The teams may include social workers, clergy or other persons trained in counseling, crisis intervention or in the treatment of domestic violence and neglect and abuse of the elderly and disabled victims.

2C:25-21. Arrest; criminal complaint; seizure of weapons

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

a. When a person claims to be a victim of domestic violence, and where a law enforcement officer responding to the incident finds probable cause to believe that domestic violence has occurred, the law enforcement officer shall arrest the person who is alleged to be the person who subjected the victim to domestic violence and shall sign a criminal complaint if:

(1)The victim exhibits signs of injury caused by an act of domestic violence;

(2)A warrant is in effect;

(3)There is probable cause to believe that the person has violated N.J.S.2C:29-9, and there is probable cause to believe that the person has been served with the order alleged to have been violated. If the victim does not have a copy of a purported order, the officer may verify the existence of an order with the appropriate law enforcement agency; or

(4)There is probable cause to believe that a weapon as defined in N.J.S.2C:39-1 has been involved in the commission of an act of domestic violence.

b.A law enforcement officer may arrest a person; or may sign a criminal complaint against that person, or may do both, where there is probable cause to believe that an act of domestic violence has been committed, but where none of the conditions in subsection a. of this section applies.

c. (1) As used in this section, the word “exhibits” is to be liberally construed to mean any indication that a victim has suffered bodily injury, which shall include physical pain or any impairment of physical condition. Where the victim exhibits no visible sign of injury, but states that an injury has occurred, the officer should consider other relevant factors in determining whether there is probable cause to make an arrest.

(2)In determining which party in a domestic violence incident is the victim where both parties exhibit signs of injury, the officer should consider the comparative extent of the injuries, the history of domestic violence between the parties, if any, and any other relevant factors.

(3)No victim shall be denied relief or arrested or charged under this act with an offense because the victim used reasonable force in self defense against domestic violence by an attacker.

d. (1) In addition to a law enforcement officer’s authority to seize any weapon that is contraband, evidence or an instrumentality of crime, a law enforcement officer who has probable cause to believe that an act of domestic violence has been committed shall:

(a)question persons present to determine whether there are weapons on the premises; and

(b)upon observing or learning that a weapon is present on the premises, seize any weapon that the officer reasonably believes would expose the victim to a risk of serious bodily injury. If a law enforcement officer seizes any firearm pursuant to this paragraph, the officer shall also seize any firearm purchaser identification card or permit to purchase a handgun issued to the person accused of the act of domestic violence.

(2)A law enforcement officer shall deliver all weapons, firearms purchaser identification cards and permits to purchase a handgun seized pursuant to this section to the county prosecutor and shall append an inventory of all seized items to the domestic violence report.

(3)Weapons seized in accordance with the “Prevention of Domestic Violence Act of 1991”, P.L.1991,c.261(C.2C:25-17 et seq.) shall be returned to the owner except upon order of the Superior Court. The prosecutor who has possession of the seized weapons may, upon notice to the owner, petition a judge of the Family Part of the Superior Court, Chancery Division, within 45 days of seizure, to obtain title to the seized weapons, or to revoke any and all permits, licenses and other authorizations for the use, possession, or ownership of such weapons pursuant to the law governing such use, possession, or ownership, or may object to the return of the weapons on such grounds as are provided for the initial rejection or later revocation of the authorizations, or on the grounds that the owner is unfit or that the owner poses a threat to the public in general or a person or persons in particular.

A hearing shall be held and a record made thereof within 45 days of the notice provided above. No formal pleading and no filing fee shall be required as a preliminary to such hearing. The hearing shall be summary in nature. Appeals from the results of the hearing shall be to the Superior Court, Appellate Division, in accordance with the law.

If the prosecutor does not institute an action within 45 days of seizure, the seized weapons shall be returned to the owner.

After the hearing the court shall order the return of the firearms, weapons and any authorization papers relating to the seized weapons to the owner if the court determines the owner is not subject to any of the disabilities set forth in N.J.S.2C:58-3c. and finds that the complaint has been dismissed at the request of the complainant and the prosecutor determines that there is insufficient probable cause to indict; or if the defendant is found not guilty of the charges; or if the court determines that the domestic violence situation no longer exists.Nothing in this act shall impair the right of the State to retain evidence pending a criminal prosecution. Nor shall any provision of this act be construed to limit the authority of the State or a law enforcement officer to seize, retain or forfeit property pursuant to chapter 64 of Title 2C of the New Jersey Statutes.

If, after the hearing, the court determines that the weapons are not to be returned to the owner, the court may:

(a)With respect to weapons other than firearms, order the prosecutor to dispose of the weapons if the owner does not arrange for the transfer or sale of the weapons to an appropriate person within 60 days; or

(b)Order the revocation of the owner’s firearms purchaser identification card or any permit, license or authorization, in which case the court shall order the owner to surrender any firearm seized and all other firearms possessed to the prosecutor and shall order the prosecutor to dispose of the firearms if the owner does not arrange for the sale of the firearms to a registered dealer of the firearms within 60 days; or

(c)Order such other relief as it may deem appropriate. When the court orders the weapons forfeited to the State or the prosecutor is required to dispose of the weapons, the prosecutor shall dispose of the property as provided in N.J.S.2C:64-6.

(4)A civil suit may be brought to enjoin a wrongful failure to return a seized firearm where the prosecutor refuses to return the weapon after receiving a written request to do so and notice of the owner’s intent to bring a civil action pursuant to this section. Failure of the prosecutor to comply with the provisions of this act shall entitle the prevailing party in the civil suit to reasonable costs, including attorney’s fees, provided that the court finds that the prosecutor failed to act in good faith in retaining the seized weapon.

(5)No law enforcement officer or agency shall be held liable in any civil action brought by any person for failing to learn of, locate or seize a weapon pursuant to this act, or for returning a seized weapon to its owner.

2C:25-21.1. Rules and regulations

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

The Attorney General may adopt, pursuant to the “Administrative Procedure Act,” P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.), rules and regulations necessary and appropriate to implement this act.

2C:25-22. Immunity from civil liability

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

A law enforcement officer or a member of a domestic crisis team or any person who, in good faith, reports a possible incident of domestic violence to the police shall not be held liable in any civil action brought by any party for an arrest based on probable cause, enforcement in good faith of a court order, or any other act or omission in good faith under this act.

2C:25-23. Notice provided to victims; contents

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

A law enforcement officer shall disseminate and explain to the victim the following notice, which shall be written in both English and Spanish:

“You have the right to go to court to get an order called a temporary restraining order, also called a TRO, which may protect you from more abuse by your attacker. The officer who handed you this card can tell you how to get a TRO.

The kinds of things a judge can order in a TRO may include:

(1) That your attacker is temporarily forbidden from entering the home you live in;

(2) That your attacker is temporarily forbidden from having contact with you or your relatives;

(3) That your attacker is temporarily forbidden from bothering you at work;

(4) That your attacker has to pay temporary child support or support for you;

(5) That you be given temporary custody of your children;

(6) That your attacker pay you back any money you have to spend for medical treatment or repairs because of the violence. There are other things the court can order, and the court clerk will explain the procedure to you and will help you fill out the papers for a TRO.

You also have the right to file a criminal complaint against your attacker. The police officer who gave you this paper will tell you how to file a criminal complaint.

On weekends, holidays and other times when the courts are closed, you still have a right to get a TRO. The police officer who gave you this paper can help you get in touch with a judge who can give you a TRO.”

2C:25-24. Domestic violence offense report; contents; annual report by superintendent of state police

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

a. It shall be the duty of a law enforcement officer who responds to a domestic violence call to complete a domestic violence offense report. All information contained in the domestic violence offense report shall be forwarded to the appropriate county bureau of identification and to the State bureau of records and identification in the Division of State Police in the Department of Law and Public Safety. A copy of the domestic violence offense report shall be forwarded to the municipal court where the offense was committed unless the case has been transferred to the Superior Court.

b. The domestic violence offense report shall be on a form prescribed by the supervisor of the State bureau of records and identification which shall include, but not be limited to, the following information:

(1) The relationship of the parties;

(2) The sex of the parties;

(3) The time and date of the incident;

(4) The number of domestic violence calls investigated;

(5) Whether children were involved, or whether the alleged act of domestic violence had been committed in the presence of children;

(6) The type and extent of abuse;

(7) The number and type of weapons involved;

(8) The action taken by the law enforcement officer;

(9) The existence of any prior court orders issued pursuant to this act concerning the parties;

(10) The number of domestic violence calls alleging a violation of a domestic violence restraining order;

(11) The number of arrests for a violation of a domestic violence order; and

(12) Any other data that may be necessary for a complete analysis of all circumstances leading to the alleged incident of domestic violence.

c. It shall be the duty of the Superintendent of the State Police with the assistance of the Division of Systems and Communications in the Department of Law and Public Safety to compile and report annually to the Governor, the Legislature and the Advisory Council on Domestic Violence on the tabulated data from the domestic violence offense reports, classified by county.

2C:25-25. Criminal complaint; effect of dissolution of marriage, civil proceedings, or leaving residence; waiver of disclosure of victim's location

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

The court in a criminal complaint arising from a domestic violence incident:

a. Shall not dismiss any charge or delay disposition of a case because of concurrent dissolution of a marriage, other civil proceedings, or because the victim has left the residence to avoid further incidents of domestic violence;

b. Shall not require proof that either party is seeking a dissolution of a marriage prior to institution of criminal proceedings;

c. Shall waive any requirement that the victim’s location be disclosed to any person.

2C:25-26. Release from custody before trial; restraining orders; confidentiality of victim's location; bail

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

a. When a defendant charged with a crime or offense involving domestic violence is released from custody before trial on bail or personal recognizance, the court authorizing the release may as a condition of release issue an order prohibiting the defendant from having any contact with the victim including, but not limited to, restraining the defendant from entering the victim’s residence, place of employment or business, or school, and from harassing or stalking the victim or the victim’s friends, co-workers, or relatives in any way. The court may also enter an order prohibiting the defendant from having any contact with any animal owned, possessed, leased, kept, or held by either party or a minor child residing in the household. In addition, the court may enter an order directing the possession of the animal and providing that the animal shall not be disposed of prior to the disposition of the crime or offense. The court may enter an order prohibiting the defendant from possessing any firearm or other weapon enumerated in subsection r. of N.J.S.2C:39-1 and ordering the search for and seizure of any such weapon at any location where the judge has reasonable cause to believe the weapon is located. The judge shall state with specificity the reasons for and scope of the search and seizure authorized by the order.

b. The written court order releasing the defendant shall contain the court’s directives specifically restricting the defendant’s ability to have contact with the victim , the victim’s friends, co-workers, or relatives, or any animal owned, possessed, leased, kept, or held by either party or a minor child residing in the household. The clerk of the court or other person designated by the court shall provide a copy of this order to the victim forthwith.

c. The victim’s location shall remain confidential and shall not appear on any documents or records to which the defendant has access.

d. Before bail is set, the defendant’s prior record shall be considered by the court. The court shall also conduct a search of the domestic violence central registry. Bail shall be set as soon as is feasible, but in all cases within 24 hours of arrest.

e. Once bail is set it shall not be reduced without prior notice to the county prosecutor and the victim. Bail shall not be reduced by a judge other than the judge who originally ordered bail, unless the reasons for the amount of the original bail are available to the judge who reduces the bail and are set forth in the record.

f. A victim shall not be prohibited from applying for, and a court shall not be prohibited from issuing, temporary restraints pursuant to this act because the victim has charged any person with commission of a criminal act.

2C:25-26.1. Notification of victim of release of defendant charged with crime involving domestic violence

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, whenever a defendant charged with a crime or an offense involving domestic violence is released from custody the prosecuting agency shall notify the victim.

2C:25-27. Conditions of sentence

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

a. When a defendant is found guilty of a crime or offense involving domestic violence and a condition of sentence restricts the defendant’s ability to have contact with the victim, the victim’s friends, co-workers, or relatives, or an animal owned, possessed, leased, kept, or held by either party or a minor child residing in the household, that condition shall be recorded in an order of the court and a written copy of that order shall be provided to the victim by the clerk of the court or other person designated by the court. In addition to restricting a defendant’s ability to have contact with the victim, the victim’s friends, co-workers, or relatives, or an animal owned, possessed, leased, kept, or held by either party or a minor child residing in the household, the court may require the defendant to receive professional counseling from either a private source or a source appointed by the court, and if the court so orders, the court shall require the defendant to provide documentation of attendance at the professional counseling. In any case where the court order contains a requirement that the defendant receive professional counseling, no application by the defendant to dissolve the restraining order shall be granted unless, in addition to any other provisions required by law or conditions ordered by the court, the defendant has completed all required attendance at such counseling.
b. In addition the court may enter an order directing the possession of an animal owned, possessed, leased, kept, or held by either party or a minor child residing in the household. Where a person has abused or threatened to abuse such animal, there shall be a presumption that possession of the animal shall be awarded to the non-abusive party.
c. (1) When a defendant is found guilty of a crime or offense involving domestic violence, the court shall inform the defendant that the defendant is prohibited from purchasing, owning, possessing, or controlling a firearm pursuant to section 6 of P.L.1979, c. 179 (C.2C:39-7) and from receiving or retaining a firearms purchaser identification card or permit to purchase a handgun pursuant to N.J.S.2C:58-3. The court shall order the defendant to arrange for the immediate surrender to a law enforcement officer of any firearm that has not already been seized or surrendered and any firearms purchaser identification card or permit to purchase a handgun possessed by the defendant. No later than five business days after the order is entered, however, the defendant may arrange to sell any surrendered firearm to a licensed retail dealer of firearms who shall be authorized to take possession of that purchased firearm from the law enforcement agency to which it was surrendered no later than 10 business days after the order is entered. Any card or permit issued to the defendant shall be deemed immediately revoked. The court shall establish a process for notifying the appropriate authorities of the conviction requiring the revocation of the card or permit. A law enforcement officer accepting a surrendered firearm shall provide the defendant with a receipt listing the date of surrender, the name of the defendant, and any item that has been surrendered, including the serial number, manufacturer, and model of the surrendered firearm. The defendant shall provide a copy of this receipt to the prosecutor within 48 hours of service of the order, and shall attest under penalty that any firearms owned or possessed at the time of the order have been transferred in accordance with this section and that the defendant currently does not possess any firearms. The defendant alternatively may attest under penalty that he did not own or possess a firearm at the time of the order and currently does not possess a firearm. If the court, upon motion of the prosecutor, finds probable cause that the defendant has failed to surrender any firearm, card, or permit, the court may order a search for and removal of these items at any location where the judge has reasonable cause to believe these items are located. The judge shall state with specificity the reasons for and the scope of the search and seizure authorized by the order.
(2) A law enforcement officer who receives a firearm that is surrendered, but not purchased and taken possession of by a licensed retail dealer of firearms within 10 business days of when the order is entered pursuant to paragraph (1) of this subsection, may dispose of the surrendered firearm in accordance with the provisions of N.J.S.2C:64-6. A firearm purchased by a licensed retail dealer from a defendant shall become part of the inventory of the dealer.

2C:25-28. Complaint by victim; emergency relief; temporary restraining orders; service of process

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

a. A victim may file a complaint alleging the commission of an act of domestic violence with the Family Part of the Chancery Division of the Superior Court in conformity with the Rules of Court. The court shall not dismiss any complaint or delay disposition of a case because the victim has left the residence to avoid further incidents of domestic violence. Filing a complaint pursuant to this section shall not prevent the filing of a criminal complaint for the same act.
On weekends, holidays and other times when the court is closed, a victim may file a complaint before a judge of the Family Part of the Chancery Division of the Superior Court or a municipal court judge who shall be assigned to accept complaints and issue emergency, ex parte relief in the form of temporary restraining orders pursuant to this act.
A plaintiff may apply for relief under this section in a court having jurisdiction over the place where the alleged act of domestic violence occurred, where the defendant resides, or where the plaintiff resides or is sheltered, and the court shall follow the same procedures applicable to other emergency applications. Criminal complaints filed pursuant to this act shall be investigated and prosecuted in the jurisdiction where the offense is alleged to have occurred. Contempt complaints filed pursuant to N.J.S.2C:29-9 shall be prosecuted in the county where the contempt is alleged to have been committed and a copy of the contempt complaint shall be forwarded to the court that issued the order alleged to have been violated.
b. The court shall waive any requirement that the petitioner’s place of residence appear on the complaint.
c. (1) The clerk of the court, or other person designated by the court, shall assist the parties in completing any forms necessary for the filing of a summons, complaint, answer or other pleading.
(2) The plaintiff may provide information concerning firearms to which the defendant has access, including the location of these firearms, if known, on a form to be prescribed by the Administrative Director of the Courts.
(3) Information provided by the plaintiff concerning firearms to which the defendant has access shall be kept confidential and shall not be disseminated or disclosed, provided that nothing in this subsection shall prohibit dissemination or disclosure of this information in a manner consistent with and in furtherance of the purpose for which the information was provided.
d. Summons and complaint forms shall be readily available at the clerk’s office, at the municipal courts and at municipal and State police stations.
e. As soon as the domestic violence complaint is filed, both the victim and the abuser shall be advised of any programs or services available for advice and counseling.
f. A plaintiff may seek emergency, ex parte relief in the nature of a temporary restraining order. A municipal court judge or a judge of the Family Part of the Chancery Division of the Superior Court may enter an ex parte order when necessary to protect the life, health or well-being of a victim on whose behalf the relief is sought.
g. If it appears that the plaintiff is in danger of domestic violence, the judge shall, upon consideration of the plaintiff’s domestic violence complaint, order emergency ex parte relief, in the nature of a temporary restraining order. A decision shall be made by the judge regarding the emergency relief forthwith.
h. A judge may issue a temporary restraining order upon sworn testimony or complaint of an applicant who is not physically present, pursuant to court rules, or by a person who represents a person who is physically or mentally incapable of filing personally. A temporary restraining order may be issued if the judge is satisfied that exigent circumstances exist sufficient to excuse the failure of the applicant to appear personally and that sufficient grounds for granting the application have been shown.
i. An order for emergency, ex parte relief shall be granted upon good cause shown and shall remain in effect until a judge of the Family Part issues a further order. Any temporary order hereunder is immediately appealable for a plenary hearing de novo not on the record before any judge of the Family Part of the county in which the plaintiff resides or is sheltered if that judge issued the temporary order or has access to the reasons for the issuance of the temporary order and sets forth in the record the reasons for the modification or dissolution. The denial of a temporary restraining order by a municipal court judge and subsequent administrative dismissal of the complaint shall not bar the victim from refiling a complaint in the Family Part based on the same incident and receiving an emergency, ex parte hearing de novo not on the record before a Family Part judge, and every denial of relief by a municipal court judge shall so state.
j. Emergency relief may include forbidding the defendant from returning to the scene of the domestic violence, forbidding the defendant from possessing any firearm or other weapon enumerated in subsection r. of N.J.S.2C:39-1, ordering the search for and seizure of any firearm or other weapon at any location where the judge has reasonable cause to believe the weapon is located and the seizure of any firearms purchaser identification card or permit to purchase a handgun issued to the defendant and any other appropriate relief.
If the order requires the surrender of any firearm or other weapon, a law enforcement officer shall accompany the defendant, or may proceed without the defendant if necessary, to the scene of the domestic violence or any other location where the judge has reasonable cause to believe any firearm or other weapon belonging to the defendant is located, to ensure that the defendant does not gain access to any firearm or other weapon, and that the firearm or other weapon is appropriately surrendered in accordance with the order. If the order prohibits the defendant from returning to the scene of domestic violence or any other location where the judge has reasonable cause to believe any firearm or other weapon belonging to the defendant is located, any firearm or other weapon located there shall be seized by a law enforcement officer. The order shall include notice to the defendant of the penalties for a violation of any provision of the order, including but not limited to the penalties for contempt of court and unlawful possession of a firearm or other weapon pursuant toN.J.S.2C:39-5. Other appropriate relief may include but is not limited to an order directing the possession of any animal owned, possessed, leased, kept, or held by either party or a minor child residing in the household and providing that the animal shall not be disposed of prior to entry of a final order pursuant to section 13 of P.L.1991, c. 261 (C.2C:25-29).
The judge shall state with specificity the reasons for and scope of any search and seizure authorized by the order. The provisions of this subsection prohibiting a defendant from possessing a firearm or other weapon shall not apply to any law enforcement officer while actually on duty, or to any member of the Armed Forces of the United States or member of the National Guard while actually on duty or traveling to or from an authorized place of duty.
k. The judge may permit the defendant to return to the scene of the domestic violence to pick up personal belongings and effects but shall, in the order granting relief, restrict the time and duration of such permission and provide for police supervision of such visit.
l. An order granting emergency relief, together with the complaint or complaints, shall immediately be forwarded to the appropriate law enforcement agency for service on the defendant, and to the police of the municipality in which the plaintiff resides or is sheltered, and shall immediately be served upon the defendant by the police, except that an order issued during regular court hours may be forwarded to the sheriff for immediate service upon the defendant in accordance with the Rules of Court. If personal service cannot be effected upon the defendant, the court may order other appropriate substituted service. At no time shall the plaintiff be asked or required to serve any order on the defendant.
m. (Deleted by amendment, P.L.1994, c. 94.)
n. Notice of temporary restraining orders issued pursuant to this section shall be sent by the clerk of the court or other person designated by the court to the appropriate chiefs of police, members of the State Police and any other appropriate law enforcement agency or court.
o. (Deleted by amendment, P.L.1994, c. 94.)
p. Any temporary or final restraining order issued pursuant to this act shall be in effect throughout the State, and shall be enforced by all law enforcement officers.
q. Prior to the issuance of any temporary or final restraining order issued pursuant to this section, the court shall order that a search be made of the domestic violence central registry with regard to the defendant’s record.

2C:25-28.1. In-house restraining orders prohibited

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

Notwithstanding any provision of P.L.1991, c.261 (C.2C:25-17 et seq.) to the contrary, no order issued by the Family Part of the Chancery Division of the Superior Court pursuant to section 12 or section 13 of P.L.1991, c.261 (C.2C:25-28 or 2C:25-29) regarding emergency, temporary or final relief shall include an in-house restraining order which permits the victim and the defendant to occupy the same premises but limits the defendant’s use of that premises.

2C:25-29. Hearing; factors considered; orders for relief

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

a. A hearing shall be held in the Family Part of the Chancery Division of the Superior Court within 10 days of the filing of a complaint pursuant to section 12 of P.L.1991, c. 261 (C.2C:25-28) in the county where the ex parte restraints were ordered, unless good cause is shown for the hearing to be held elsewhere. A copy of the complaint shall be served on the defendant in conformity with the Rules of Court. If a criminal complaint arising out of the same incident which is the subject matter of a complaint brought under P.L.1981, c. 426 (C.2C:25-1 et seq.) or P.L.1991, c. 261 (C.2C:25-17 et seq.) has been filed, testimony given by the plaintiff or defendant in the domestic violence matter shall not be used in the simultaneous or subsequent criminal proceeding against the defendant, other than domestic violence contempt matters and where it would otherwise be admissible hearsay under the rules of evidence that govern where a party is unavailable. At the hearing the standard for proving the allegations in the complaint shall be by a preponderance of the evidence. The court shall consider but not be limited to the following factors:
(1) The previous history of domestic violence between the plaintiff and defendant, including threats, harassment and physical abuse;
(2) The existence of immediate danger to person or property;
(3) The financial circumstances of the plaintiff and defendant;
(4) The best interests of the victim and any child;
(5) In determining custody and parenting time the protection of the victim’s safety; and
(6) The existence of a verifiable order of protection from another jurisdiction.
An order issued under this act shall only restrain or provide damages payable from a person against whom a complaint has been filed under this act and only after a finding or an admission is made that an act of domestic violence was committed by that person. The issue of whether or not a violation of this act occurred, including an act of contempt under this act, shall not be subject to mediation or negotiation in any form. In addition, where a temporary or final order has been issued pursuant to this act, no party shall be ordered to participate in mediation on the issue of custody or parenting time.
b. In proceedings in which complaints for restraining orders have been filed, the court shall grant any relief necessary to prevent further abuse. In addition to any other provisions, any restraining order issued by the court shall bar the defendant from purchasing, owning, possessing or controlling a firearm and from receiving or retaining a firearms purchaser identification card or permit to purchase a handgun pursuant to N.J.S.2C:58-3 during the period in which the restraining order is in effect or two years, whichever is greater. The order shall require the immediate surrender of any firearm or other weapon belonging to the defendant. The order shall include notice to the defendant of the penalties for a violation of any provision of the order, including but not limited to the penalties for contempt of court and unlawful possession of a firearm or other weapon pursuant to N.J.S.2C:39-5.
A law enforcement officer shall accompany the defendant, or may proceed without the defendant if necessary, to any place where any firearm or other weapon belonging to the defendant is located to ensure that the defendant does not gain access to any firearm or other weapon, and a law enforcement officer shall take custody of any firearm or other weapon belonging to the defendant. If the order prohibits the defendant from returning to the scene of domestic violence or other place where firearms or other weapons belonging to the defendant are located, any firearm or other weapon located there shall be seized by a law enforcement officer. The provisions of this subsection requiring the surrender or removal of a firearm, card, or permit shall not apply to any law enforcement officer while actually on duty, or to any member of the Armed Forces of the United States or member of the National Guard while actually on duty or traveling to or from an authorized place of duty. At the hearing the judge of the Family Part of the Chancery Division of the Superior Court may issue an order granting any or all of the following relief:
(1) An order restraining the defendant from subjecting the victim to domestic violence, as defined in this act.
(2) An order granting exclusive possession to the plaintiff of the residence or household regardless of whether the residence or household is jointly or solely owned by the parties or jointly or solely leased by the parties. This order shall not in any manner affect title or interest to any real property held by either party or both jointly. If it is not possible for the victim to remain in the residence, the court may order the defendant to pay the victim’s rent at a residence other than the one previously shared by the parties if the defendant is found to have a duty to support the victim and the victim requires alternative housing.
(3) An order providing for parenting time. The order shall protect the safety and well-being of the plaintiff and minor children and shall specify the place and frequency of parenting time. Parenting time arrangements shall not compromise any other remedy provided by the court by requiring or encouraging contact between the plaintiff and defendant. Orders for parenting time may include a designation of a place of parenting time away from the plaintiff, the participation of a third party, or supervised parenting time.
(a) The court shall consider a request by a custodial parent who has been subjected to domestic violence by a person with parenting time rights to a child in the parent’s custody for an investigation or evaluation by the appropriate agency to assess the risk of harm to the child prior to the entry of a parenting time order. Any denial of such a request must be on the record and shall only be made if the judge finds the request to be arbitrary or capricious.
(b) The court shall consider suspension of the parenting time order and hold an emergency hearing upon an application made by the plaintiff certifying under oath that the defendant’s access to the child pursuant to the parenting time order has threatened the safety and well-being of the child.
(4) An order requiring the defendant to pay to the victim monetary compensation for losses suffered as a direct result of the act of domestic violence. The order may require the defendant to pay the victim directly, to reimburse the Victims of Crime Compensation Office for any and all compensation paid by the Victims of Crime Compensation Office directly to or on behalf of the victim, and may require that the defendant reimburse any parties that may have compensated the victim, as the court may determine. Compensatory losses shall include, but not be limited to, loss of earnings or other support, including child or spousal support, out-of-pocket losses for injuries sustained, cost of repair or replacement of real or personal property damaged or destroyed or taken by the defendant, cost of counseling for the victim, moving or other travel expenses, reasonable attorney’s fees, court costs, and compensation for pain and suffering. Where appropriate, punitive damages may be awarded in addition to compensatory damages.
(5) An order requiring the defendant to receive professional domestic violence counseling from either a private source or a source appointed by the court and, in that event, requiring the defendant to provide the court at specified intervals with documentation of attendance at the professional counseling. The court may order the defendant to pay for the professional counseling. No application by the defendant to dissolve a final order which contains a requirement for attendance at professional counseling pursuant to this paragraph shall be granted by the court unless, in addition to any other provisions required by law or conditions ordered by the court, the defendant has completed all required attendance at such counseling.
(6) An order restraining the defendant from entering the residence, property, school, or place of employment of the victim or of other family or household members of the victim and requiring the defendant to stay away from any specified place that is named in the order and is frequented regularly by the victim or other family or household members.
(7) An order restraining the defendant from making contact with the plaintiff or others, including an order forbidding the defendant from personally or through an agent initiating any communication likely to cause annoyance or alarm including, but not limited to, personal, written, or telephone contact with the victim or other family members, or their employers, employees, or fellow workers, or others with whom communication would be likely to cause annoyance or alarm to the victim.
(8) An order requiring that the defendant make or continue to make rent or mortgage payments on the residence occupied by the victim if the defendant is found to have a duty to support the victim or other dependent household members; provided that this issue has not been resolved or is not being litigated between the parties in another action.
(9) An order granting either party temporary possession of specified personal property, such as an automobile, checkbook, documentation of health insurance, an identification document, a key, and other personal effects.
(10) An order awarding emergency monetary relief, including emergency support for minor children, to the victim and other dependents, if any. An ongoing obligation of support shall be determined at a later date pursuant to applicable law.
(11) An order awarding temporary custody of a minor child. The court shall presume that the best interests of the child are served by an award of custody to the non-abusive parent.
(12) An order requiring that a law enforcement officer accompany either party to the residence or any shared business premises to supervise the removal of personal belongings in order to ensure the personal safety of the plaintiff when a restraining order has been issued. This order shall be restricted in duration.
(13) (Deleted by amendment, P.L.1995, c. 242).
(14) An order granting any other appropriate relief for the plaintiff and dependent children, provided that the plaintiff consents to such relief, including relief requested by the plaintiff at the final hearing, whether or not the plaintiff requested such relief at the time of the granting of the initial emergency order.
(15) An order that requires that the defendant report to the intake unit of the Family Part of the Chancery Division of the Superior Court for monitoring of any other provision of the order.
(16) In addition to the order required by this subsection prohibiting the defendant from possessing any firearm, the court may also issue an order prohibiting the defendant from possessing any other weapon enumerated in subsection r. of N.J.S.2C:39-1 and ordering the search for and seizure of any firearm or other weapon at any location where the judge has reasonable cause to believe the weapon is located. The judge shall state with specificity the reasons for and scope of the search and seizure authorized by the order.
(17) An order prohibiting the defendant from stalking or following, or threatening to harm, to stalk or to follow, the complainant or any other person named in the order in a manner that, taken in the context of past actions of the defendant, would put the complainant in reasonable fear that the defendant would cause the death or injury of the complainant or any other person. Behavior prohibited under this act includes, but is not limited to, behavior prohibited under the provisions of P.L.1992, c. 209(C.2C:12-10).
(18) An order requiring the defendant to undergo a psychiatric evaluation.
(19) An order directing the possession of any animal owned, possessed, leased, kept, or held by either party or a minor child residing in the household. Where a person has abused or threatened to abuse such animal, there shall be a presumption that possession of the animal shall be awarded to the non-abusive party.
c. Notice of orders issued pursuant to this section shall be sent by the clerk of the Family Part of the Chancery Division of the Superior Court or other person designated by the court to the appropriate chiefs of police, members of the State Police and any other appropriate law enforcement agency.
d. Upon good cause shown, any final order may be dissolved or modified upon application to the Family Part of the Chancery Division of the Superior Court, but only if the judge who dissolves or modifies the order is the same judge who entered the order, or has available a complete record of the hearing or hearings on which the order was based.
e. Prior to the issuance of any order pursuant to this section, the court shall order that a search be made of the domestic violence central registry.

2C:25-29.1. Civil penalty

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

In addition to any other disposition, any person found by the court in a final hearing pursuant to section 13 of P.L.1991, c.261 (C.2C:25-29) to have committed an act of domestic violence shall be ordered by the court to pay a civil penalty of at least $50, but not to exceed $500. In imposing this civil penalty, the court shall take into consideration the nature and degree of injury suffered by the victim. The court may waive the penalty in cases of extreme financial hardship.

2C:25-29.2. Penalties collected to be deposited in Domestic Violence Victims' Fund

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

All civil penalties imposed pursuant to section 1 of P.L.2001, c.195 (C.2C:25-29.1) shall be collected as provided by the Rules of Court. All moneys collected shall be forwarded to the Domestic Violence Victims’ Fund established pursuant to section 3 of P.L.2001, c.195 (C.30:14-15).

2C:25-29.3. Rules of Court.

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

The Supreme Court may promulgate Rules of Court to effectuate the purposes of this act.

2C:25-29.4. Surcharge on penalty for domestic violence

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

In addition to any other penalty, fine or charge imposed pursuant to law, a person convicted of an act of domestic violence, as that term is defined by subsection a. of section 3 of P.L.1991, c.261 (C.2C:25-19), shall be subject to a surcharge in the amount of $100 payable to the Treasurer of the State of New Jersey for use by the Department of Human Services to fund grants for domestic violence prevention, training and assessment.

2C:25-30. Violation of order; contempt proceedings; subsequent offenses

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

Except as provided below, a violation by the defendant of an order issued pursuant to this act shall constitute an offense under subsection b. of N.J.S.2C:29-9 and each order shall so state. All contempt proceedings conducted pursuant to N.J.S.2C:29-9 involving domestic violence orders, other than those constituting indictable offenses, shall be heard by the Family Part of the Chancery Division of the Superior Court. All contempt proceedings brought pursuant to P.L.1991, c.261 (C.2C:25-17 et seq.) shall be subject to any rules or guidelines established by the Supreme Court to guarantee the prompt disposition of criminal matters. Additionally, and notwithstanding the term of imprisonment provided in N.J.S.2C:43-8, any person convicted of a second or subsequent nonindictable domestic violence contempt offense shall serve a minimum term of not less than 30 days. Orders entered pursuant to paragraphs (3), (4), (5), (8) and (9) of subsection b. of section 13 of this act shall be excluded from enforcement under subsection b. of N.J.S.2C:29-9; however, violations of these orders may be enforced in a civil or criminal action initiated by the plaintiff or by the court, on its own motion, pursuant to applicable court rules.

2C:25-31. Contempt of order; arrest and custody of defendant

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

Where a law enforcement officer finds that there is probable cause that a defendant has committed contempt of an order entered pursuant to the provisions of P.L.1981, c.426 (C.2C:25-1 et seq.) or P.L.1991, c.261 (C.2C:25-17 et seq.), the defendant shall be arrested and taken into custody by a law enforcement officer. The law enforcement officer shall follow these procedures:

The law enforcement officer shall transport the defendant to the police station or such other place as the law enforcement officer shall determine is proper. The law enforcement officer shall:

a. Conduct a search of the domestic violence central registry and sign a complaint concerning the incident which gave rise to the contempt charge;

b. Telephone or communicate in person or by facsimile with the appropriate judge assigned pursuant to this act and request bail be set on the contempt charge;

c. If the defendant is unable to meet the bail set, take the necessary steps to insure that the defendant shall be incarcerated at police headquarters or at the county jail; and

d. During regular court hours, the defendant shall have bail set by a Superior Court judge that day. On weekends, holidays and other times when the court is closed, the officer shall arrange to have the clerk of the Family Part notified on the next working day of the new complaint, the amount of bail, the defendant’s whereabouts and all other necessary details. In addition, if a municipal court judge set the bail, the arresting officer shall notify the clerk of that municipal court of this information.

2C:25-32. Lack of probable cause for arrest for contempt; advice and assistance to victim

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

Where a person alleges that a defendant has committed contempt of an order entered pursuant to the provisions of P.L.1981, c.426 (C.2C:25-1 et seq.) or P.L.1991, c.261, but where a law enforcement officer has found that there is not probable cause sufficient to arrest the defendant, the law enforcement officer shall advise the complainant of the procedure for completing and signing a criminal complaint alleging a violation of N.J.S.2C:29-9. During regular court hours, the assistance of the clerk of the Family Part of the Chancery Division of the Superior Court shall be made available to such complainants. Nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent the court from granting any other emergency relief it deems necessary.

2C:25-33. Uniform record of applications for relief; information included; confidentiality

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

a. The Administrative Office of the Courts shall, with the assistance of the Attorney General and the county prosecutors, maintain a uniform record of all applications for relief pursuant to sections 9, 10, 11, 12, and 13 of P.L.1991, c.261 (C.2C:25-25, C.2C:25-26, C.2C:25-27, C.2C:25-28, and C.2C:25-29). The record shall include the following information:

(1) The number of criminal and civil complaints filed in all municipal courts and the Superior Court;

(2) The sex of the parties;

(3) The relationship of the parties;

(4) The relief sought or the offense charged, or both;

(5) The nature of the relief granted or penalty imposed, or both, including, but not limited to, the following:

(a) custody;

(b) child support;

(c) the specific restraints ordered;

(d) any requirements or conditions imposed pursuant to paragraphs (1) through (18) of subsection b. of section 13 of P.L.1991, c.261 (C.2C:25-29), including but not limited to professional counseling or psychiatric evaluations;

(6) The effective date of each order issued; and

(7) In the case of a civil action in which no permanent restraints are entered, or in the case of a criminal matter that does not proceed to trial, the reason or reasons for the disposition.

It shall be the duty of the Director of the Administrative Office of the Courts to compile and report annually to the Governor, the Legislature and the Advisory Council on Domestic Violence on the data tabulated from the records of these orders.

All records maintained pursuant to this act shall be confidential and shall not be made available to any individual or institution except as otherwise provided by law.

b. In addition to the provisions of subsection a. of this section, the Administrative Office of the Courts shall, with the assistance of the Attorney General and the county prosecutors, create and maintain uniform forms to record sentencing, bail conditions and dismissals. The forms shall be used by the Superior Court and by every municipal court to record any order in a case brought pursuant to this act. Such recording shall include but not be limited to, the specific restraints ordered, any requirements or conditions imposed on the defendant, and any conditions of bail.

2C:25-34. Domestic violence restraining orders, central registry.

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

The Administrative Office of the Courts shall establish and maintain a central registry of all persons who have had domestic violence restraining orders entered against them, all persons who have been charged with a crime or offense involving domestic violence, and all persons who have been charged with a violation of a court order involving domestic violence. All records made pursuant to this section shall be kept confidential and shall be released only to:

a. A public agency authorized to investigate a report of domestic violence;

b. A police or other law enforcement agency investigating a report of domestic violence, or conducting a background investigation involving a person’s application for a firearm permit or employment as a police or law enforcement officer or for any other purpose authorized by law or the Supreme Court of the State of New Jersey;

c. A court, upon its finding that access to such records may be necessary for determination of an issue before the court;

d. A surrogate, in that person’s official capacity as deputy clerk of the Superior Court, in order to prepare documents that may be necessary for a court to determine an issue in an adoption proceeding; or

e. The Division of Child Protection and Permanency in the Department of Children and Families when the division is conducting a background investigation involving:

(1) an allegation of child abuse or neglect, to include any adult member of the same household as the individual who is the subject of the abuse or neglect allegation; or

(2) an out-of-home placement for a child being placed by the Division of Child Protection and Permanency, to include any adult member of the prospective placement household.

Any individual, agency, surrogate, or court which receives from the Administrative Office of the Courts the records referred to in this section shall keep the records and reports, or parts thereof, confidential and shall not disseminate or disclose such records and reports, or parts thereof; provided that nothing in this section shall prohibit a receiving individual, agency, surrogate or court from disclosing records and reports, or parts thereof, in a manner consistent with and in furtherance of the purpose for which the records and reports or parts thereof were received.

Any individual who disseminates or discloses a record or report, or parts thereof, of the central registry, for a purpose other than investigating a report of domestic violence, conducting a background investigation involving a person’s application for a firearm permit or employment as a police or law enforcement officer, making a determination of an issue before the court, conducting a background investigation as specified in subsection e. of this section, or for any other purpose other than that which is authorized by law or the Supreme Court of the State of New Jersey, shall be guilty of a crime of the fourth degree.

2C:25-35. Rules of Court

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

The Supreme Court of New Jersey may adopt Rules of Court appropriate or necessary to effectuate the purposes of this act.

Part 4. Offenses Against Public Administration

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

Chapter 29. Obstructing Governmental Operations; Escape

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

2C:29-9. Contempt

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

Contempt. a. A person is guilty of a crime of the fourth degree if the person purposely or knowingly disobeys a judicial order or protective order, pursuant to section 1 of P.L.1985, c. 250 (C.2C:28-5.1), or hinders, obstructs, or impedes the effectuation of a judicial order or the exercise of jurisdiction over any person, thing, or controversy by a court, administrative body, or investigative entity.

b. (1) Except as provided in paragraph (2) of this subsection, a person is guilty of a crime of the fourth degree if that person purposely or knowingly violates any provision in an order entered under the provisions of the “Prevention of Domestic Violence Act of 1991,” P.L.1991, c. 261 (C.2C:25-17 et al.) or an order entered under the provisions of a substantially similar statute under the laws of another state or the United States when the conduct which constitutes the violation could also constitute a crime or a disorderly persons offense.

Orders entered pursuant to paragraphs (3), (4), (5), (8), and (9) of subsection b. of section 13 of P.L.1991, c. 261(C.2C:25-29) or substantially similar orders entered under the laws of another state or the United States shall be excluded from the provisions of this paragraph.

(2) In all other cases a person is guilty of a disorderly persons offense if that person purposely or knowingly violates an order entered under the provisions of the “Prevention of Domestic Violence Act of 1991,” P.L.1991, c. 261(C.2C:25-17 et al.) or an order entered under the provisions of a substantially similar statute under the laws of another state or the United States.

Orders entered pursuant to paragraphs (3), (4), (5), (8), and (9) of subsection b. of section 13 of P.L.1991, c. 261(C.2C:25-29) or substantially similar orders entered under the laws of another state or the United States shall be excluded from the provisions of this paragraph.

c. A person is guilty of a crime of the third degree if that person purposely or knowingly violates any provision in an order entered under the provisions of section 3 of P.L.1996, c. 39 (C.2C:12-10.1) or section 2 of P.L.1999, c. 47(C.2C:12-10.2) or an order entered under the provisions of a substantially similar statute under the laws of another state or the United States when the conduct which constitutes the violation could also constitute a crime or a disorderly persons offense.

d. (1) Except as provided in paragraph (2) of this subsection, a person is guilty of a crime of the fourth degree if that person purposely or knowingly violates any provision in an order entered under the provisions of P.L.2015, c. 147(C.2C:14-13 et al.) or an order entered under the provisions of a substantially similar statute under the laws of another state or the United States when the conduct which constitutes the violation could also constitute a crime or a disorderly persons offense.

(2) In all other cases a person is guilty of a disorderly persons offense if that person purposely or knowingly violates an order entered under the provisions of P.L.2015, c. 147 (C.2C:14-13 et al.) or an order entered under the provisions of a substantially similar statute under the laws of another state or the United States.

e. A person is guilty of a crime of the fourth degree if the person purposely or knowingly violates any provision of an order entered under the provisions of the “Extreme Risk Protective Order Act of 2018,” P.L.2018, c. 35 (C.2C:58-20et al.) or an order entered under the provisions of a substantially similar statute under the laws of another state or the United States.

As used in this section, “state” means a state of the United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the United States Virgin Islands, or any territory or insular possession subject to the jurisdiction of the United States. The term includes an Indian tribe or band, or Alaskan native village, which is recognized by a federal law or formally acknowledged by a state.

Part 5. Offenses Against Public Order, Health and Decency

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

Chapter 33. Riot, Disorderly Conduct, and Related Offenses

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

2C:33-4. Harassment

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

Except as provided in subsection e., a person commits a petty disorderly persons offense if, with purpose to harass another, he:

a. Makes, or causes to be made, a communication or communications anonymously or at extremely inconvenient hours, or in offensively coarse language, or any other manner likely to cause annoyance or alarm;

b. Subjects another to striking, kicking, shoving, or other offensive touching, or threatens to do so; or

c. Engages in any other course of alarming conduct or of repeatedly committed acts with purpose to alarm or seriously annoy such other person.

A communication under subsection a. may be deemed to have been made either at the place where it originated or at the place where it was received.

d. (Deleted by amendment, P.L.2001, c. 443).

e. A person commits a crime of the fourth degree if, in committing an offense under this section, he was serving a term of imprisonment or was on parole or probation as the result of a conviction of any indictable offense under the laws of this State, any other state or the United States.

2C:33-4.1. Cyber-harassment

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

a. A person commits the crime of cyber-harassment if, while making a communication in an online capacity via any electronic device or through a social networking site and with the purpose to harass another, the person:

(1) threatens to inflict injury or physical harm to any person or the property of any person;

(2) knowingly sends, posts, comments, requests, suggests, or proposes any lewd, indecent, or obscene material to or about a person with the intent to emotionally harm a reasonable person or place a reasonable person in fear of physical or emotional harm to his person; or

(3) threatens to commit any crime against the person or the person’s property.

b. Cyber-harassment is a crime of the fourth degree, unless the person is 21 years of age or older at the time of the offense and impersonates a minor for the purpose of cyber-harassing a minor, in which case it is a crime of the third degree.

c. If a minor under the age of 16 is adjudicated delinquent for cyber-harassment, the court may order as a condition of the sentence that the minor, accompanied by a parent or guardian, complete, in a satisfactory manner, one or both of the following:

(1) a class or training program intended to reduce the tendency toward cyber-harassment behavior; or

(2) a class or training program intended to bring awareness to the dangers associated with cyber-harassment.

d. A parent or guardian who fails to comply with a condition imposed by the court pursuant to subsection c. of this section is a disorderly person and shall be fined not more than $25 for a first offense and not more than $100 for each subsequent offense.

Chapter 39. Firearms, Other Dangerous Weapons and Instruments of Crime

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

2C:39-5. Unlawful possession of weapons

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

Unlawful possession of weapons. a. Machine guns. Any person who knowingly has in his possession a machine gun or any instrument or device adaptable for use as a machine gun, without being licensed to do so as provided in N.J.S.2C:58-5, is guilty of a crime of the second degree.
b. Handguns. (1) Any person who knowingly has in his possession any handgun, including any antique handgun, without first having obtained a permit to carry the same as provided in N.J.S.2C:58-4, is guilty of a crime of the second degree. (2) Ifthe handgun is in the nature of an air gun, spring gun or pistol or other weapon of a similar nature in which the propelling force is a spring, elastic band, carbon dioxide, compressed or other gas or vapor, air or compressed air, or is ignited by compressed air, and ejecting a bullet or missile smaller than three-eighths of an inch in diameter, with sufficient force to injure a person it is a crime of the third degree.
c. Rifles and shotguns. (1) Any person who knowingly has in his possession any rifle or shotgun without having first obtained a firearms purchaser identification card in accordance with the provisions of N.J.S.2C:58-3, is guilty of a crime of the third degree.
(2) Unless otherwise permitted by law, any person who knowingly has in his possession any loaded rifle or shotgun is guilty of a crime of the third degree.
d. Other weapons. Any person who knowingly has in his possession any other weapon under circumstances not manifestly appropriate for such lawful uses as it may have is guilty of a crime of the fourth degree.
e. Firearms or other weapons in educational institutions.
(1) Any person who knowingly has in his possession any firearm in or upon any part of the buildings or grounds of any school, college, university or other educational institution, without the written authorization of the governing officer of the institution, is guilty of a crime of the third degree, irrespective of whether he possesses a valid permit to carry the firearm or a valid firearms purchaser identification card.
(2) Any person who knowingly possesses any weapon enumerated in paragraphs (3) and (4) of subsection r. of N.J.S.2C:39-1 or any components which can readily be assembled into a firearm or other weapon enumerated in subsection r. of N.J.S.2C:39-1 or any other weapon under circumstances not manifestly appropriate for such lawful use as it may have, while in or upon any part of the buildings or grounds of any school, college, university or other educational institution without the written authorization of the governing officer of the institution is guilty of a crime of the fourth degree.
(3) Any person who knowingly has in his possession any imitation firearm in or upon any part of the buildings or grounds of any school, college, university or other educational institution, without the written authorization of the governing officer of the institution, or while on any school bus is a disorderly person, irrespective of whether he possesses a valid permit to carry a firearm or a valid firearms purchaser identification card.
f. Assault firearms. Any person who knowingly has in his possession an assault firearm is guilty of a crime of the second degree except if the assault firearm is licensed pursuant to N.J.S.2C:58-5; registered pursuant to section 11 of P.L.1990, c. 32 (C.2C:58-12); or rendered inoperable pursuant to section 12 of P.L.1990, c. 32(C.2C:58-13).
g. (1) The temporary possession of a handgun, rifle or shotgun by a person receiving, possessing, carrying or using the handgun, rifle, or shotgun under the provisions of section 1 of P.L.1992, c. 74 (C.2C:58-3.1) shall not be considered unlawful possession under the provisions of subsection b. or c. of this section.
(2) The temporary possession of a firearm by a person receiving, possessing, carrying or using the firearm under the provisions of section 1 of P.L.1997, c. 375(C.2C:58-3.2) shall not be considered unlawful possession under the provisions of this section.
h. A person who is convicted of a crime under subsection a., b., f. or j. of this section shall be ineligible for participation in any program of intensive supervision; provided, however, that this provision shall not apply to a crime under subsection b. involving only a handgun which is in the nature of an air gun, spring gun or pistol or other weapon of a similar nature in which the propelling force is a spring, elastic band, carbon dioxide, compressed or other gas or vapor, air or compressed air, or is ignited by compressed air, and ejecting a bullet or missile smaller than three-eighths of an inch in diameter, with sufficient force to injure a person.
i. A person convicted of violating subsection a., b. or f. of this section shall be sentenced by the court to a term of imprisonment, which shall include the imposition of a minimum term during which the defendant shall be ineligible for parole, if the court finds that the aggravating circumstance set forth in paragraph (5) of subsection a. of N.J.S.2C:44-1 applies. The minimum term of parole ineligibility shall be fixed at five years. The sentencing court shall make a finding on the record as to whether the aggravating circumstance set forth in paragraph (5) of subsection a. of N.J.S.2C:44-1 applies, and the court shall presume that there is a substantial likelihood that the defendant is involved in organized criminal activity if there is a substantial likelihood that the defendant is a member of an organization or group that engages in criminal activity. The prosecution at the sentencing hearing shall have the initial burden of producing evidence or information concerning the defendant’s membership in such an organization or group.
j. A violation of subsection a., b., c. or f. of this section by a person who has a prior conviction of any of the crimes enumerated in subsection d. of section 2 of P.L.1997, c. 117 (C.2C:43-7.2) is a first degree crime.

2C:39-7. Certain persons not to have weapons

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

Certain Persons Not to Have Weapons or Ammunition.

a. Except as provided in subsection b. of this section, any person, having been convicted in this State or elsewhere of the crime, or an attempt or conspiracy to commit the crime, of aggravated assault, arson, burglary, escape, extortion, homicide, kidnapping, robbery, aggravated sexual assault, sexual assault, bias intimidation in violation of N.J.S.2C:16-1, carjacking in violation of section 1 of P.L.1993, c. 221 (C.2C:15-2), gang criminality in violation of section 1 of P.L.2007, c. 341 (C.2C:33-29), racketeering in violation of N.J.S.2C:41-2, terroristic threats in violation of N.J.S.2C:12-3, unlawful possession of a machine gun in violation of subsection a. of N.J.S.2C:39-5, unlawful possession of a handgun in violation of paragraph (1) of subsection b. of N.J.S.2C:39-5, unlawful possession of an assault firearm in violation of subsection f. of N.J.S.2C:39-5, leader of firearms trafficking network in violation of section 1 of P.L.1995, c.405 (C.2C:39-16), or endangering the welfare of a child pursuant to N.J.S.2C:24-4, whether or not armed with or having in the person’s possession any weapon enumerated in subsection r. of N.J.S.2C:39-1, or any person convicted of a crime, or an attempt or conspiracy to commit a crime, pursuant to the provisions of N.J.S.2C:39-3, N.J.S.2C:39-4 or N.J. S.2C:39-9, or any person who has ever been committed for a mental disorder to any hospital, mental institution or sanitarium unless the person possesses a certificate of a medical doctor or psychiatrist licensed to practice in New Jersey or other satisfactory proof that the person is no longer suffering from a mental disorder which interferes with or handicaps the person in the handling of a firearm, or any person who has been convicted of an offense, or an attempt or conspiracy to commit an offense, for the unlawful use, possession or sale of a controlled dangerous substance as defined in N.J.S.2C:35-2, other than a disorderly persons or petty disorderly persons offense, who purchases, owns, possesses or controls any of the specified weapons or any ammunition as defined in section 2 of P.L.2018, c. 35 (C.2C:58-21) is guilty of a crime of the fourth degree.

b. (1) A person having been convicted in this State or elsewhere of the crime, or an attempt or conspiracy to commit the crime, of aggravated assault, arson, burglary, escape, extortion, homicide, kidnapping, robbery, aggravated sexual assault, sexual assault, bias intimidation in violation of N.J.S.2C:16-1, carjacking in violation of section 1 of P.L.1993, c. 221 (C.2C:15-2), gang criminality in violation of section 1 of P.L.2007, c. 341 (C.2C:33-29), racketeering in violation of N.J.S.2C:41-2, terroristic threats in violation of N.J.S.2C:12-3, unlawful possession of a machine gun in violation of subsection a. of N.J.S.2C:39-5, unlawful possession of a handgun in violation of paragraph (1) of subsection b. of N.J.S.2C:39-5, unlawful possession of an assault firearm in violation of subsection f. of N.J.S.2C:39-5, leader of firearms trafficking network in violation of section 1 of P.L.1995, c. 405 (C.2C:39-16), endangering the welfare of a child pursuant to N.J.S.2C:24-4, stalking pursuant to P.L.1992, c. 209 (C.2C:12-10) or a crime, or an attempt or conspiracy to commit a crime, involving domestic violence as defined in section 3 of P.L.1991, c. 261(C.2C:25-19), whether or not armed with or having in the person’s possession a weapon enumerated in subsection r. of N.J.S.2C:39-1, or a person having been convicted of a crime, or an attempt or conspiracy to commit a crime, pursuant to the provisions of N.J.S.2C:35-3 through N.J.S.2C:35-6, inclusive; section 1 of P.L.1987, c. 101 (C.2C:35-7); N.J.S.2C:35-11; N.J.S.2C:39-3; N.J.S.2C:39-4; or N.J.S.2C:39-9 who purchases, owns, possesses or controls a firearm is guilty of a crime of the second degree and upon conviction thereof, the person shall be sentenced to a term of imprisonment by the court. The term of imprisonment shall include the imposition of a minimum term, which shall be fixed at five years, during which the defendant shall be ineligible for parole. If the defendant is sentenced to an extended term of imprisonment pursuant to N.J.S.2C:43-7, the extended term of imprisonment shall include the imposition of a minimum term, which shall be fixed at, or between, one-third and one-half of the sentence imposed by the court or five years, whichever is greater, during which the defendant shall be ineligible for parole.

(2) A person having been convicted in this State or elsewhere of a disorderly persons offense involving domestic violence, whether or not armed with or having in the person’s possession a weapon enumerated in subsection r. of N.J.S.2C:39-1, who purchases, owns, possesses or controls a firearm or ammunition is guilty of a crime of the third degree.

(3) A person whose firearm is seized pursuant to the “Prevention of Domestic Violence Act of 1991,” P.L.1991, c. 261(C.2C:25-17 et seq.) and whose firearm has not been returned, or who is subject to a court order prohibiting the possession of firearms issued pursuant to the “Prevention of Domestic Violence Act of 1991,” P.L.1991, c. 261(C.2C:25-17 et seq.) who purchases, owns, possesses or controls a firearm or ammunition is guilty of a crime of the third degree, except that the provisions of this paragraph shall not apply to any law enforcement officer while actually on duty, or to any member of the Armed Forces of the United States or member of the National Guard while actually on duty or traveling to or from an authorized place of duty.

(4) A person who is subject to a court order prohibiting the custody, control, ownership, purchase, possession, or receipt of a firearm or ammunition issued pursuant to the “Extreme Risk Protective Order Act of 2018,” P.L.2018, c. 35 (C.2C:58-20 et al.) who purchases, acquires, owns, possesses, or controls a firearm or ammunition is guilty of a crime of the third degree.c. Whenever any person shall have been convicted in another state, territory, commonwealth or other jurisdiction of the United States, or any country in the world, in a court of competent jurisdiction, of a crime, or an attempt or conspiracy to commit a crime, which in the other jurisdiction or country is comparable to one of the crimes enumerated in subsection a. or b. of this section, then that person shall be subject to the provisions of this section.

Subtitle 3. Sentencing

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

Chapter 43. Authorized Disposition of Offenders

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

2C:43-3. Fines and restitution

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

A person who has been convicted of an offense may be sentenced to pay a fine, to make restitution, or both, such fine not to exceed:

a. (1) $200,000.00 when the conviction is of a crime of the first degree;

(2) $150,000.00 when the conviction is of a crime of the second degree;

b. (1) $15,000.00 when the conviction is of a crime of the third degree;

(2) $10,000.00 when the conviction is of a crime of the fourth degree;

c. $1,000.00, when the conviction is of a disorderly persons offense;

d. $500.00, when the conviction is of a petty disorderly persons offense;

e. Any higher amount equal to double the pecuniary gain to the offender or loss to the victim caused by the conduct constituting the offense by the offender. In such case the court shall make a finding as to the amount of the gain or loss, and if the record does not contain sufficient evidence to support such a finding the court may conduct a hearing upon the issue. For purposes of this section the term “gain” means the amount of money or the value of property derived by the offender and “loss” means the amount of value separated from the victim or the amount of any payment owed to the victim and avoided or evaded and includes any reasonable and necessary expense incurred by the owner in recovering or replacing lost, stolen or damaged property, or recovering any payment avoided or evaded, and, with respect to property of a research facility, includes the cost of repeating an interrupted or invalidated experiment or loss of profits. The term “victim” shall mean a person who suffers a personal physical or psychological injury or death or incurs loss of or injury to personal or real property as a result of a crime committed against that person, or in the case of a homicide, the nearest relative of the victim. The terms “gain” and “loss” shall also mean, where appropriate, the amount of any tax, fee, penalty and interest avoided, evaded, or otherwise unpaid or improperly retained or disposed of;

f. Any higher amount specifically authorized by another section of this code or any other statute;

g. Up to twice the amounts authorized in subsection a., b., c. or d. of this section, in the case of a second or subsequent conviction of any tax offense defined in Title 54 of the Revised Statutes or Title 54A of the New Jersey Statutes, as amended and supplemented, or of any offense defined in chapter 20 or 21 of this code;

h. In the case of violations of chapter 35, any higher amount equal to three times the street value of the controlled dangerous substance or controlled substance analog. The street value for purposes of this section shall be determined pursuant to subsection e. of N.J.S.2C:44-2.

The restitution ordered paid to the victim shall not exceed the victim’s loss, except that in any case involving the failure to pay any State tax, the amount of restitution to the State shall be the full amount of the tax avoided or evaded, including full civil penalties and interest as provided by law. In any case where the victim of the offense is any department or division of State government, the court shall order restitution to the victim. Any restitution imposed on a person shall be in addition to any fine which may be imposed pursuant to this section.

2C:43-6. Sentence of imprisonment for crime; ordinary terms; mandatory terms

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

a. Except as otherwise provided, a person who has been convicted of a crime may be sentenced to imprisonment, as follows:

(1) In the case of a crime of the first degree, for a specific term of years which shall be fixed by the court and shall be between 10 years and 20 years;

(2) In the case of a crime of the second degree, for a specific term of years which shall be fixed by the court and shall be between five years and 10 years;

(3) In the case of a crime of the third degree, for a specific term of years which shall be fixed by the court and shall be between three years and five years;

(4) In the case of a crime of the fourth degree, for a specific term which shall be fixed by the court and shall not exceed 18 months.

b. As part of a sentence for any crime, where the court is clearly convinced that the aggravating factors substantially outweigh the mitigating factors, as set forth in subsections a. and b. of 2C:44-1, or the court finds that the aggravating factor set forth in paragraph (5) of subsection a. of N.J.S.2C:44-1 applies, the court may fix a minimum term not to exceed one-half of the term set pursuant to subsection a., or one-half of the term set pursuant to a maximum period of incarceration for a crime set forth in any statute other than this code, during which the defendant shall not be eligible for parole; provided that no defendant shall be eligible for parole at a date earlier than otherwise provided by the law governing parole.

c. A person who has been convicted under subsection b. or d. of N.J.S.2C:39-3, subsection a. of N.J.S.2C:39-4, subsection a. of section 1 of P.L.1998, c. 26 (C.2C:39-4.1), subsection a., b., c., or f. of N.J.S.2C:39-5, subsection a. or paragraph (2) or (3) of subsection b. of section 6 of P.L.1979, c. 179 (C.2C:39-7), or subsection a., b., e. or g. of N.J.S.2C:39-9, or of a crime under any of the following sections: 2C:11-3, 2C:11-4, 2C:12-1b., 2C:13-1, 2C:14-2a., 2C:14-3a., 2C:15-1, 2C:18-2, 2C:29-5, who, while in the course of committing or attempting to commit the crime, including the immediate flight therefrom, used or was in possession of a firearm as defined in 2C:39-1f., shall be sentenced to a term of imprisonment by the court. The term of imprisonment shall include the imposition of a minimum term. The minimum term shall be fixed at one-half of the sentence imposed by the court or 42 months, whichever is greater, or 18 months in the case of a fourth degree crime, during which the defendant shall be ineligible for parole.

The minimum terms established by this section shall not prevent the court from imposing presumptive terms of imprisonment pursuant to 2C:44-1f. (1) except in cases of crimes of the fourth degree.

A person who has been convicted of an offense enumerated by this subsection and who used or possessed a firearm during its commission, attempted commission or flight therefrom and who has been previously convicted of an offense involving the use or possession of a firearm as defined in 2C:44-3d., shall be sentenced by the court to an extended term as authorized by 2C:43-7c., notwithstanding that extended terms are ordinarily discretionary with the court.

d. (1) The court shall not impose a mandatory sentence pursuant to subsection c. of this section, 2C:43-7c. or 2C:44-3d., unless the ground therefor has been established at a hearing. At the hearing, which may occur at the time of sentencing, the prosecutor shall establish by a preponderance of the evidence that the weapon used or possessed was a firearm. In making its finding, the court shall take judicial notice of any evidence, testimony or information adduced at the trial, plea hearing, or other court proceedings and shall also consider the presentence report and any other relevant information.

(2) The court shall not impose a mandatory sentence pursuant to subsection c. of this section for a violation of paragraph (2) of subsection b. of N.J.S.2C:39-5; a violation of paragraph (2) of subsection c. of N.J.S. 2C:39-5, if that rifle or shotgun is in the nature of an air gun, spring gun or pistol or other weapon of a similar nature in which the propelling force is a spring, elastic band, carbon dioxide, compressed or other gas or vapor, air or compressed air, or is ignited by compressed air, and ejecting a bullet or missile smaller than three-eighths of an inch in diameter, with sufficient force to injure a person; or a violation of paragraph (1) of subsection c. of N.J.S.2C:39-5.

e. A person convicted of a third or subsequent offense involving State taxes under N.J.S.2C:20-9, N.J.S.2C:21-15, any other provision of this code, or under any of the provisions of Title 54 of the Revised Statutes, or Title 54A of the New Jersey Statutes, as amended and supplemented, shall be sentenced to a term of imprisonment by the court. This shall not preclude an application for and imposition of an extended term of imprisonment under N.J.S.2C:44-3 if the provisions of that section are applicable to the offender.

f. A person convicted of manufacturing, distributing, dispensing or possessing with intent to distribute any dangerous substance or controlled substance analog under N.J.S.2C:35-5, of maintaining or operating a controlled dangerous substance production facility under N.J.S.2C:35-4, of employing a juvenile in a drug distribution scheme under N.J.S.2C:35-6, leader of a narcotics trafficking network under N.J.S.2C:35-3, or of distributing, dispensing or possessing with intent to distribute on or near school property or buses under section 1 of P.L.1987, c. 101 (C.2C:35-7), who has been previously convicted of manufacturing, distributing, dispensing or possessing with intent to distribute a controlled dangerous substance or controlled substance analog, shall upon application of the prosecuting attorney be sentenced by the court to an extended term as authorized by subsection c. of N.J.S.2C:43-7, notwithstanding that extended terms are ordinarily discretionary with the court. The term of imprisonment shall, except as may be provided in N.J.S.2C:35-12, include the imposition of a minimum term. The minimum term shall be fixed at, or between, one-third and one-half of the sentence imposed by the court or three years, whichever is greater, not less than seven years if the person is convicted of a violation of N.J.S.2C:35-6, or 18 months in the case of a fourth degree crime, during which the defendant shall be ineligible for parole.

The court shall not impose an extended term pursuant to this subsection unless the ground therefor has been established at a hearing. At the hearing, which may occur at the time of sentencing, the prosecutor shall establish the ground therefor by a preponderance of the evidence. In making its finding, the court shall take judicial notice of any evidence, testimony or information adduced at the trial, plea hearing, or other court proceedings and shall also consider the presentence report and any other relevant information.

For the purpose of this subsection, a previous conviction exists where the actor has at any time been convicted under chapter 35 of this title or Title 24 of the Revised Statutes or under any similar statute of the United States, this State, or any other state for an offense that is substantially equivalent to N.J.S.2C:35-3, N.J.S.2C:35-4, N.J.S.2C:35-5, N.J.S.2C:35-6 or section 1 of P.L.1987, c. 101 (C.2C:35-7).

g. Any person who has been convicted under subsection a. of N.J.S.2C:39-4 or of a crime under any of the following sections: N.J.S.2C:11-3, N.J.S.2C:11-4, N.J.S.2C:12-1b., N.J.S.2C:13-1, N.J.S.2C:14-2a., N.J.S.2C:14-3a., N.J.S.2C:15-1, N.J.S.2C:18-2, N.J.S.2C:29-5, N.J.S.2C:35-5 who, while in the course of committing or attempting to commit the crime, including the immediate flight therefrom, used or was in possession of a machine gun or assault firearm shall be sentenced to a term of imprisonment by the court. The term of imprisonment shall include the imposition of a minimum term. The minimum term shall be fixed at 10 years for a crime of the first or second degree, five years for a crime of the third degree, or 18 months in the case of a fourth degree crime, during which the defendant shall be ineligible for parole.

The minimum terms established by this section shall not prevent the court from imposing presumptive terms of imprisonment pursuant to paragraph (1) of subsection f. of N.J.S.2C:44-1 for crimes of the first degree.

A person who has been convicted of an offense enumerated in this subsection and who used or possessed a machine gun or assault firearm during its commission, attempted commission or flight therefrom and who has been previously convicted of an offense involving the use or possession of any firearm as defined in subsection d. of N.J.S.2C:44-3, shall be sentenced by the court to an extended term as authorized by subsection d. of N.J.S.2C:43-7, notwithstanding that extended terms are ordinarily discretionary with the court.

h. The court shall not impose a mandatory sentence pursuant to subsection g. of this section, subsection d. of N.J.S.2C:43-7 or N.J.S.2C:44-3, unless the ground therefor has been established at a hearing. At the hearing, which may occur at the time of sentencing, the prosecutor shall establish by a preponderance of the evidence that the weapon used or possessed was a machine gun or assault firearm. In making its finding, the court shall take judicial notice of any evidence, testimony or information adduced at the trial, plea hearing, or other court proceedings and shall also consider the presentence report and any other relevant information.

i. A person who has been convicted under paragraph (6) of subsection b. of 2C:12-1 of causing bodily injury while eluding shall be sentenced to a term of imprisonment by the court. The term of imprisonment shall include the imposition of a minimum term. The minimum term shall be fixed at, or between one-third and one-half of the sentence imposed by the court. The minimum term established by this subsection shall not prevent the court from imposing a presumptive term of imprisonment pursuant to paragraph (1) of subsection f. of 2C:44-1.

Chapter 58. Licensing and Other Provisions Relating to Firearms

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

2C:58-3. Purchase of firearms

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

a. Permit to purchase a handgun.

(1) No person shall sell, give, transfer, assign or otherwise dispose of, nor receive, purchase, or otherwise acquire a handgun unless the purchaser, assignee, donee, receiver or holder is licensed as a dealer under this chapter or has first secured a permit to purchase a handgun as provided by this section.

(2) A person who is not a licensed retail dealer and sells, gives, transfers, assigns, or otherwise disposes of, or receives, purchases or otherwise acquires a handgun pursuant to this section shall conduct the transaction through a licensed retail dealer.

The provisions of this paragraph shall not apply if the transaction is:

(a) between members of an immediate family as defined in subsection n. of this section;

(b) between law enforcement officers;

(c) between collectors of firearms or ammunition as curios or relics as defined in Title 18, U.S.C. section 921 (a) (13)who have in their possession a valid Collector of Curios and Relics License issued by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; or

(d) a temporary transfer pursuant to section 1 of P.L.1992, c. 74 (C.2C:58-3.1) or section 1 of P.L.1997, c. 375(C.2C:58-3.2).

(3) Prior to a transaction conducted pursuant to this subsection, the retail dealer shall complete a National Instant Criminal Background Check of the person acquiring the handgun. In addition:

(a) the retail dealer shall submit to the Superintendent of State Police, on a form approved by the superintendent, information identifying and confirming the background check;

(b) every retail dealer shall maintain a record of transactions conducted pursuant to this subsection, which shall be maintained at the address displayed on the retail dealer’s license for inspection by a law enforcement officer during reasonable hours;

(c) a retail dealer may charge a fee for a transaction conducted pursuant to this subsection; and

(d) any record produced pursuant to this subsection shall not be considered a public record pursuant to P.L.1963, c. 73 (C.47:1A-1 et seq.) or P.L.2001, c. 404 (C.47:1A-5 et al.).

b. Firearms purchaser identification card.

(1) No person shall sell, give, transfer, assign or otherwise dispose of nor receive, purchase or otherwise acquire an antique cannon or a rifle or shotgun, other than an antique rifle or shotgun, unless the purchaser, assignee, donee, receiver or holder is licensed as a dealer under this chapter or possesses a valid firearms purchaser identification card, and first exhibits the card to the seller, donor, transferor or assignor, and unless the purchaser, assignee, donee, receiver or holder signs a written certification, on a form prescribed by the superintendent, which shall indicate that he presently complies with the requirements of subsection c. of this section and shall contain his name, address and firearms purchaser identification card number or dealer’s registration number. The certification shall be retained by the seller, as provided in paragraph (4) of subsection a. of N.J.S.2C:58-2, or, in the case of a person who is not a dealer, it may be filed with the chief of police of the municipality in which he resides or with the superintendent.

(2) A person who is not a licensed retail dealer and sells, gives, transfers, assigns, or otherwise disposes of, or receives, purchases or otherwise acquires an antique cannon or a rifle or shotgun pursuant to this section shall conduct the transaction through a licensed retail dealer.

The provisions of this paragraph shall not apply if the transaction is:

(a) between members of an immediate family as defined in subsection n. of this section;

(b) between law enforcement officers;

(c) between collectors of firearms or ammunition as curios or relics as defined in Title 18, U.S.C. section 921 (a) (13)who have in their possession a valid Collector of Curios and Relics License issued by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; or

(d) a temporary transfer pursuant to section 1 of P.L.1992, c. 74 (C.2C:58-3.1) and section 1 of P.L.1997, c. 375(C.2C:58-3.2).

(3) Prior to a transaction conducted pursuant to this subsection, the retail dealer shall complete a National Instant Criminal Background Check of the person acquiring an antique cannon or a rifle or shotgun. In addition:

(a) the retail dealer shall submit to the Superintendent of State Police, on a form approved by the superintendent, information identifying and confirming the background check;

(b) every retail dealer shall maintain a record of transactions conducted pursuant to this section which shall be maintained at the address set forth on the retail dealer’s license for inspection by a law enforcement officer during reasonable hours;

(c) a retail dealer may charge a fee for a transaction conducted pursuant to this subsection; and

(d) any record produced pursuant to this subsection shall not be considered a public record pursuant to P.L.1963, c. 73 (C.47:1A-1 et seq.) or P.L.2001, c. 404 (C.47:1A-5 et al.).

c. Who may obtain. No person of good character and good repute in the community in which he lives, and who is not subject to any of the disabilities set forth in this section or other sections of this chapter, shall be denied a permit to purchase a handgun or a firearms purchaser identification card, except as hereinafter set forth. No handgun purchase permit or firearms purchaser identification card shall be issued:

(1) To any person who has been convicted of any crime, or a disorderly persons offense involving an act of domestic violence as defined in section 3 of P.L.1991, c. 261 (C.2C:25-19), whether or not armed with or possessing a weapon at the time of the offense;

(2) To any drug dependent person as defined in section 2 of P.L.1970, c. 226 (C.24:21-2), to any person who is confined for a mental disorder to a hospital, mental institution or sanitarium, or to any person who is presently an habitual drunkard;

(3) To any person who suffers from a physical defect or disease which would make it unsafe for him to handle firearms, to any person who has ever been confined for a mental disorder, or to any alcoholic unless any of the foregoing persons produces a certificate of a medical doctor or psychiatrist licensed in New Jersey, or other satisfactory proof, that he is no longer suffering from that particular disability in a manner that would interfere with or handicap him in the handling of firearms; to any person who knowingly falsifies any information on the application form for a handgun purchase permit or firearms purchaser identification card;

(4) To any person under the age of 18 years for a firearms purchaser identification card and to any person under the age of 21 years for a permit to purchase a handgun;

(5) To any person where the issuance would not be in the interest of the public health, safety or welfare;

(6) To any person who is subject to a restraining order issued pursuant to the “Prevention of Domestic Violence Act of 1991,” P.L.1991, c. 261 (C.2C:25-17 et seq.) prohibiting the person from possessing any firearm;

(7) To any person who as a juvenile was adjudicated delinquent for an offense which, if committed by an adult, would constitute a crime and the offense involved the unlawful use or possession of a weapon, explosive or destructive device or is enumerated in subsection d. of section 2 of P.L.1997, c. 117 (C.2C:43-7.2);

<Text of subsec. c.(8) effective until Sept. 1, 2019.>

(8) To any person whose firearm is seized pursuant to the “Prevention of Domestic Violence Act of 1991,” P.L.1991, c. 261 (C.2C:25-17 et seq.) and whose firearm has not been returned; or

<Text of subsec. c.(8) as amended by L.2018, c. 35, § 14, effective Sept. 1, 2019.>

(8) To any person whose firearm is seized pursuant to the “Prevention of Domestic Violence Act of 1991,” P.L.1991, c. 261 (C.2C:25-17 et seq.) and whose firearm has not been returned;

<Text of subsec. c.(9) effective until Sept. 1, 2019.>

(9) To any person named on the consolidated Terrorist Watchlist maintained by the Terrorist Screening Center administered by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

<Text of subsec. c.(9) as amended by L.2018, c. 35, § 14, effective Sept. 1, 2019.>

(9) To any person named on the consolidated Terrorist Watchlist maintained by the Terrorist Screening Center administered by the Federal Bureau of Investigation; or

<Text of subsec. c.(10) as added by L.2018, c. 35, § 14, effective Sept. 1, 2019.>

(10) To any person who is subject to a court order prohibiting the custody, control, ownership, purchase, possession, or receipt of a firearm or ammunition issued pursuant to the “Extreme Risk Protective Order Act of 2018,” P.L.2018, c. 35 (C.2C:58-20 et al.).

d. Issuance. The chief of police of an organized full-time police department of the municipality where the applicant resides or the superintendent, in all other cases, shall upon application, issue to any person qualified under the provisions of subsection c. of this section a permit to purchase a handgun or a firearms purchaser identification card.

Any person aggrieved by the denial of a permit or identification card may request a hearing in the Superior Court of the county in which he resides if he is a resident of New Jersey or in the Superior Court of the county in which his application was filed if he is a nonresident. The request for a hearing shall be made in writing within 30 days of the denial of the application for a permit or identification card. The applicant shall serve a copy of his request for a hearing upon the chief of police of the municipality in which he resides, if he is a resident of New Jersey, and upon the superintendent in all cases. The hearing shall be held and a record made thereof within 30 days of the receipt of the application for a hearing by the judge of the Superior Court. No formal pleading and no filing fee shall be required as a preliminary to a hearing. Appeals from the results of a hearing shall be in accordance with law.

<Text of introductory par. of subsec. e., effective until Sept. 1, 2019.>

e. Applications. Applications for permits to purchase a handgun and for firearms purchaser identification cards shall be in the form prescribed by the superintendent and shall set forth the name, residence, place of business, age, date of birth, occupation, sex and physical description, including distinguishing physical characteristics, if any, of the applicant, and shall state whether the applicant is a citizen, whether he is an alcoholic, habitual drunkard, drug dependent person as defined in section 2 of P.L.1970, c. 226 (C.24:21-2), whether he has ever been confined or committed to a mental institution or hospital for treatment or observation of a mental or psychiatric condition on a temporary, interim or permanent basis, giving the name and location of the institution or hospital and the dates of confinement or commitment, whether he has been attended, treated or observed by any doctor or psychiatrist or at any hospital or mental institution on an inpatient or outpatient basis for any mental or psychiatric condition, giving the name and location of the doctor, psychiatrist, hospital or institution and the dates of the occurrence, whether he presently or ever has been a member of any organization which advocates or approves the commission of acts of force and violence to overthrow the Government of the United States or of this State, or which seeks to deny others their rights under the Constitution of either the United States or the State of New Jersey, whether he has ever been convicted of a crime or disorderly persons offense, whether the person is subject to a restraining order issued pursuant to the “Prevention of Domestic Violence Act of 1991,” P.L.1991, c. 261 (C.2C:25-17 et seq.) prohibiting the person from possessing any firearm, and other information as the superintendent shall deem necessary for the proper enforcement of this chapter. For the purpose of complying with this subsection, the applicant shall waive any statutory or other right of confidentiality relating to institutional confinement. The application shall be signed by the applicant and shall contain as references the names and addresses of two reputable citizens personally acquainted with him.

<Text of introductory par. of subsec. e., as amended by L.2018, c. 35, § 14, effective Sept. 1, 2019.>

e. Applications. Applications for permits to purchase a handgun and for firearms purchaser identification cards shall be in the form prescribed by the superintendent and shall set forth the name, residence, place of business, age, date of birth, occupation, sex and physical description, including distinguishing physical characteristics, if any, of the applicant, and shall state whether the applicant is a citizen, whether he is an alcoholic, habitual drunkard, drug dependent person as defined in section 2 of P.L.1970, c. 226 (C.24:21-2), whether he has ever been confined or committed to a mental institution or hospital for treatment or observation of a mental or psychiatric condition on a temporary, interim or permanent basis, giving the name and location of the institution or hospital and the dates of confinement or commitment, whether he has been attended, treated or observed by any doctor or psychiatrist or at any hospital or mental institution on an inpatient or outpatient basis for any mental or psychiatric condition, giving the name and location of the doctor, psychiatrist, hospital or institution and the dates of the occurrence, whether he presently or ever has been a member of any organization which advocates or approves the commission of acts of force and violence to overthrow the Government of the United States or of this State, or which seeks to deny others their rights under the Constitution of either the United States or the State of New Jersey, whether he has ever been convicted of a crime or disorderly persons offense, whether the person is subject to a restraining order issued pursuant to the “Prevention of Domestic Violence Act of 1991,” P.L.1991, c. 261 (C.2C:25-17 et seq.) prohibiting the person from possessing any firearm, whether the person is subject to a protective order issued pursuant to the “Extreme Risk Protective Order Act of 2018,” P.L.2018, c. 35 (C.2C:58-20 et al.) prohibiting the person from possessing any firearm,and other information as the superintendent shall deem necessary for the proper enforcement of this chapter. For the purpose of complying with this subsection, the applicant shall waive any statutory or other right of confidentiality relating to institutional confinement. The application shall be signed by the applicant and shall contain as references the names and addresses of two reputable citizens personally acquainted with him.

Application blanks shall be obtainable from the superintendent, from any other officer authorized to grant a permit or identification card, and from licensed retail dealers.

The chief police officer or the superintendent shall obtain the fingerprints of the applicant and shall have them compared with any and all records of fingerprints in the municipality and county in which the applicant resides and also the records of the State Bureau of Identification and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, provided that an applicant for a handgun purchase permit who possesses a valid firearms purchaser identification card, or who has previously obtained a handgun purchase permit from the same licensing authority for which he was previously fingerprinted, and who provides other reasonably satisfactory proof of his identity, need not be fingerprinted again; however, the chief police officer or the superintendent shall proceed to investigate the application to determine whether or not the applicant has become subject to any of the disabilities set forth in this chapter.

f. Granting of permit or identification card; fee; term; renewal; revocation. The application for the permit to purchase a handgun together with a fee of $2, or the application for the firearms purchaser identification card together with a fee of $5, shall be delivered or forwarded to the licensing authority who shall investigate the same and, unless good cause for the denial thereof appears, shall grant the permit or the identification card, or both, if application has been made therefor, within 30 days from the date of receipt of the application for residents of this State and within 45 days for nonresident applicants. A permit to purchase a handgun shall be valid for a period of 90 days from the date of issuance and may be renewed by the issuing authority for good cause for an additional 90 days. A firearms purchaser identification card shall be valid until such time as the holder becomes subject to any of the disabilities set forth in subsection c. of this section, whereupon the card shall be void and shall be returned within five days by the holder to the superintendent, who shall then advise the licensing authority. Failure of the holder to return the firearms purchaser identification card to the superintendent within the five days shall be an offense under subsection a. of N.J.S.2C:39-10. Any firearms purchaser identification card may be revoked by the Superior Court of the county wherein the card was issued, after hearing upon notice, upon a finding that the holder thereof no longer qualifies for the issuance of the permit. The county prosecutor of any county, the chief police officer of any municipality or any citizen may apply to the court at any time for the revocation of the card.

There shall be no conditions or requirements added to the form or content of the application, or required by the licensing authority for the issuance of a permit or identification card, other than those that are specifically set forth in this chapter.

g. Disposition of fees. All fees for permits shall be paid to the State Treasury if the permit is issued by the superintendent, to the municipality if issued by the chief of police, and to the county treasurer if issued by the judge of the Superior Court.

h. Form of permit; quadruplicate; disposition of copies. The permit shall be in the form prescribed by the superintendent and shall be issued to the applicant in quadruplicate. Prior to the time he receives the handgun from the seller, the applicant shall deliver to the seller the permit in quadruplicate and the seller shall complete all of the information required on the form. Within five days of the date of the sale, the seller shall forward the original copy to the superintendent and the second copy to the chief of police of the municipality in which the purchaser resides, except that in a municipality having no chief of police, the copy shall be forwarded to the superintendent. The third copy shall then be returned to the purchaser with the pistol or revolver and the fourth copy shall be kept by the seller as a permanent record.

i. Restriction on number of firearms person may purchase. Only one handgun shall be purchased or delivered on each permit and no more than one handgun shall be purchased within any 30-day period, but this limitation shall not apply to:

(1) a federal, State, or local law enforcement officer or agency purchasing handguns for use by officers in the actual performance of their law enforcement duties;

(2) a collector of handguns as curios or relics as defined in Title 18, United States Code, section 921 (a) (13) who has in his possession a valid Collector of Curios and Relics License issued by the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives;

(3) transfers of handguns among licensed retail dealers, registered wholesale dealers and registered manufacturers;

(4) transfers of handguns from any person to a licensed retail dealer or a registered wholesale dealer or registered manufacturer;

(5) any transaction where the person has purchased a handgun from a licensed retail dealer and has returned that handgun to the dealer in exchange for another handgun within 30 days of the original transaction, provided the retail dealer reports the exchange transaction to the superintendent; or

(6) any transaction where the superintendent issues an exemption from the prohibition in this subsection pursuant to the provisions of section 4 of P.L.2009, c. 186 (C.2C:58-3.4).

The provisions of this subsection shall not be construed to afford or authorize any other exemption from the regulatory provisions governing firearms set forth in chapter 39 and chapter 58 of Title 2C of the New Jersey Statutes;

A person shall not be restricted as to the number of rifles or shotguns he may purchase, provided he possesses a valid firearms purchaser identification card and provided further that he signs the certification required in subsection b. of this section for each transaction.

j. Firearms passing to heirs or legatees. Notwithstanding any other provision of this section concerning the transfer, receipt or acquisition of a firearm, a permit to purchase or a firearms purchaser identification card shall not be required for the passing of a firearm upon the death of an owner thereof to his heir or legatee, whether the same be by testamentary bequest or by the laws of intestacy. The person who shall so receive, or acquire the firearm shall, however, be subject to all other provisions of this chapter. If the heir or legatee of the firearm does not qualify to possess or carry it, he may retain ownership of the firearm for the purpose of sale for a period not exceeding 180 days, or for a further limited period as may be approved by the chief law enforcement officer of the municipality in which the heir or legatee resides or the superintendent, provided that the firearm is in the custody of the chief law enforcement officer of the municipality or the superintendent during that period.

k. Sawed-off shotguns. Nothing in this section shall be construed to authorize the purchase or possession of any sawed-off shotgun.

l. Nothing in this section and in N.J.S.2C:58-2 shall apply to the sale or purchase of a visual distress signalling device approved by the United States Coast Guard, solely for possession on a private or commercial aircraft or any boat; provided, however, that no person under the age of 18 years shall purchase nor shall any person sell to a person under the age of 18 years a visual distress signalling device.

m. The provisions of subsections a. and b. of this section and paragraphs (4) and (5) of subsection a. of N.J.S.2C:58-2shall not apply to the purchase of firearms by a law enforcement agency for use by law enforcement officers in the actual performance of the officers’ official duties, which purchase may be made directly from a manufacturer or from a licensed dealer located in this State or any other state.

n. For the purposes of this section, “immediate family” means a spouse, domestic partner as defined in section 3 ofP.L.2003, c. 246 (C.26:8A-3), partner in a civil union couple as defined in section 2 of P.L.2006, c. 103 (C.37:1-29), parent, stepparent, grandparent, sibling, stepsibling, child, stepchild, and grandchild, as related by blood or by law.

2C:58-4. Permits to carry handguns

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

a. Scope and duration of authority. Any person who holds a valid permit to carry a handgun issued pursuant to this section shall be authorized to carry a handgun in all parts of this State, except as prohibited by subsection e. ofN.J.S.2C:39-5. One permit shall be sufficient for all handguns owned by the holder thereof, but the permit shall apply only to a handgun carried by the actual and legal holder of the permit.

All permits to carry handguns shall expire two years from the date of issuance or, in the case of an employee of an armored car company, upon termination of his employment by the company occurring prior thereto whichever is earlier in time, and they may thereafter be renewed every two years in the same manner and subject to the same conditions as in the case of original applications.

b. Application forms. All applications for permits to carry handguns, and all applications for renewal of permits, shall be made on the forms prescribed by the superintendent. Each application shall set forth the full name, date of birth, sex, residence, occupation, place of business or employment, and physical description of the applicant, and any other information the superintendent may prescribe for the determination of the applicant’s eligibility for a permit and for the proper enforcement of this chapter. The application shall be signed by the applicant under oath, and shall be indorsed by three reputable persons who have known the applicant for at least three years preceding the date of application, and who shall certify thereon that the applicant is a person of good moral character and behavior.

c. Investigation and approval. Each application shall in the first instance be submitted to the chief police officer of the municipality in which the applicant resides, or to the superintendent, (1) if the applicant is an employee of an armored car company, or (2) if there is no chief police officer in the municipality where the applicant resides, or (3) if the applicant does not reside in this State. The chief police officer, or the superintendent, as the case may be, shall cause the fingerprints of the applicant to be taken and compared with any and all records maintained by the municipality, the county in which it is located, the State Bureau of Identification and the Federal Bureau of Identification. He shall also determine and record a complete description of each handgun the applicant intends to carry.

No application shall be approved by the chief police officer or the superintendent unless the applicant demonstrates that he is not subject to any of the disabilities set forth in subsection c. of N.J.S.2C:58-3, that he is thoroughly familiar with the safe handling and use of handguns, and that he has a justifiable need to carry a handgun.

Each application form shall be accompanied by a written certification of justifiable need to carry a handgun, which shall be under oath and, in the case of a private citizen, shall specify in detail the urgent necessity for self-protection, as evidenced by specific threats or previous attacks which demonstrate a special danger to the applicant’s life that cannot be avoided by means other than by issuance of a permit to carry a handgun. Where possible, the applicant shall corroborate the existence of any specific threats or previous attacks by reference to reports of the incidents to the appropriate law enforcement agencies.

If the application is not approved by the chief police officer or the superintendent within 60 days of filing, it shall be deemed to have been approved, unless the applicant agrees to an extension of time in writing.

d. Issuance by Superior Court; fee. If the application has been approved by the chief police officer or the superintendent, as the case may be, the applicant shall forthwith present it to the Superior Court of the county in which the applicant resides, or to the Superior Court in any county where he intends to carry a handgun, in the case of a nonresident or employee of an armored car company. The court shall issue the permit to the applicant if, but only if, it is satisfied that the applicant is a person of good character who is not subject to any of the disabilities set forth in subsection c. of N.J.S.2C:58-3, that he is thoroughly familiar with the safe handling and use of handguns, and that he has a justifiable need to carry a handgun in accordance with the provisions of subsection c. of this section. The court may at its discretion issue a limited-type permit which would restrict the applicant as to the types of handguns he may carry and where and for what purposes the handguns may be carried. At the time of issuance, the applicant shall pay to the county clerk of the county where the permit was issued a permit fee of $20.

e. Appeals from denial of applications. Any person aggrieved by the denial by the chief police officer or the superintendent of approval for a permit to carry a handgun may request a hearing in the Superior Court of the county in which he resides or in any county in which he intends to carry a handgun, in the case of a nonresident, by filing a written request for a hearing within 30 days of the denial. Copies of the request shall be served upon the superintendent, the county prosecutor, and the chief police officer of the municipality where the applicant resides, if he is a resident of this State. The hearing shall be held within 30 days of the filing of the request, and no formal pleading or filing fee shall be required. Appeals from the determination at the hearing shall be in accordance with law and the rules governing the courts of this State.

If the superintendent or chief police officer approves an application and the Superior Court denies the application and refuses to issue a permit, the applicant may appeal the denial in accordance with law and the rules governing the courts of this State.

f. Revocation of permits. Any permit issued under this section shall be void at the time the holder thereof becomes subject to any of the disabilities set forth in subsection c. of N.J.S.2C:58-3, and the holder of a void permit shall immediately surrender the permit to the superintendent who shall give notice to the licensing authority.

Any permit may be revoked by the Superior Court, after hearing upon notice to the holder, if the court finds that the holder is no longer qualified for the issuance of a permit. The county prosecutor of any county, the chief police officer of any municipality, the superintendent, or any citizen may apply to the court at any time for the revocation of any permit issued pursuant to this section.

2C:58-21. Definitions

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

As used in P.L.2018, c. 35 (C.2C:58-20 et al.):

“Ammunition” means ammunition or cartridge cases, primers, bullets, or propellant powder designed for use in any firearm, but does not include any shotgun shot or pellet not designed for use as the single, complete projectile load for one shotgun hull or casing or any unloaded, non-metallic shotgun hull or casing not having a primer.

“Deadly weapon” shall have the same meaning as in subsection c. of N.J.S.2C:11-1.

“Family or household member” means a spouse, domestic partner as defined in section 3 of P.L.2003, c. 246(C.26:8A-3), partner in a civil union couple as defined in section 2 of P.L.2006, c. 103 (C.37:1-29), or former spouse, former domestic partner, or former partner in a civil union couple, or any other person who is a present household member or was at any time a household member; a person with whom the respondent has a child in common, or with whom the respondent anticipates having a child in common if one of the parties is pregnant; or a current or former dating partner.

“Firearm” shall have the same meaning as in N.J.S.2C:39-1.

“Law enforcement agency” means a department, division, bureau, commission, board or other authority of the State or of any political subdivision thereof which employs law enforcement officers.

“Law enforcement officer” means a person whose public duties include the power to act as an officer for the detection, apprehension, arrest, and conviction of offenders against the laws of this State.

“Petitioner” means a family or household member or law enforcement officer.

“Recent” means within six months prior to the date the petition was filed.

2C:58-23. Petition for temporary extreme risk protective order; affidavit or examination under oath of petitioner and witnesses; fees; notice

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

a. Except as provided in subsection l. of this section, a petitioner may file a petition, as prescribed by the Administrative Director of the Courts, for a temporary extreme risk protective order in the court in accordance with the Rules of Court alleging that the respondent poses a significant danger of bodily injury to self or others by having custody or control of, owning, possessing, purchasing, or receiving a firearm. The petition shall be heard by the court in an expedited manner.

Petition forms shall be readily available at the courts, and at State, county, and municipal law enforcement agencies.

Prior to filing a petition with the court, a family or household member may request assistance from a State, county, or municipal law enforcement agency which shall advise the petitioner of the procedure for completing and signing a petition for a temporary extreme risk protective order. A law enforcement officer from the agency may assist the family or household member in preparing or filing the petition. This assistance may include, but not be limited to, providing information related to the factors set forth in subsection f. of this section, joining in the petition, referring the matter to another law enforcement agency for additional assistance, or filing the officer’s own petition with the court.

Filing a petition pursuant to this section shall not prevent a petitioner from filing a criminal complaint or applying for a restraining order pursuant to the “Prevention of Domestic Violence Act of 1991,” P.L. 1991, c. 261 (C.2C:25-17 et seq.) or prevent any person from taking any action authorized pursuant to P.L.1987, c. 116 (C.30:4-27.1 et seq.) based on the circumstances forming the basis of the petition.

A petitioner may apply for relief under this section in accordance with the Rules of Court.

b. A petition for a temporary extreme risk protective order shall include an affidavit setting forth the facts tending to establish the grounds of the petition, or the reason for believing that they exist, and, to the extent available, the number, types, physical description, and locations of any firearms and ammunition currently believed by the petitioner to be controlled or possessed by the respondent.

c. The court shall not charge a fee to file the petition.

d. The court, before issuing a temporary extreme risk protective order, shall examine under oath the petitioner and any witness the petitioner may produce. The court, in lieu of examining the petitioner and any witness, may rely on an affidavit submitted in support of the petition.

e. A judge shall issue the order if the court finds good cause to believe that the respondent poses an immediate and present danger of causing bodily injury to the respondent or others by having custody or control of, owning, possessing, purchasing, or receiving a firearm.

f. The county prosecutor or a designee of the county prosecutor shall produce in an expedited manner any available evidence including, but not limited to, available evidence related to the factors set forth in this section, and the court shall consider whether the respondent:

(1) has any history of threats or acts of violence by the respondent directed toward self or others;

(2) has any history of use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force by the respondent against another person;

(3) is the subject of a temporary or final restraining order or has violated a temporary or final restraining order issued pursuant to the “Prevention of Domestic Violence Act of 1991,” P.L.1991, c. 261 (C.2C:25-17 et seq.);

(4) is the subject of a temporary or final protective order or has violated a temporary or final protective order issued pursuant to the “Sexual Assault Survivor Protection Act of 2015,” P.L.2015, c. 147 (C.2C:14-13 et al.);

(5) has any prior arrests, pending charges, or convictions for a violent indictable crime or disorderly persons offense, stalking offense pursuant to section 1 of P.L.1992, c. 209 (C.2C:12-10), or domestic violence offense enumerated in section 3 of P.L.1991, c. 261 (C.2C:25-19);

(6) has any prior arrests, pending charges, or convictions for any offense involving cruelty to animals or any history of acts involving cruelty to animals;

(7) has any history of drug or alcohol abuse and recovery from this abuse; or

(8) has recently acquired a firearm, ammunition, or other deadly weapon.

g. The temporary extreme risk protective order shall prohibit the respondent from having custody or control of, owning, purchasing, possessing, or receiving firearms or ammunition, and from securing or holding a firearms purchaser identification card or permit to purchase a handgun pursuant to N.J.S.2C:58-3, or a permit to carry a handgun pursuant to N.J.S.2C:58-4 during the period the protective order is in effect and shall order the respondent to surrender firearms and ammunition in the respondent’s custody or control, or which the respondent possesses or owns, and any firearms purchaser identification card, permit to purchase a handgun, or permit to carry a handgun held by the respondent in accordance with section 7 of P.L.2018, c. 35 (C.2C:58-26). Any card or permit issued to the respondent shall be immediately revoked pursuant to subsection f. of N.J.S.2C:58-3.

h. A temporary extreme risk protective order issued under this section shall remain in effect until a court issues a further order.

i. The court that issues the temporary extreme risk protective order shall immediately forward:

(1) a copy of the order to the petitioner and county prosecutor in the county in which the respondent resides; and

(2) a copy of the order and the petition to the appropriate law enforcement agency in the municipality in which the respondent resides, which shall immediately, or as soon as practicable, serve it on the respondent.

If personal service cannot be effected upon the respondent, the court may order other appropriate substituted service. At no time shall a petitioner who is a family or household member be asked or required to serve any order on the respondent. The law enforcement agency serving the order shall not charge a fee or seek reimbursement from the petitioner for service of the order.

j. Notice of temporary extreme risk protective orders issued pursuant to this section shall be sent by the county prosecutor to the appropriate chiefs of police, members of the State Police, and any other appropriate law enforcement agency or court.

k. Any temporary extreme risk protective order issued pursuant to this section shall be in effect throughout the State, and shall be enforced by all law enforcement officers.

l. (1) A petition for a temporary extreme risk protective order filed against a law enforcement officer shall be filed in the law enforcement agency in which the officer is employed. The law enforcement officer or employee receiving the petition shall advise the petitioner of the procedure for completing and signing a petition.

(2) Upon receipt of the petition, the law enforcement officer’s employer shall immediately initiate an internal affairs investigation.

(3) The disposition of the internal affairs investigation shall immediately be served upon the county prosecutor who shall make a determination whether to refer the matter to the courts.

(4) The law enforcement officer’s employer shall take appropriate steps to implement any findings set forth in the disposition of the internal affairs investigation.

The law enforcement officer shall not be terminated during the pendency of the internal affairs investigation.

2C:58-24. Hearing for a final extreme risk protective order; evidence

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

a. A hearing for a final extreme risk protective order shall be held in the Superior Court in accordance with the Rules of Court within 10 days of the filing of a petition pursuant to subsection a. of section 4 of P.L.2018, c.35 (C.2C:58-23). A copy of the petition shall be served on the respondent in accordance with the Rules of Court.

b. The county prosecutor shall produce in an expedited manner any available evidence including, but not limited to, evidence related to the factors enumerated in subsection f. of section 4 of P.L.2018, c. 35 (C.2C:58-23). If the court finds by a preponderance of the evidence at the hearing that the respondent poses a significant danger of bodily injury to the respondent’s self or others by having custody or control of, owning, possessing, purchasing, or receiving a firearm, the court shall issue an extreme risk protective order.

c. When deciding whether to issue the order, the court shall consider the factors enumerated in subsection f. of section 4 of P.L.2018, c. 35 (C.2C:58-23), as well as any other relevant evidence.

d. An extreme risk protective order issued pursuant to this section shall prohibit the respondent from having custody or control of, owning, purchasing, possessing, or receiving a firearm. A respondent who is a law enforcement officer shall be subject to the provisions of subsection l. of section 4 of P.L.2018, c. 35 (C.2C:58-23).

2C:58-25. Termination of final extreme risk protective order

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

Upon request of the petitioner or respondent, in a form prescribed by the Administrative Office of the Courts, the court may terminate a final extreme risk protective order issued pursuant to section 5 of P.L.2018, c. 35 (C.2C:58-24) if:

a. the petitioner or respondent, as the case may be, has received notice in accordance with the Rules of Court;

b. the appropriate law enforcement agency and the county prosecutor have been notified; and

c. a hearing has been held by the court.

The petition for termination of the order may be filed at any time following the issuance of the order. During the hearing, the court shall consider the factors enumerated in subsection f. of section 4 of P.L.2018, c. 35 (C.2C:58-23), as well as any other relevant evidence including, but not limited to, whether the respondent has received, or is receiving, mental health treatment.

If the respondent petitioned for termination, the respondent shall bear the burden at the hearing of proving by a preponderance of the evidence that the respondent no longer poses a significant danger of causing bodily injury to the respondent’s self or to other persons by having custody or control of, owning, possessing, purchasing, or receiving a firearm.

2C:58-26. Temporary or final extreme risk protective order; surrender of firearms and ammunition; search warrant; petition for return of surrendered firearms or ammunition

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

a. When a temporary or final extreme risk protective order is issued pursuant to section 4 or 5 of P.L.2018, c. 35(C.2C:58-23 or C.2C:58-24), the court shall order the respondent to surrender to the local law enforcement agency all firearms and ammunition in the respondent’s custody or control, or which the respondent owns or possesses, and any firearms purchaser identification card, permit to purchase a handgun, or permit to carry a handgun held by the respondent. The court also shall notify the respondent that the respondent is prohibited from purchasing firearms or ammunition or applying for a firearms purchaser identification card, permit to purchase a handgun, or permit to carry a handgun.

b. If the petition for the temporary extreme risk protective order indicates that the respondent owns or possesses any firearms or ammunition, the court shall issue a search warrant with the temporary or final extreme risk protective order and the law enforcement officer who serves the order shall request that all firearms and ammunition immediately be surrendered.

(1) The respondent immediately shall surrender, in a safe manner, all firearms and ammunition in the respondent’s custody or control, or which the respondent owns or possesses, and any firearms purchaser identification card, permit to purchase a handgun, or permit to carry a handgun held by the respondent to the control of the law enforcement officer.

(2) The respondent may request that the law enforcement agency sell all firearms and ammunition in a safe manner to a federally licensed firearms dealer pursuant to section 8 of P.L.2018, c. 35 (C.2C:58-27).

(3) The law enforcement officer or licensed firearms dealer taking possession of any firearms or ammunition pursuant to this subsection shall issue a receipt identifying all firearms and ammunition that have been surrendered by the respondent. The officer or dealer shall provide a copy of the receipt to the respondent at the time of surrender.

(4) If the respondent surrenders firearms and ammunition to a law enforcement officer pursuant to paragraph (1) of this subsection or surrenders or sells firearms and ammunition to a licensed dealer pursuant to paragraph (2) of this subsection, the respondent shall, within 48 hours after being served with the order, file the receipt with the county prosecutor. Failure to timely file the receipt or copy of the receipt shall constitute contempt of the order.

c. The court which issued the protective order may issue a search warrant for a firearm or ammunition that is in the custody or control of, owned, or possessed by a respondent who is subject to a temporary or final protective order issued pursuant to section 4 or 5 of P.L.2018, c. 35 (C.2C:58-23 or C.2C:58-24) if the respondent has lawfully been served with that order and has failed to surrender the firearm or ammunition as required by this section.

d. The respondent may petition the agency for the return of any surrendered firearms or ammunition upon termination of an order pursuant to section 6 of P.L.2018, c. 35 (C.2C:58-25). Within 30 days of receiving a petition for the return of surrendered firearms or ammunition and after the termination of the order, the agency shall return the firearm or ammunition unless:

(1) the firearm has been reported as stolen; or

(2) the respondent is prohibited from possessing a firearm under State or federal law.

Nothing in this act shall prohibit revocation and seizure of a person’s firearms purchaser identification card, permit to purchase a handgun, permit to carry a handgun, and weapons as authorized pursuant to applicable law.

e. If a person other than the respondent claims title to any firearm or ammunition surrendered pursuant to this section, and the law enforcement agency determines that the person is the lawful owner of the firearm or ammunition, the firearm or ammunition shall be returned to that person.

f. If the respondent has surrendered a firearm or ammunition to a federally licensed firearms dealer, after termination of the order, the respondent may request the law enforcement agency, in writing, to authorize the return of the firearm or ammunition from the dealer. The dealer shall transfer the firearm or ammunition to the respondent in accordance with procedures required when a firearm or ammunition is being sold from the dealer’s inventory in accordance with N.J.S.2C:58-2.

2C:58-29. Violation of order; contempt proceedings

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

A violation by the respondent of an order issued pursuant to section 4 or 5 of P.L.2018, c. 35 (C.2C:58-23 or C.2C:58-24) shall constitute an offense under subsection e. of N.J.S.2C:29-9 and each order shall so state. All contempt proceedings conducted pursuant to N.J.S.2C:29-9 involving an extreme risk protective order shall be heard by the Superior Court. All contempt proceedings brought pursuant to P.L.2018, c. 35 (C.2C:58-20 et al.) shall be made in accordance with the Rules of Court.

Chapter 64. Forfeiture

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

2C:64-6. Disposal of forfeited property

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

Disposal of Forfeited Property. a. Property which has been forfeited shall be destroyed if it can serve no lawful purpose or it presents a danger to the public health, safety or welfare. All other forfeited property or any proceeds resulting from the forfeiture and all money seized pursuant to this chapter shall become the property of the entity funding the prosecuting agency involved and shall be disposed of, distributed, appropriated and used in accordance with the provisions of this chapter.
The prosecutor or the Attorney General, whichever is prosecuting the case, shall divide the forfeited property, any proceeds resulting from the forfeiture or any money seized pursuant to this chapter with any other entity where the other entity’s law enforcement agency participated in the surveillance, investigation, arrest or prosecution resulting in the forfeiture, in proportion to the other entity’s contribution to the surveillance, investigation, arrest or prosecution resulting in the forfeiture, as determined in the discretion of the prosecutor or the Attorney General, whichever is prosecuting the case. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, such forfeited property and proceeds shall be used solely for law enforcement purposes, and shall be designated for the exclusive use of the law enforcement agency which contributed to the surveillance, investigation, arrest or prosecution resulting in the forfeiture.
The Attorney General is authorized to promulgate rules and regulations to implement and enforce the provisions of this act.
b. For a period of two years from the date of enactment of P.L.1993, c. 227 (C. 26:4-100.13 et al.), 10% of the proceeds obtained by the Attorney General under the provisions of subsection a. of this section shall be deposited into the Hepatitis Inoculation Fund established pursuant to section 2 of P.L.1993, c. 227 (C. 26:4-100.13).
c. Beginning two years from the date of enactment of P.L.1993, c. 227 (C.26:4-100.13 et al.) and in subsequent years, 5% of the proceeds obtained by the Attorney General under the provisions of subsection a. of this section shall be deposited into the Hepatitis Inoculation Fund established pursuant to section 2 of P.L.1993, c. 227(C.26:4-100.13).

Title 9. Children--Juvenile and Domestic Relations Courts

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

Subtitle 1. Parental Relationship and Care, Custody, Guardianship and Support of Children in General

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

Chapter 2. Care, Custody, Guardianship and Support of Children in General

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

Article 1/2 . Custody in General

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

9:2-1. Custody of children of parents divorced in another state or country; action in Superior Court; notice to persons interested; judgment; exclusion from hearing; records not open to public inspection

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

After a divorce adjudged in any other State or country, if minor children of the marriage are inhabitants of this State, the Superior Court, in an action brought by either parent or by a guardian ad litem in behalf of the children, such notice being given to parents as the court shall direct, may make such judgment concerning their care, custody, education and maintenance as if the divorce had been obtained in this State. If the minor child or minor children have not, at the commencement of the action, reached the age of sixteen years, and if it is represented to the court by affidavit or under oath that evidence will be adduced involving the moral turpitude of either parent, or of such minor child or children, or that evidence will be adduced which may reflect upon the good reputation or social standing of the child or children, then the court shall admit to the hearing of such case only such persons as are directly interested in the matter being then heard. The records of such proceedings, including all papers filed with the court, shall be withheld from indiscriminate public inspection, but shall be open to inspection by the parents, or their attorneys, and to no other person or persons except by order of the court made for that purpose.

9:2-2. Custody of children of divorced or separated parents within jurisdiction of Superior Court; removal from jurisdiction; consent; security

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

When the Superior Court has jurisdiction over the custody and maintenance of the minor children of parents divorced, separated or living separate, and such children are natives of this State, or have resided five years within its limits, they shall not be removed out of its jurisdiction against their own consent, if of suitable age to signify the same, nor while under that age without the consent of both parents, unless the court, upon cause shown, shall otherwise order. The court, upon application of any person in behalf of such minors, may require such security and issue such writs and processes as shall be deemed proper to effect the purposes of this section.

9:2-3. Custody of child of parents living separately; action in Superior Court; powers of court; judgments; temporary custody; exclusion from hearing; records not open to public inspection

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

When the parents of a minor child live separately, or are about to do so, the Superior Court, in an action brought by either parent, shall have the same power to make judgments or orders concerning care, custody, education and maintenance as concerning a minor child whose parents are divorced. Until the court determines the final custody of the minor child and unless the parties agree otherwise, the court shall determine temporary custody based upon the best interests of the child with due regard to the caretaking arrangement that previously existed. No child shall be taken forcibly or against the will of the parent having custody by the other parent without a court order. If the child has not, at the time of the commencement of the action, reached the age of 16 years, and if it is represented to the court by affidavit or under oath that evidence will be adduced involving the moral turpitude of either parent, or of the minor child, or that evidence will be adduced which may reflect upon the good reputation or social standing of the child, then the court shall admit to the hearing of such case only such persons as are directly interested in the matter then being heard. The records of such proceedings, including all papers filed with the court, shall be withheld from indiscriminate public inspection, but shall be open to inspection by the parents, or their attorneys, and to no other person except by order of the court made for that purpose.

9:2-4. Legislative findings and declarations; parents' right to custody equal; custody order; factors; guardian ad litem; agreement as to custody

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

The Legislature finds and declares that it is in the public policy of this State to assure minor children of frequent and continuing contact with both parents after the parents have separated or dissolved their marriage and that it is in the public interest to encourage parents to share the rights and responsibilities of child rearing in order to effect this policy.

In any proceeding involving the custody of a minor child, the rights of both parents shall be equal and the court shall enter an order which may include:

a. Joint custody of a minor child to both parents, which is comprised of legal custody or physical custody which shall include: (1) provisions for residential arrangements so that a child shall reside either solely with one parent or alternatively with each parent in accordance with the needs of the parents and the child; and (2) provisions for consultation between the parents in making major decisions regarding the child’s health, education and general welfare;

b. Sole custody to one parent with appropriate parenting time for the noncustodial parent; or

c. Any other custody arrangement as the court may determine to be in the best interests of the child.

In making an award of custody, the court shall consider but not be limited to the following factors: the parents’ ability to agree, communicate and cooperate in matters relating to the child; the parents’ willingness to accept custody and any history of unwillingness to allow parenting time not based on substantiated abuse; the interaction and relationship of the child with its parents and siblings; the history of domestic violence, if any; the safety of the child and the safety of either parent from physical abuse by the other parent; the preference of the child when of sufficient age and capacity to reason so as to form an intelligent decision; the needs of the child; the stability of the home environment offered; the quality and continuity of the child’s education; the fitness of the parents; the geographical proximity of the parents’ homes; the extent and quality of the time spent with the child prior to or subsequent to the separation; the parents’ employment responsibilities; and the age and number of the children. A parent shall not be deemed unfit unless the parents’ conduct has a substantial adverse effect on the child.

The court, for good cause and upon its own motion, may appoint a guardian ad litem or an attorney or both to represent the minor child’s interests. The court shall have the authority to award a counsel fee to the guardian ad litem and the attorney and to assess that cost between the parties to the litigation.

d. The court shall order any custody arrangement which is agreed to by both parents unless it is contrary to the best interests of the child.

e. In any case in which the parents cannot agree to a custody arrangement, the court may require each parent to submit a custody plan which the court shall consider in awarding custody.

f. The court shall specifically place on the record the factors which justify any custody arrangement not agreed to by both parents.

9:2-4.1. Custody and visitation denied to person fathering a child through rape; obligation to support minor child unaffected

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

a. Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, a person convicted of sexual assault under N.J.S.2C:14-2 shall not be awarded the custody of or visitation rights to any minor child, including a minor child who was born as a result of or was the victim of the sexual assault, except upon a showing by clear and convincing evidence that it is in the best interest of the child for custody or visitation rights to be awarded. However, a court that awards such custody or visitation rights to a person convicted of sexual assault under N.J.S.2C:14-2 shall stay enforcement of the order or judgment for at least 10 days in order to permit the appeal of the order or judgment and application for a stay in accordance with the Rules of Court.

b. Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, a person convicted of sexual contact under N.J.S.2C:14-3 or endangering the welfare of a child under N.J.S.2C:24-4 shall not be awarded the custody of or visitation rights to any minor child, except upon a showing by clear and convincing evidence that it is in the best interest of the child for such custody or visitation rights to be awarded. However, a court that awards such custody or visitation rights to a person convicted of sexual contact under N.J.S.2C:14-3 or endangering the welfare of a child under N.J.S.2C:24-4 shall stay enforcement of the order or judgment for at least 10 days in order to permit the appeal of the order or judgment and application for a stay in accordance with the Rules of Court.

c. A denial of custody or visitation under this section shall not by itself terminate the parental rights of the person denied visitation or custody, nor shall it affect the obligation of the person to support the minor child.

d. In any proceeding for establishment or enforcement of such an obligation of support the victim shall not be required to appear in the presence of the obligor and the victim’s and child’s whereabouts shall be kept confidential.

9:2-4.2. Parental access to unemancipated child's records

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

a. Every parent, to the extent permitted by federal and State laws concerning privacy, except as prohibited by federal and State law, shall have access to records and information pertaining to his or her unemancipated child, including, but not limited to, medical, dental, insurance, child care and educational records, whether or not the child resides with the parent, unless that access is found by the court to be not in the best interest of the child or the access is found by the court to be sought for the purpose of causing detriment to the other parent.

b. The place of residence of either parent shall not appear on any records or information released pursuant to the provisions of this section.

c. A child’s parent, guardian or legal custodian may petition the court to have a parent’s access to the records limited. If the court, after a hearing, finds that the parent’s access to the record is not in the best interest of the child or that the access sought is for the purpose of causing detriment to the other parent, the court may order that access to the records be limited.

9:2-5. Death of parent having custody; reversion of custody to surviving parent; appointment of guardian by Superior Court; removal

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

In case of the death of the parent to whom the care and custody of the minor children shall have been awarded by the Superior Court, or in the case of the death of the parent in whose custody the children actually are, when the parents have been living separate and no award as to the custody of such children has been made, the care and custody of such minor children shall not revert to the surviving parent without an order or judgment of the Superior Court to that effect. The Superior Court shall have the right, in an action brought by a guardian ad litem on behalf of the children, to appoint such friend or other suitable person, guardian of such minor children, and shall have the right to remove such guardian, and to appoint a new guardian or guardians, and to make such judgments and orders, from time to time, as the circumstances of the case and the benefit of the children shall require.

9:2-7. Habeas corpus to determine custody of child; access to child

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

When any husband and wife shall live in a state of separation without being divorced, and shall have any minor child of the marriage, the Superior Court, upon such child being brought before it upon habeas corpus, shall award the custody of such child and make such order or judgment relating thereto for the access of either parent to such child, at such times and under such circumstances, as it may deem proper.

9:2-7.1. Visitation rights for grandparents or siblings

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

a. A grandparent or any sibling of a child residing in this State may make application before the Superior Court, in accordance with the Rules of Court, for an order for visitation. It shall be the burden of the applicant to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the granting of visitation is in the best interests of the child.

b. In making a determination on an application filed pursuant to this section, the court shall consider the following factors:

(1) The relationship between the child and the applicant;

(2) The relationship between each of the child’s parents or the person with whom the child is residing and the applicant;

(3) The time which has elapsed since the child last had contact with the applicant;

(4) The effect that such visitation will have on the relationship between the child and the child’s parents or the person with whom the child is residing;

(5) If the parents are divorced or separated, the time sharing arrangement which exists between the parents with regard to the child;

(6) The good faith of the applicant in filing the application;

(7) Any history of physical, emotional or sexual abuse or neglect by the applicant; and

(8) Any other factor relevant to the best interests of the child.

c. With regard to any application made pursuant to this section, it shall be prima facie evidence that visitation is in the child’s best interest if the applicant had, in the past, been a full-time caretaker for the child.

9:2-7.2. Separation of parents; determination of custody and visitation rights after concealment of child

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

When any husband and wife shall live in a state of separation without being divorced and shall have any minor child or children of the marriage, and when either spouse shall willfully conceal the whereabouts of said child or children, the Superior Court, Chancery Division, Family Part, upon application of the aggrieved parent, shall conduct a preliminary hearing as to the custody of said child or children and shall make such order relating thereto for the access of either parent to such child at such times and under such circumstances as it may deem proper.

9:2-9. Parents or custodian of child unfit; action in Superior Court, Chancery Division, Family Part

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

When the parents of any minor child or the parent or other person having the actual care and custody of any minor child are grossly immoral or unfit to be intrusted with the care and education of such child, or shall neglect to provide the child with proper protection, maintenance and education, or are of such vicious, careless or dissolute habits as to endanger the welfare of the child or make the child a public charge, or likely to become a public charge; or when the parents of any minor child are dead or cannot be found, and there is no other person, legal guardian or agency exercising custody over such child; it shall be lawful for any person interested in the welfare of such child to institute an action in the Superior Court, Chancery Division, Family Part, in the county where such minor child is residing, for the purpose of having the child brought before the court, and for the further relief provided by this chapter. The court may proceed in the action in a summary manner or otherwise.

Subtitle 4. Illegitimate Children

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

Chapter 17. Bastardy Proceedings

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

Article 10. Parentage

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

9:17-41. Proof of parent-child relationship; termination of natural parental rights

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

The parent and child relationship between a child and:

a. The natural mother, may be established by:

(1) proof of her having given birth to the child unless the child is born in connection with a gestational carrier agreement executed in accordance with the provisions of P.L.2018, c. 18 (C.9:17-60 et al.), or

(2) under P.L.1983, c. 17 (C.9:17-38 et seq.);

b. The natural father, may be established by proof that his paternity has been adjudicated under prior law; under the laws governing probate; by giving full faith and credit to a determination of paternity made by any other state or jurisdiction, whether established through voluntary acknowledgment or through judicial or administrative processes; by a Certificate of Parentage as provided in section 7 of P.L.1994, c. 164 (C.26:8-28.1) that is executed by the father, including an unemancipated minor, prior to or after the birth of a child, and filed with the appropriate State agency; by a default judgement or order of the court; or by an order of the court based on a blood test or genetic test that meets or exceeds the specific threshold probability as set by subsection i. of section 11 of P.L.1983, c. 17 (C.9:17-48) creating a rebuttable presumption of paternity.

In accordance with 42 U.S.C. s.666(a)(5), a signed voluntary acknowledgment of paternity shall be considered a legal finding of paternity subject to the right of the signatory to rescind the acknowledgment within 60 days of the date of signing, or by the date of establishment of a support order to which the signatory is a party, whichever is earlier.

The adjudication of paternity shall only be voided upon a finding that there exists clear and convincing evidence of: fraud, duress or a material mistake of fact, with the burden of proof upon the challenger;

c. (1) An adoptive parent, may be established by proof of adoption;

(2) An intended parent, may be established by proof of an order of parentage related to a gestational carrier agreement executed in accordance with the provisions of P.L.2018, c. 18 (C.9:17-60 et al.);

(3) A co-parent, may be established by proof of a judgement of adoption issued by the court pursuant to section 3 of P.L.2019, c. 323.

d. The natural mother’s or natural father’s parental rights, may be terminated by an order of a court of competent jurisdiction in granting a judgement of adoption or as the result of an action to terminate parental rights;

e. The establishment of the parent and child relationship pursuant to subsections a., b., and c. of this section shall be the basis upon which an action for child support may be brought by a party and acted upon by the court without further evidentiary proceedings;

f. In any case in which the parties execute a Certificate of Parentage or a rebuttable presumption of paternity is created through genetic testing, the presumption of paternity under section 6 of P.L.1983, c. 17 (C.9:17-43) shall not apply;

g. Pursuant to the provisions of 42 U.S.C. s.666(a)(5), the child and other parties in a contested paternity case shall submit to a genetic test upon the request of one of the parties, unless that person has good cause for refusal, if the request is supported by a sworn statement by the requesting party:

(1) alleging paternity and setting forth the facts establishing a reasonable possibility of the requisite sexual contact between the parties; or

(2) denying paternity and setting forth the facts establishing a reasonable possibility of the nonexistence of sexual contact between the parties;

h. In a contested paternity case in which the State IV-D agency requires or the court orders genetic testing, the State IV-D agency shall:

(1) pay the costs of the genetic test and may recoup payment from the alleged father whose paternity is established; and

(2) obtain additional testing if the initial test results are contested, and upon the request and advance payment for the additional test by the contestant.

9:17-43. Presumptions

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

a. A man is presumed to be the biological father of a child if:

(1) He and the child’s biological mother are or have been married to each other and the child is born during the marriage, or within 300 days after the marriage is terminated by death, annulment or divorce;

(2) Before the child’s birth, he and the child’s biological mother have attempted to marry each other by a marriage solemnized in apparent compliance with law, although the attempted marriage is or could be declared invalid, and:

(a) if the attempted marriage could be declared invalid only by a court, the child is born during the attempted marriage, or within 300 days after its termination by death, annulment or divorce; or

(b) if the attempted marriage is invalid without a court order, the child is born within 300 days after the termination of cohabitation;

(3) After the child’s birth, he and the child’s biological mother have married, or attempted to marry, each other by a marriage solemnized in apparent compliance with law, although the attempted marriage is or could be declared invalid, and:

(a) he has acknowledged his paternity of the child in writing filed with the local registrar of vital statistics;

(b) he has sought to have his name placed on the child’s birth certificate as the child’s father, pursuant to R.S.26:8-40; or

(c) he openly holds out the child as his natural child; or

(d) he is obligated to support the child under a written voluntary agreement or court order;

(4) While the child is under the age of majority, he receives the child into his home and openly holds out the child as his natural child;

(5) While the child is under the age of majority, he provides support for the child and openly holds out the child as his natural child; or

(6) He acknowledges his paternity of the child in a writing filed with the local registrar of vital statistics, which shall promptly inform the mother of the filing of the acknowledgment, and she does not dispute the acknowledgment within a reasonable time after being informed thereof, in a writing filed with the local registrar. If another man is presumed under this section to be the child’s father, acknowledgment may be effected only with the written consent of the presumed father. Each attempted acknowledgment, whether or not effective, shall be kept on file by the local registrar of vital statistics and shall entitle the person who filed it to notice of all proceedings concerning parentage and adoption of the child, as provided in section 10 of P.L.1983, c. 17 (C.9:17-47) and pursuant to section 9 of P.L.1977, c. 367 (C.9:3-45).

b. A presumption under this section may be rebutted in an appropriate action only by clear and convincing evidence. If two or more presumptions arise which conflict with each other, the presumption which on the facts is founded on the weightier considerations of policy and logic controls. The presumption is rebutted by a court order terminating the presumed father’s paternal rights or by establishing that another man is the child’s biological or adoptive father.

c. Notwithstanding the provisions of this section to the contrary, in an action brought under this act against the legal representative or the estate of a deceased alleged father, the criteria in paragraphs (4) and (5) of subsection a. of this section shall not constitute presumptions but shall be considered by the court together with all of the evidence submitted. The decision of the court shall be based on a preponderance of the evidence.

d. In the absence of a presumption, the court shall decide whether the parent and child relationship exists, based upon a preponderance of the evidence.

e. There is a rebuttable presumption that a man has knowledge of his paternity and the birth of a child if he had sexual intercourse with the biological mother within 300 days of the child’s birth. This presumption may be rebutted only by clear and convincing evidence in an appropriate action based on fraud, duress, or misrepresentation by the biological mother concerning the paternity or birth of the child. This claim of fraud, duress, or misrepresentation must be asserted prior to the finalization of the adoption.

f. This section shall not apply to a child born in connection with a gestational carrier agreement executed in accordance with the provisions of P.L.2018, c. 18 (C.9:17-60 et al.).

New Jersey Rules of Court

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

Part I. Rules of General Application

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

Chapter IV. Administration

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

Rule 1:40. Complementary Dispute Resolution Programs

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

1:40-5. Mediation in Family Part Matters

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

(a) Mediation of Custody and Parenting Time Actions

(1) Screening and Referral. All complaints or motions involving a custody or parenting time issue shall be screened to determine whether the issue is genuine and substantial, and if such a determination is made, the matter shall be referred to mediation for resolution in the child’s best interests. However, no matter shall be referred to mediation if there is in effect a preliminary or final order of domestic violence entered pursuant to the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act (N.J.S.A. 2C:25-17 et seq.). In matters involving domestic violence in which no order has been entered or in cases involving child abuse or sexual abuse, the custody or parenting time issues shall be referred to mediation provided that the issues of domestic violence, child abuse or sexual abuse shall not be mediated in the custody mediation process. The mediator or either party may petition the court for removal of the case from mediation based upon a determination of good cause.

(2) Conduct of Mediation. In addition to the general requirements of Rule 1:40-4, the parties shall be required to attend a mediation orientation program and may be required to attend an initial mediation session. Mediation sessions shall be closed to the public. The mediator and the parties should consider whether it is appropriate to involve the child in the mediation process. The mediator or either party may terminate a mediation session in accordance with the provisions of Rule 1:40-4(h).

(3) Mediator Not to Act as Evaluator. The mediator may not subsequently act as an evaluator for any court-ordered report nor make any recommendation to the court respecting custody and parenting time.

(b) Mediation of Economic Aspects of Dissolution Actions.

(1) Referral to ESP. The CDR program of each vicinage shall include a post-Early Settlement Panel (ESP) program for the mediation of the economic aspects of dissolution actions or for the conduct of a post-ESP alternate Complementary Dispute Resolution (CDR) event consistent with the provisions of this rule and R. 5:5-6. However, no matter shall be referred to mediation if a temporary or final restraining order is in effect in the matter pursuant to the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act (N.J.S.A. 2C:25-17 et seq.).

(2) Designation of Mediator of Economic Aspects of Family Law Matters. A credentials committee comprised of representatives from the Supreme Court Committee on Complementary Dispute Resolution shall be responsible for reviewing and approving all mediator applications. Applicants must complete an application form posted on the Judiciary’s Internet web site (www.judiciary.state.nj.us or www.njcourtsonline.com). Mediators who meet the training requirements set forth in this rule, and any other approved criteria developed by the Family Court Programs Subcommittee of the Committee on Complementary Dispute Resolution shall be added to the Roster of Approved Mediators. The roster shall be maintained by the Administrative Office of the Courts and shall be posted on the Judiciary’s Internet web site.

(3) Exchange of Information. In mediation of economic aspects of Family actions, parties are required to provide accurate and complete information to the mediator and to each other, including but not limited to tax returns, Case Information Statements, and appraisal reports. The court may, in the Mediation Referral Order, stay discovery and set specific times for completion of mediation.

(4) Timing of Referral. Parties shall be referred to economic mediation or other alternate CDR event following the unsuccessful attempt to resolve their issues through ESP . At the conclusion of the ESP process, parties shall be directed to confer with appropriate court staff to expedite the referral to economic mediation in accordance with the following procedures:

A. Parties may conference with the judge or the judge’s designee.

B. Court staff shall explain the program to the parties and/or their attorneys.

C. Parties shall be provided with the roster of approved mediators for selection.

D. After a mediator has been selected, court staff shall attempt immediate contact to secure the mediator’s acceptance and the date of initial appointment. If court staff is unable to contact the mediator for confirmation, the order of referral shall state that the mediator and the date of initial appointment remain tentative until confirmation is secured. Staff will attempt to confirm within 24 hours and send an amended order to the parties and/or their attorneys.

E. If a mediator notifies the court that he or she cannot take on any additional cases, court staff will so advise the parties at the time of selection so that an alternate mediator can be selected.

F. The court shall enter an Economic Mediation Referral Order stating the name of the mediator, listing the financial documents to be shared between the parties and with the mediator, indicating the allocation of compensation by each party if mediation extends beyond the initial two hours, stating the court’s expectation that the parties will mediate in good faith, defining the mediation time frame, and identifying the next court event and the date of that event.

G. The referral order, signed by the judge, shall be provided to the parties before they leave the courthouse. Amended orders with confirmed appointments shall be faxed to the parties and/or their attorneys the next day, replacing the tentative orders.

H. If the parties are unable to agree upon and select a mediator, the judge will appoint one. Staff shall then follow the above procedures as applicable.

I. Referral to economic mediation shall be recorded in the Family Automated Case Tracking System (FACTS).

(5) Adjournments. Adjournment of events in the mediation process shall be determined by the mediator after conferring with the parties and/or attorneys, provided that any such adjournment will not result in the case exceeding the return date to the court. If an adjournment would cause delay of the return date to the court, a written adjournment request must be made to the judge who has responsibility for the case or the judge’s designee.

Part V. Rules Governing Practice in the Chancery Division, Family Part

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

Chapter I. Actions Cognizable; Scope and Applicability of Rules; General provisions; Process; Venue; Pleadings; Process; Appearances

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

Rule 5:3. General Provisions for Family Actions

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

5:3-5. Attorney Fees and Retainer Agreements in Civil Family Actions; Withdrawal

Updated: 
July 14, 2020

(a) Retainer Agreements. Except where no fee is to be charged, every agreement for legal services to be rendered in a civil family action shall be in writing signed by the attorney and the client, and an executed copy of the agreement shall be delivered to the client. The agreement shall have annexed thereto the Statement of Client Rights and Responsibilities in Civil Family Actions in the form appearing in Appendix XVIII of these rules and shall include the following:

(1) a description of legal services anticipated to be rendered;

(2) a description of the legal services not encompassed by the agreement, such as real estate transactions, municipal court appearances, tort claims, appeals, and domestic violence proceedings;

(3) the method by which the fee will be computed;

(4) the amount of the initial retainer and how it will be applied;

(5) when bills are to be rendered, which shall be no less frequently than once every ninety days, provided that services have been rendered during that period; when payment is to be made; whether interest is to be charged, provided, however, that the running of interest shall not commence prior to thirty days following the rendering of the bill; and whether and in what manner the initial retainer is required to be replenished;

(6) the name of the attorney having primary responsibility for the client’s representation and that attorney’s hourly rate; the hourly rates of all other attorneys who may provide legal services; whether rate increases are agreed to, and, if so, the frequency and notice thereof required to be given to the client;

(7) a statement of the expenses and disbursements for which the client is responsible and how they will be billed;

(8) the effect of counsel fees awarded on application to the court pursuant to paragraph (c) of this rule; and

(9) the right of the attorney to withdraw from the representation, pursuant to paragraph (d) of this rule, if the client does not comply with the agreement; and

(10) the availability of Complementary Dispute Resolution (CDR) programs including but not limited to mediation and arbitration.

(b) Limitations on Retainer Agreements. During the period of the representation, an attorney shall not take or hold a security interest, mortgage, or other lien on the client’s property interests to assure payment of the fee. This Rule shall not, however, prohibit an attorney from taking a security interest in the property of a former client after the conclusion of the matter for which the attorney was retained, provided the requirements of R.P.C. 1.8(a) shall have been satisfied. Nor shall the retainer agreement include a provision for a non-refundable retainer. Contingent fees pursuant to R. 1:21-7 shall only be permitted as to claims based on the tortious conduct of another, and if compensation is contingent, in whole or in part, there shall be a separate contingent fee arrangement complying with R. 1:21-7. No services rendered in connection with the contingent fee representation shall be billed under the retainer agreement required by paragraph (a) of this rule, nor shall any such services be eligible for an award of fees pursuant to paragraph (c) of this rule.

(c) Award of Attorney Fees. Subject to the provisions of R. 4:42-9(b), (c), and (d), the court in its discretion may make an allowance, both pendente lite and on final determination, to be paid by any party to the action, including, if deemed to be just, any party successful in the action, on any claim for divorce, dissolution of civil union, termination of domestic partnership, nullity, support, alimony, custody, parenting time, equitable distribution, separate maintenance, enforcement of agreements between spouses, domestic partners, or civil union partners and claims relating to family type matters. A pendente lite allowance may include a fee based on an evaluation of prospective services likely to be performed and the respective financial circumstances of the parties. The court may also, on good cause shown, direct the parties to sell, mortgage, or otherwise encumber or pledge assets to the extent the court deems necessary to permit both parties to fund the litigation. In determining the amount of the fee award, the court should consider, in addition to the information required to be submitted pursuant to R. 4:42-9, the following factors: (1) the financial circumstances of the parties; (2) the ability of the parties to pay their own fees or to contribute to the fees of the other party; (3) the reasonableness and good faith of the positions advanced by the parties both during and prior to trial; (4) the extent of the fees incurred by both parties; (5) any fees previously awarded; (6) the amount of fees previously paid to counsel by each party; (7) the results obtained; (8) the degree to which fees were incurred to enforce existing orders or to compel discovery; and (9) any other factor bearing on the fairness of an award.

(d) Withdrawal from Representation.

(1) An attorney may withdraw from representation ninety (90) days or more prior to the scheduled trial date on the client’s consent in accordance with R. 1:11-2(a)(1). If the client does not consent, the attorney may withdraw only on leave of court as provided in subparagraph (2) of this rule.

(2) Within ninety (90) days of a scheduled trial date, an attorney may withdraw from a matter only by leave of court, on motion with notice to all parties. The motion shall be supported by the attorney’s affidavit or certification setting forth the reasons for the application and shall have annexed the written retainer agreement. In deciding the motion, the court shall consider, among other relevant factors, the terms of the written retainer agreement and whether either the attorney or the client has breached the terms of that agreement; the age of the action; the imminence of the scheduled trial; the complexity of the issues; the ability of the client to timely retain substituted counsel; the amount of fees already paid by the client to the attorney; the likelihood that the attorney will receive payment of any balance due under the retainer agreement if the matter is tried; the burden on the attorney if the withdrawal application is not granted; and the prejudice to the client or to any other party.