Does a Restraining Order in New Jersey Go on Your Record?

A restraining order, also known as a protection order, is a legal directive issued by a court that aims to protect individuals from harassment, abuse, or threats by another person. In New Jersey, a restraining order can be obtained by a person who believes they are in danger or are a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, or other forms of harm. It prohibits the individual named in the order from contacting the person who sought the order, and it may include provisions such as staying away from their home, workplace, or other specified locations.

In New Jersey, restraining orders are considered civil orders and are not technically part of your criminal record. However, they can still show up on certain background checks, especially more thorough ones. So, while a restraining order is not the same as a criminal conviction, it can still be visible to certain entities doing background searches.

Get assistance from our experienced criminal defense attorneys at the Lombardo Law Group, LLC by calling (609) 445-4300 for a free evaluation of your case.

Will a Restraining Order Go on Your Record in New Jersey?

As previously mentioned, a restraining order in New Jersey does not appear on your criminal record. The issuance of a restraining order is not the same as a criminal conviction. Rather, a restraining order is a civil order issued by a court to protect someone from potential harm or harassment. Accordingly, a restraining order typically does not show up on a background check conducted for criminal records.

The New Jersey Domestic Violence Central Registry does allow certain entities to look up whether someone has had a restraining order issued against them in the state. However, not all restraining orders are included in the registry. Only those related to domestic violence charges will be listed.

The registry was created to allow judges, law enforcement, and other authorized parties to access information on past domestic violence restraining orders issued against an individual. They can search the registry to see if someone has had a previous domestic violence restraining order before granting a new one.

Fortunately, if you were issued a restraining order, then our Camden County criminal defense lawyers can help you understand the specific implications of your situation.

Impacts of a Restraining Order in New Jersey

Restraining orders can have significant consequences, affecting various aspects of peoples’ lives. For instance, if a restraining order is issued against you, then your life may be impacted in the following ways:

Personal Relationships and Contact

A restraining order can severely limit or completely prohibit you from contacting the individual who requested the order. This can impact personal relationships, especially if the person is a family member, spouse, or partner. Furthermore, communication restrictions can affect your ability to see your children, cohabit with your spouse, or even attend family events where the protected individual is present.


Depending on the terms of the restraining order, you might be required to move out of your shared residence, even if you own or rent the property. This can disrupt your living situation and result in significant financial strain.

Employment and Professional Life

A restraining order could impact your employment if it prevents you from being near the protected person’s workplace or places of business. Moreover, if you work in a similar industry or attend the same events as the protected individual, the order might hinder your ability to perform your job effectively.

Firearm Possession

If a restraining order is issued against you, it could lead to the loss of your right to possess firearms. New Jersey law prohibits individuals subject to certain types of restraining orders from owning, possessing, or purchasing firearms and ammunition. This can have significant implications if you rely on firearms for personal protection, hunting, or sport.


A restraining order is often associated with allegations of harassment, threats, or violence. Having a restraining order against you can tarnish your reputation and impact your personal and professional relationships. Even if the allegations are unfounded, the presence of a restraining order on your record might raise concerns among potential employers, landlords, and others who perform background checks.

Child Custody and Visitation

If you have children with the individual who obtained the restraining order, it can influence child custody and visitation arrangements. The court might view the presence of a restraining order as a factor in determining what is in the best interest of the children. This could potentially impact the amount of time you are allowed to spend with your children.

Will the Violation of a Restraining Order Go on Your Record in New Jersey?

In New Jersey, the violation of a restraining order is classified as a criminal offense. This means that if you are found guilty of violating the order, you could face serious penalties. The severity of the consequences can vary based on the circumstances of the violation, including any prior criminal history and the nature of the violation itself. Penalties for violating a restraining order can include fines, mandatory counseling or anger management classes, probation, and even jail time. Courts consider factors such as the degree of the violation and any potential harm caused to the protected individual when determining the appropriate penalty.

Further, a violation of a restraining order can indeed go on your criminal record. When you are charged with and convicted of violating a restraining order, it becomes a part of your criminal history. This can have long-term implications for your personal and professional life. A criminal record can negatively affect future employment opportunities, housing applications, and even custody arrangements if you have children. It’s essential to understand that even if the original restraining order itself might not result in a criminal record, any subsequent violations could lead to the creation of a permanent mark on your record.

Contact Our Criminal Defense Lawyers for Help with Your Case in New Jersey

Seek support from our experienced Cherry Hill criminal defense attorneys by calling the Lombardo Law Group, LLC at (609) 445-4300.

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