SENATE, No. 2483

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

217th LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED AUGUST 1, 2016

 


 

Sponsored by:

Senator  LORETTA WEINBERG

District 37 (Bergen)

Senator  JENNIFER BECK

District 11 (Monmouth)

Assemblywoman  GABRIELA M. MOSQUERA

District 4 (Camden and Gloucester)

Assemblyman  LOUIS D. GREENWALD

District 6 (Burlington and Camden)

Assemblywoman  JOANN DOWNEY

District 11 (Monmouth)

Assemblyman  ERIC HOUGHTALING

District 11 (Monmouth)

Assemblywoman  NANCY F. MUNOZ

District 21 (Morris, Somerset and Union)

Assemblywoman  SHAVONDA E. SUMTER

District 35 (Bergen and Passaic)

Assemblyman  DANIEL R. BENSON

District 14 (Mercer and Middlesex)

Assemblywoman  PAMELA R. LAMPITT

District 6 (Burlington and Camden)

Assemblyman  BENJIE E. WIMBERLY

District 35 (Bergen and Passaic)

 

Co-Sponsored by:

Senators T.Kean, Allen, Addiego, Bateman, Assemblyman Holley, Assemblywomen Vainieri Huttle, Muoio, Jimenez, Assemblyman Lagana, Assemblywomen McKnight, Jones, Tucker and Pinkin

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Enhances protections for domestic violence victims by restricting access to firearms by certain persons; provides for minimum terms of incarceration for offenders who commit physically violent acts.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

 


An Act concerning domestic violence and firearms, amending P.L.1991, c.261, and supplementing Title 2C of the New Jersey Statutes.

 

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

     1.  Section 11 of P.L.1991, c.261 (C:2C:25-27) is amended to read as follows:

     11.  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.

(cf:  P.L.2011, c.213, s.2)

 

     2.    Section 12 of P.L.1991, c.261 (C.2C:25-28) is amended to read as follows:

     12.  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 [such] 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 to N.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.

(cf:  P.L.2011, c.213, s.3)

     3.  Section 13 of P.L.1991, c.261 (C.2C:25-29) is amended to read as follows: 

     13.  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[, except that this provision]. 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. 

(cf:  P.L.2011, c.213, s.4)

 

     4.    (New section) a. Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection f. of N.J.S.2C:44-1, a person convicted of any of the following crimes of domestic violence, as defined in section 3 of P.L.1991, c.261 (C.2C:25-19), shall be sentenced in accordance with subsection b. of this section:

     (1) Homicide, pursuant to N.J.S.2C:11-1 et seq.;

     (2) Aggravated assault, pursuant to paragraph (1), (2), (3), (4), (6), (7) or (8) of subsection b. of N.J.S.2C:12-1;

     (3) Assault by auto or vessel, pursuant to subsection c. of N.J.S.2C:12-1;

     (4) Kidnapping, pursuant to N.J.S.2C:13-1;

     (5) Criminal restraint, pursuant to N.J.S.2C:13-2;

     (6) Sexual assault, pursuant to N.J.S.2C:14-2; or

     (7) Criminal sexual contact, pursuant to N.J.S.2C:14-3.

     b.  (1)  Unless the provisions of any other law provide for a higher mandatory minimum term of imprisonment, a person convicted of a crime of domestic violence set forth in subsection a. of this section shall be sentenced to a term of imprisonment as follows: for a second or subsequent crime of the fourth degree set forth in subsection a. of this section, 18 months; for a second or subsequent crime of the third degree set forth in subsection a. of this section, five years; for a crime of the second degree, 10 years; and for a crime of the first degree, 20 years.

     (2) The term of imprisonment imposed pursuant to paragraph (1) of this subsection 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. 

 

     5.  This act shall take effect on the first day of the seventh month next following enactment.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill enhances protections for domestic violence victims by restricting access to firearms by a person convicted of a domestic violence crime or subject to a domestic violence restraining order. 

     Specifically, the bill requires the sentencing court to inform defendants convicted of a domestic violence crime or offense that they are prohibited from possessing a firearm, or obtaining a firearms purchaser identification card or permit to purchase a handgun.  The bill also requires the court to order the defendant to arrange for the immediate surrender of firearms, firearms purchaser identification cards, and permits to purchase a handgun to a law enforcement officer.  The bill allows the defendant five days after conviction to arrange to sell a surrendered firearm to a licensed firearms dealer; the dealer has 10 days after the date of the order to take possession of the firearm from the law enforcement agency to which it was surrendered.  If the firearm is not purchased by a retail dealer within 10 days, it is subject to forfeiture; if it is purchased by a dealer, it becomes part of the dealer’s inventory.

     The bill requires any identification card and permit that has been issued to a connected defendant to be immediately revoked and requires the court to establish a process for notifying the appropriate authorities of the revocation.  It also requires a law enforcement officer to whom weapons are surrendered to provide the defendant with a receipt naming the defendant, the surrender date, and description of a surrendered item, and requiring the defendant to provide a copy of the receipt to the prosecutor within 48 hours.  Defendants are required by the bill to attest under penalty that they surrendered or do not possess a firearm.  The court is permitted to order a search for and removal of firearms if there is probable cause that the defendant has failed to surrender firearms and is required to state with specificity the reasons for and the scope of the search and seizure.

     The bill also protects domestic violence victims by specifying that 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.  The form is to also clarify the confidential nature of this information. 

     Under the bill, an order for a temporary or final restraining order is to 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.

     Further, when a temporary restraining order requires the surrender of any firearm or other weapon and when a final restraining order is issued, the bill requires a law enforcement officer to accompany the defendant or proceed without the defendant if necessary to where the firearm or other weapon is located to ensure that the items are appropriately surrendered in accordance with the order.  If the order prohibits the defendant from returning to a location where firearms or other weapons are located, any firearm or other weapon located there will be seized by a law enforcement officer. 

     Finally, the bill further strengthens protections for victims of domestic violence by providing mandatory minimum terms of incarceration, with set periods of parole ineligibility, for offenders who commit physically violent acts.

     Under the provisions of the bill, a person convicted of any of the following crimes of domestic violence would be subject to the enhanced penalties provided in the bill:

     (1)   Homicide, pursuant to N.J.S.2C:11-1 et seq.;

     (2)   Aggravated assault and assault by auto or vessel pursuant to subsection b. and c. of N.J.S.2C:12-1;

     (3)   Kidnapping, pursuant to N.J.S.2C:13-1;

     (4)   Criminal restraint, pursuant to N.J.S.2C:13-2;

     (5)   Sexual assault, pursuant to N.J.S.2C:14-2; and

     (6)   Criminal sexual contact, pursuant to N.J.S.2C:14-3.

     The bill provides that a person will be sentenced to a term of imprisonment as follows: 18 months for a second or subsequent crime of the fourth degree, five years for a second or subsequent crime of the third degree, 10 years for a crime of the second degree, and 20 years for a crime of the first degree, unless the provisions of any other law provide for a higher mandatory minimum term.

     The court additionally will impose a period of parole ineligibility as follows: 18 months for a crime of the fourth degree, 42 months for a crime of the third degree, five years for a crime of the second degree, and 10 years for a crime of the first degree.