How Is Domestic Violence Defined Under New Jersey State Law?
In New Jersey, domestic violence is the actual or threatened physical, sexual, emotional, or economic abuse of an individual by someone with whom they have or have had an intimate relationship.
A “relationship” is defined as two people who fall into one or more of these categories:
- Living together or previously living together
- Dating or previously dated
- Those who have a child, or are expecting a child
Domestic violence can either be a pattern and continue over a long period of time; become more frequent or severe over time; or, in the case of aggravating factors, can result from a single incident.
- Terroristic threats
- False imprisonment
- Sexual assault
- Criminal Coercion
The act also mentions that domestic violence occurs if one of these mentioned offenses is committed against the person with whom the perpetrator has that relationship.
I Was Arrested For A Domestic Violence Related Offense, What Charges And Penalties Will I Face If Convicted?
Domestic violence may be a felony or a misdemeanor depending on the charges.
Penalties for misdemeanor domestic violence convictions can include up to 6 months in jail, fines, anger management classes, and probation.
Penalties for felony domestic violence convictions depend on the degree of felony. Fourth-degree crimes of this nature can result in up to 18 months in a New Jersey state prison – while a first-degree crime can result in up to 20 years of imprisonment.
Restraining orders are often part of domestic violence proceedings – but are separate issues handled by a family court judge.
However, domestic violence convictions and instances of fines or restraining orders can have negative effects. Some of which include an individual losing the right to buy a firearm or being required to report these convictions to their employer – causing negative consequences to their employment.
Is An Order Of Protection Or Restraining Order Automatically Placed When Someone Is Charged With A Domestic Violence Offense?
Once there is a report of a domestic violence issue, the judge will likely enter into a no-contact order, or a more formal temporary restraining order also known as a TRO.
This prevents the defendant from contacting or communicating with a victim in any way, even through a 3rd party individual. This may also result in a defendant being mandated to leave the premises in which they are residing.
This means that if they are residing with the victim, they must forfeit their licensed weapons and have no contact with their children in common up to and until these proceedings are resolved.
A final restraining order may be issued by the judge at the end of the case – which permanently prohibits the defendant from making any contact with the victim.
Restraining orders are part of the civil system and are not criminal matters. However, violating a restraining order can result in criminal charges and jail time.
Will A Domestic Violence Case Be Dropped If The Alleged Victim Recants Allegations?
The judge will most certainly take into account any discrepancies in the statements or inaccuracies with the victim’s testimony and the original report that was filed.
This does not mean that the case will be automatically dropped if the victim changes their statement. However, such a circumstance will certainly play a role in the court’s overall decision.
This is why you need to have an experienced attorney on your side to be able to pick up the discovery and formulate the best viable defense for you.
For more information on Domestic Violence Offenses In New Jersey, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (908) 421 3668 today.