“Coercive Control” Now Recognized as Domestic Violence in New Jersey

Posted by Joseph D. Lento | Apr 01, 2024 | 0 Comments

New Jersey now recognizes “coercive control” as a form of domestic violence. Governor Phil Murphy recently signed a bill into law that would require courts to consider a pattern of coercive control when deciding whether to issue a domestic violence restraining order.

If you're facing a domestic violence restraining order, you're also probably looking at domestic violence charges. If convicted, you could face a multitude of penalties, such as a fine, jail time, losing a professional license, and surrendering a firearm. There's also the chance a temporary restraining order could become a final restraining order. With so much at stake, you need the help of the Lento Law Firm Criminal Defense Team. We can be reached through our online contact form or by phone at 888-535-3686.

What Is Coercive Control?

Under the new law, coercive control refers to a pattern where an individual takes steps other than physical violence to control or abuse an intimate partner. Coercive control may include things like:

  • Isolating a victim from sources of support, such as family and friends.
  • Controlling financial resources, such as access to bank accounts.
  • Deprivation of basic living necessities.
  • Monitoring a person's movements and communications.

Adding coercive control as a form of domestic abuse is an important change in New Jersey law. Until this change was made, it was harder for individuals to obtain a restraining order for domestic violence when physical abuse had not started or could not be proven.

What Happens If a Court Issues a Restraining Order?

The judge issuing the restraining order has a bit of leeway on what conditions get included. For example, when issuing a temporary restraining order (TRO), a judge can require the defendant to:

  • Pay child support
  • Avoid having any contact with the petitioner (the person asking for the restraining order)
  • Not contact their children
  • Surrender any firearms they own

Even though a TRO usually only lasts for ten days, violations of the TRO could make it easier for a petitioner to obtain a final restraining order (FRO) or get an FRO that's more restrictive.

Get Legal Help Fighting Restraining Orders and Domestic Abuse Charges

Thanks to this new law, it's now easier for alleged victims of domestic abuse to get a restraining order. If you find yourself accused of domestic abuse, judges have a clearer path to tell you to stay away from your children or even stay out of your own home. Now imagine if these conditions find their way into a more permanent FRO.

It's easy to understand how crucial it is to get legal representation as quickly as possible so you can avoid violating the TRO and obtain a favorable decision in a future court hearing that decides if a judge should issue a FRO. If you've been served with a TRO or think one is possible, contact the Criminal Defense Team at the Lento Law Firm. We can be reached by phone at 888-535-3686 or through our online contact form.

About the Author

Joseph D. Lento

"I pride myself on having heart and driving hard to get results!" Attorney Joseph D. Lento passionately fights for the futures of his clients in criminal courtrooms in New Jersey and nationwide. He does not settle for the easiest outcome, and instead prioritizes his clients' needs and well-being. With unparalleled experience occupying several roles in the criminal justice system outside of being an attorney, Joseph D. Lento can give you valuable behind-the-scenes insight as to what is happening during all phases of the legal process. Joseph D. Lento is licensed in New Jersey and New York, and is admitted pro hac vice as needed nationwide. In the courtroom and in life, attorney Joseph D. Lento stands up when the bell rings!


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When it comes to criminal defense cases, you need the right person in your corner. To learn more about how Mr. Lento can help you, call the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686. or contact him online.

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