Those accused of domestic violence in Bergen County, New Jersey face serious penalties and the stigma associated with this type of charge. Law enforcement throughout the county are on high alert for domestic violence cases, and can often side with the alleged "victim" without really learning all of the facts. Prosecutors can be the same way, anxious to get a conviction caring little for what really happened. You deserve to have your story heard, and your rights protected by an experienced defense attorney.
If you have been charged with domestic violence in Bergen County, New Jersey, experienced domestic violence defense attorney Joseph D. Lento is here to help.
Domestic Violence in Bergen County
Domestic violence is defined by New Jersey law as the "actual or threatened physical, sexual, emotional, or economic abuse of an individual by someone with whom they have or had an intimate relationship." The law, therefore, requires that the relationship be "intimate" in order for the case to be considered domestic violence.
A relationship will be considered intimate if it is any one of the relationships listed below:
- (ex) boyfriend/girlfriend,
- people with children together,
- separation, or
- cohabitation in the present or past
What charges constitute domestic violence in Bergen County?
If any of the crimes listed below are committed against an intimate partner, they are also then considered domestic violence according to the New Jersey Prevention of Domestic Violence Act. The act lists the following crimes as possible domestic violence offenses:
- Contempt of a domestic violence order and
- False imprisonment
- Criminal sexual contact
- Terroristic threats
- Criminal restraint
- Criminal mischief
- Criminal trespass
- Sexual assault
- Criminal coercion
- Any crime that includes the risk of serious bodily injury or death
Penalties for Domestic Violence in Bergen County
The seriousness of the penalties for domestic violence is connected to the underlying offense upon which it is based. Below is a list of the potential penalties you may face if convicted.
- Third Degree: May lead to a prison sentence of 3 to 5 years in prison. A fine of $15,000 may also be imposed.
- Second Degree: May lead to a prison sentence of between 5 and 10 years in prison. A fine of up to $150,000 may also be imposed.
- First Degree: May lead to a prison sentence of anywhere between 10 and 20 years. A fine of up to $200,000 may also be imposed. If the crime is murder, the time spent in prison can be much higher.
Courts in Bergen County
Depending on the severity of your charges, your case could stay in municipal court, or be transferred to the Superior Court if the case is a felony.
In Bergen County, the Bergen County Justice Center handles criminal cases, and is located at:
10 Main St.
Hackensack, NJ 07601
There are 71 different municipal courts throughout the county that handle misdemeanor cases and the initial stages of felony cases.
Consult a Bergen County Domestic Violence Defense Attorney
If you or someone you care for is facing allegations of domestic violence in Bergen County, New Jersey, you need a highly experienced attorney who can defend your case and protect your constitutional rights.
For a consultation, contact attorney Joseph D. Lento by phone at 888-535-3686 or online.