Allegations of domestic violence in Essex County, New Jersey are very serious, and carry the potential for very harsh penalties. These penalties include high fines, lengthy prison sentences, and the loss of constitutional rights. There is also a great deal of stigma associated with these types of cases, and as a result, prosecutors tend to pursue these cases very aggressively, often too aggressively for the facts. With the right legal defense, you can protect your rights.
If you have been charged with domestic violence in Essex County, New Jersey, experienced domestic violence defense attorney Joseph D. Lento is here to help. You do not have to fight these charges alone.
What is Domestic Violence in Essex County?
According to New Jersey statutes, domestic violence is the "threatened or actual physical, emotional, sexual, or economic abuse of a person by another with whom they have or had an intimate relationship."
This requires that the relationship between the people involved be "intimate" as defined by New Jersey law. A relationship will be deemed to be intimate under the law if it is any of the following:
- a marriage,
- cohabitation between the individuals occurred in the present or past,
- separation after a previous qualifying relationship,
- boyfriend/girlfriend (or an ex), or
- people who have children together.
Qualifying Offense: Domestic Violence
The New Jersey Prevention of Domestic Violence Act lists 18 possible crimes that may also be considered domestic violence if committed against those that qualify as "intimate partners." 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 Essex County
The penalty range for the domestic violence offense depends on the range for the underlying offense. The higher the felony or misdemeanor level for the underlying offense, the more severe the penalties will be.
First Degree Charges:
- Prison sentence of 10 to 20 years,
- fine of up to $200,000.
- If the crime is murder, the prison sentence could be much longer.
Second Degree Charges:
- Prison sentence of 5 to 10 years in prison, and
- a fine of up to $150,000.
Third Degree Charges:
- Prison sentence of 3 to 5 years in prison, and
- a fine of up to $15,000.
The seriousness of these charges cannot be understated. Without an experienced attorney at your side, you could face the worst of these possible penalties.
Consult an Essex County Domestic Violence Defense Attorney
If you or someone you love is facing allegations of domestic violence in Essex County, New Jersey, you need the best possible defense. You could face high fines, years in prison, and the loss of your constitutional rights. You deserve to have the best possible protection of these rights.
For a consultation, contact attorney Joseph D. Lento by phone at 888-535-3686 or online.