Domestic violence charges in Somerset County, New Jersey can carry very harsh penalties. Because of this, it is incredibly important to defend your case with everything at your disposal. Law enforcement and prosecutors will come at you hard, as they take a special interest in domestic violence cases especially. This means that they will likely believe the alleged "victim" and may make little note of your side of the story. An overzealous prosecutor could mean that you end up behind bars for a crime you did not commit.
If you have been charged with domestic violence in Somerset County, New Jersey, experienced domestic violence defense attorney Joseph D. Lento is here to help. It is time to fight back against these charges.
Learning About Domestic Violence in Somerset 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." It therefore requires that the relationship be "intimate," otherwise the case will not be considered domestic violence under the law.
A relationship will be considered intimate if it is any one of the relationships listed below:
- people with children together,
- (ex) boyfriend/girlfriend,
- separation, or
- cohabitation in the present or past
Types of Charges: What counts as domestic violence?
If certain offenses are committed against an intimate partner, those offenses are also then considered domestic violence. The act lists the following crimes as possible domestic violence offenses:
- Criminal mischief
- Sexual assault
- Contempt of a domestic violence order and
- False imprisonment
- Criminal sexual contact
- Criminal restraint
- Terroristic threats
- Criminal trespass
- Criminal coercion
- Any crime that includes the risk of serious bodily injury or death
Domestic Violence Penalties in Somerset County
The penalty range for your domestic violence charges depends on what level of offense the underlying charge is in your case.
First Degree Offenses:
- Potential prison sentence of 10 to 20 years,
- Potential fine of up to $200,000.
- If the crime is murder, the prison sentence could be much longer.
Second Degree Offenses:
- Potential prison sentence of 5 to 10 years in prison, and
- a potential fine of up to $150,000.
Third Degree Offenses:
- Potential prison sentence of 3 to 5 years in prison, and
- a potential fine of up to $15,000.
Courts in Somerset County
If your case is a misdemeanor it will start and remain in municipal court. If it is a felony, it may start in municipal court but will later be transferred to the Superior Court.
In Somerset County, the Somerset Superior Court handles felony criminal cases, and is located at:
20 N Bridge St,
Somerville, NJ 08876
There are 21 different municipal courts throughout the county that handle misdemeanor cases and the initial stages of felony cases.
Consult a Somerset County Domestic Violence Defense Attorney
If you or someone you care for is facing allegations of domestic violence in Somerset 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.