Just across the Delaware River from New Jersey in neighboring Easton, Pennsylvania, a member of the city council was recently charged after she reportedly “slapped, punched and head-butted someone” at her home “multiple times.” Arrested by police who were called to her home, she pleaded not guilty to assault and harassment charges and was released on bail.
Domestic Violence in New Jersey
While this incident happened in Pennsylvania, it serves as a reminder that New Jersey has its own requirements for domestic violence charges.
For a prohibited act to be treated as Domestic Violence in New Jersey, the victim must have some relationship with the defendant. Victims covered by the Domestic Violence Act include anyone 18 years of age or older who has been subjected to violence by a “spouse, former spouse, or any other person who is a present household member or was at any time a household member.” A victim can also be someone who has a “child in common” with the defendant or who is pregnant with the defendant's child. Finally, a domestic violence victim can be anyone who has been in a “dating relationship” with the defendant.
Types of Actions That Can Be Domestic Violence
There is a wide range of actions that can result in a charge of domestic violence, including physical assaults, terroristic threats, stalking, harassment, criminal sexual contact, kidnapping, criminal restraint, and others.
What Happens When Domestic Violence Is Alleged
Police responding to a situation that may qualify as a domestic violence incident are required to arrest the person being accused where there is any sign of injury to the victim, where a no-contact order may have been violated, where a warrant is in place that names the defendant, or where the officer has probably cause to believe that the defendant used a weapon in connection with the incident.
Defendants charged with domestic violence may be required to turn over any weapons in their possession and can be prohibited from acquiring more until the domestic violence matter has been resolved.
What Happens if You're Charged With Domestic Violence
Domestic violence cases are serious and can result in significant restrictions on your personal liberty even if you don't end up serving a jail sentence. If a restraining or no-contact order is taken out against you, you may be prohibited from living in your own home, seeing your children, or going to places where you're likely to encounter the victim or your own children.
It's not unheard of for people involved in a relationship breakup to make exaggerated allegations against the other person in the relationship, sometimes as a way of retaliating against the other person and sometimes to gain leverage in custody or divorce negotiations. When this happens, it can be extremely stressful for the accused party. If you find yourself in this sort of situation, you need the help of an experienced domestic violence attorney.
The Lento Law Firm Criminal Defense Team Can Help
The Lento Law Firm understands that accusations are not proof, and he has helped many defendants accused of domestic violence in New Jersey protect their rights and defend themselves against the charges. This isn't a situation where you want to try to do this yourself; domestic violence charges are serious, complicated to understand and defend against, and can result in significant fines and jail time if you're convicted. You need the assistance of an experienced attorney who understands the laws and the court system in New Jersey.
The Lento Law Firm Criminal Defense Team is ready to help you if you've been accused of domestic violence. Call today at 888.535.3686, or reach out to the Lento Law Firm Criminal Defense Team using our online link to set up a confidential consultation. We understand the stigma that a charge of domestic violence can bring with it, and we know you may have difficulty talking about it. But we are not here to judge; we're here to listen and help.