FAQ: New Jersey Domestic Violence in Dating Relationships

Posted by Joseph D. Lento | May 04, 2024 | 0 Comments

New Jersey takes a relentless approach to adjudicating and punishing alleged domestic violence within dating relationships. In such situations, emotions often run high, and even the slightest shift in a relationship can be construed as criminal action. If you or a loved one faces domestic violence allegations, call the Lento Law Firm Criminal Defense Team at 888-535-3686, or visit us online

How Does New Jersey Define Dating?  

Although some states have a legal definition of what constitutes dating or a relationship, New Jersey does not. However, the U.S. Department of Justice states that dating is "a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature." To substantiate such a relationship, the following factors are analyzed: 

  • Type of relationship (based on testimony from both parties) 
  • Length of the relationship 
  • Frequency of interactions between the parties 

How Does New Jersey Define Domestic Violence? 

The Prevention of Domestic Violence Act (PDVA) established a series of protections for adults and emancipated minors in relationships. In New Jersey, violence within a relationship is the occurrence of one or more of the following acts: 

  • Assault, Homicide, and Terroristic Threats 
  • Criminal Restraint, False Imprisonment, and Kidnapping 
  • Criminal Sexual Contact, Lewdness, and Sexual Assault 
  • Burglary, Coercion, Criminal Mischief, Criminal Trespassing, and Robbery 
  • Cyber Harassment, Harassment, and Stalking 

What Are Temporary and Final Restraining Orders? 

Accusers can seek protection orders to prohibit contact. New Jersey offers Temporary Restraining Orders (TROs), which are interim measures, and Final Restraining Orders (FROs), which provide long-term protection, typically after charges are substantiated through a hearing or trial

Critically, TROs can go into effect before the accused can have a hearing to discuss the matter. Although FROs are levied at the end of the criminal or civil process and the accuser has the burden of proof, attempting to defend yourself alone can lead to life-altering changes. 

Can Domestic Violence Occur Without In-Person Contact? 

Not every instance of domestic violence within dating relationships involves physical contact, such as cyberbullying. However, in some cases, one party may report such behaviors as alleged abuse, even if that wasn't the intention. 

For instance, an argument with your partner may cause them to interpret something you said as a threat of physical harm despite your objective. Also, being present on your partner's property can quickly lead to allegations of criminal trespassing. 

What Should You Do if Domestic Violence Is Alleged? 

Instances of domestic violence within a dating relationship often lead to a TRO or FRO, even if charges are not filed or pursued. Regardless of your emotions, following the court's order is critical. 

While a restraining order is a civil action, breaching it is a criminal offense. Convictions can ruin your public reputation and create barriers to employment, professional licenses, and even eligibility for some loans.   

How Can the Lento Law Firm Help? 

The Lento Law Firm Criminal Defense Team has a wealth of knowledge and experience helping New Jersey residents navigate the legal processes related to domestic violence allegations. Even though the judge may impose the maximum sentence for criminal convictions, in many cases, the consequences can be mitigated. 

We understand New Jersey's processes and will help you defend against punishment that will upend your future. Contact our offices today at 888-535-3686 or visit our confidential online consultation 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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