New Jersey Colleges and Universities
New Jersey colleges and universities attract some of the finest students in the nation, both from within and outside of the state. The state is home to a wide variety of urban and suburban schools offering arts, sciences, professional, and other technical and academic programs. Those schools include public institutions like the New Jersey Institute of Technology, the College of New Jersey, Bergen Community College, Montclair State University, Kean University, Rowan University, Thomas Edison State University, and Rutgers campuses at New Brunswick and Newark, and private schools like Seton Hall University, Drew University, and Caldwell University. These institutions make both rewarding and exciting the prospect of completing higher education degrees in New Jersey. If that's your goal, you've chosen a laudable path toward a rewarding future.
Relationship Crime at New Jersey Schools
New Jersey college and university campuses, though, are not immune to society's challenges and ills, including relationship and domestic violence. Relationship and domestic violence have technical federal, state, and school definitions that can differ in small or important respects. But generally, relationship or domestic violence involves unlawful violence, threats, stalking, or similarly dangerous, harmful, or destructive acts between married, separated, divorced, dating, or other intimate couples. Relationships and domestic violence is a criminal law concern. Such acts can result in criminal court charges. But surprisingly, to some, relationship and domestic violence is also a New Jersey college and university campus concern. Relationship and domestic violence can result not only in criminal court charges but also in school disciplinary charges. If you face such criminal or school disciplinary charges at your New Jersey college or university, New Jersey school discipline and criminal defense attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm's Defense Team are available to provide you with the skilled, experienced, and coordinated school and criminal defense you need. Get the special help you need for your best opportunity to avoid a criminal conviction and school discipline or expulsion.
Federal Campus Dating and Domestic Violence Law
The federal Title IX law that prohibits sex discrimination on New Jersey college and university campuses receiving federal funding requires those same schools to prohibit and punish dating and domestic violence. Title IX regulation 34 CFR 106.30 adds dating violence and domestic violence to Title IX's definition of unlawful sexual harassment. The regulation specifically incorporates the dating violence definition in 34 USC 12291(a)(10) and the domestic violence definition in 34 USC 12291(a)(8), both provisions of the federal Violence Against Women Act. The Act recognized dating and domestic violence as state law crimes while providing law enforcement, victim, and related prevention support. These federal Title IX provisions requiring New Jersey and other schools to prohibit and punish dating and domestic violence define those terms as follows:
- dating violence means violence committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim, depending on the length and type of relationship and frequency of interaction;
- domestic violence means a felony or misdemeanor crime of violence committed by a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the victim, by a person with whom the victim shares a child in common, has cohabitated with the victim as a spouse or intimate partner, is similarly situated to a spouse of the victim, or domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction punish for such violence.
New Jersey Relationship and Domestic Violence Laws
New Jersey has its own state law prohibiting and criminally punishing relationship and domestic violence, whether that crime occurs on campus or elsewhere. The New Jersey Prevention of Domestic Violence Act doesn't make dating or domestic violence a separate state crime but instead may enhance the degree level and punishment for certain other state crimes. New Jersey Statute 2C:25-19 treats as domestic violence a defendant's committing homicide, assault, certain threats, kidnapping, criminal restraint, false imprisonment, sexual assault, lewdness, criminal mischief, burglary, criminal trespass, harassment, stalking, criminal coercion, or robbery against certain victims. The statute defines the qualifying victim relationships to include:
- any person age eighteen or older or an emancipated minor subjected to domestic violence by a spouse, former spouse, or any other person who is a present household member or was at any time a household member;
- any person, regardless of age, subjected to domestic violence by a person with whom the victim has a child in common or with whom the victim anticipates having a child in common if one of the parties is pregnant; and
- any person subjected to domestic violence by a person with whom the victim has had a dating relationship.
Penalties for New Jersey Dating or Domestic Violence
New Jersey's Prevention of Domestic Violence Act can treat campus domestic violence as either a felony or misdemeanor, also known as a disorderly persons offense, depending on the underlying crime. One has to look at the underlying crime to determine the penalty for a first domestic violence offense. If the underlying crime was a disorderly persons offense, the domestic violence crime might also be so. But if the underlying crime was a felony of the first degree, then the domestic violence crime would also be so. Yet New Jersey's Prevention of Domestic Violence Act will ordinarily enhance the offense level one degree for defendants previously convicted of domestic violence. New Jersey criminal law defines felonies as first, second, third, or fourth-degree crimes, generally depending on their seriousness. New Jersey penalties for domestic violence crimes can thus range from six months in jail for a misdemeanor up to 18 months for a fourth-degree felony, five years for a third-degree felony, ten years for a second-degree felony, and twenty years for a first-degree felony. In New Jersey, domestic or dating violence can thus be a very serious crime. Retain New Jersey school discipline and criminal defense attorney Joseph D. Lento for your best outcome to campus-related domestic or dating violence criminal charges.
New Jersey Campus Domestic Violence Investigations
New Jersey college and university campuses may appear idyllic and tranquil. But those campuses face sufficient criminal and endangering activity for New Jersey colleges and universities to form, staff, and deploy their own campus police forces, like those at Rutgers, Montclair State University, New Jersey City University, Stockton University, and Rowan University. Campus police departments may respond much like local police when receiving dating or domestic violence calls, arresting and removing the suspect, and launching criminal investigations. Campus police may call in or cooperate with local police on dating or domestic violence calls, or your school and its disciplinary officials may rely entirely on local police rather than campus police. In any case, you should expect swift and aggressive law enforcement investigations of New Jersey college or university campus dating or domestic violence calls, reports, and allegations. Your best move in response to an investigation is to immediately retain attorney Lento to learn about your school and constitutional rights and have his skilled response and advocacy to forestall or fight any dating or domestic violence criminal charges.
New Jersey Domestic Violence Criminal Procedures
New Jersey dating or domestic violence procedures typically begin with the arrest and removal of the suspected perpetrator, required in many cases under New Jersey Statute 2C:25-21. New Jersey Statute 2C:25-24 ordinarily requires that the arresting officers also make and file an offense report. If the defendant violates the court restraint that typically follows the domestic violence arrest, then New Jersey Statute 2C:25-31 authorizes contempt charges. Other domestic or dating violence criminal procedures follow standard protective criminal procedures. The court must presume your innocence until proven guilty, offer you and your retained criminal defense attorney a preliminary examination to challenge the prosecution's charges, require the prosecution to disclose exonerating evidence, and permit pretrial motions to suppress inadmissible evidence. Your federal constitutional rights against unreasonable search and seizure and other violations of your due process rights provide you with other procedural protections.
Defending New Jersey Domestic Violence Charges
A dating or domestic violence investigation does not mean that New Jersey prosecutors will convict of any such criminal charge. Some dating or domestic violence complaints are simply false, made out of fear, misunderstanding, or manipulation. Self-defense or defense of others can be a valid defense against other dating and domestic violence charges. Sometimes the complaining victim is instead the perpetrator, and the defendant only acted in self-defense or defense of children or others. Other cases involve disputed evidence when the prosecution must prove criminal charges of this kind beyond a reasonable doubt. The police or prosecution may also have violated your constitutional or statutory rights so that your retained criminal defense attorney can move to suppress incriminating evidence. Your charges may alternatively qualify for one of New Jersey's pretrial intervention or diversion programs. Premier New Jersey criminal defense attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm's Defense Team can strategically invoke the above protective procedures for your best outcome to New Jersey campus domestic or dating violence charges.
New Jersey Campus Dating and Domestic Violence Policies
While making your best criminal court defense to New Jersey dating or domestic violence criminal charges, you may also face your New Jersey college or university's disciplinary charges. School disciplinary charges for dating or domestic violence can be just as serious as or more serious than criminal charges because of the potential effect on your degree program and future. Your New Jersey school could discipline, suspend, or even expel you over dating or domestic violence to meet its federal Title IX obligations to prevent and punish that misconduct. New Jersey colleges and universities receiving federal funding all publish and enforce Title IX policies prohibiting dating and domestic violence as defined above, including Title IX policies at:
- Montclair State University;
- Rutgers University;
- New Jersey City University;
- Seton Hall University;
- Rowan University;
- Kean University; and
- Montclair State University.
New Jersey Campus Dating and Domestic Violence Procedures
Title IX policies like those at the New Jersey colleges and universities listed just above must provide specific procedural protections to the accused student. Those protections generally include written detailed notice of the dating or domestic violence charges, early interview and informal conference, disclosure of the school's evidence of the alleged violations, formal hearing of contested charges, the right to confront and cross-examine incriminating witnesses at the hearing, unbiased and independent decision makers on the charges, and an appeal of any adverse decision. Premier school discipline and criminal defense attorney Joseph D. Lento has helped hundreds of college and university students nationwide successfully defend and defeat Title IX and other misconduct charges, including dating and domestic violence charges.
Alternative School Relief from Domestic Violence Charges
Attorney Lento's national reputation and network, and his substantial experience representing students at New Jersey colleges and universities, can earn the special trust and respect of college and university general counsel and other oversight officials. If you have exhausted all other administrative procedures and still face school discipline, suspension, or expulsion for relationship or domestic violence, attorney Lento may be able to negotiate your alternative special relief through your New Jersey college or university's oversight officials. School discipline, especially suspension or expulsion for sexual violence, can cripple a student's education and future. School discipline for dating or domestic violence can cause all manner of collateral consequences, including things like loss of school housing, medical care, loans, grants, honors, awards, references, recommendation letters, and mentors. School discipline can impact your family, friends, and future. Trust attorney Lento for your best opportunity to preserve and protect those interests against school disciplinary charges for dating or domestic violence.
Defense for Student Dating or Domestic Violence Charges
Premier New Jersey student discipline and criminal defense attorney Joseph D. Lento can provide a skilled, experienced, and coordinated defense of both school disciplinary and criminal court dating or domestic violence charges. Trust attorney Lento, like hundreds of other college and university students across New Jersey and nationwide, for your best defense of misconduct charges. Contact attorney Lento now at 888.535.3686 or go online.