New Jersey domestic violence upgrades make other criminal charges an even more serious matter. Unlike domestic violence statutes in many other states, New Jersey's Prevention of Domestic Violence Act, N.J. Stat. 2C:25-17 et seq., doesn't define a specific domestic violence crime. Instead, New Jersey upgrades other crimes to higher levels when those crimes occur against certain domestic victims. Law enforcement officers will turn over to county prosecutors any evidence supporting a domestic violence upgrade for qualifying crimes for which those officers have other evidence. The county prosecutor will then charge those other crimes with a domestic violence upgrade, making for an even more-serious crime. Retain New Jersey criminal defense attorney Joseph D. Lento for your winning defense of crimes including domestic violence upgrades. Attorney Lento is available for your aggressive and effective representation in your New Jersey county.
Qualifying Domestic Relationships
When local law enforcement officers investigate domestic violence allegations, they must collect evidence not only of the defendant's allegedly endangering or abusive actions but also of the domestic, household, marriage, or dating relationship of the defendant and putative victim. Under N.J. Stat. 2C:25-19d, qualifying domestic violence victims include “any person who is 18 years of age or older or who is an emancipated minor and who has been 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.” Victims can also include those with whom the perpetrator “has a child in common, or … anticipates having a child in common, if one of the parties is pregnant.” Victims can also include those with whom the perpetrator has a dating relationship. The county prosecutor cannot charge you with a domestic violence upgrade if you did not have one of these qualifying relationships with the putative victim.
Qualifying Domestic Violence Crimes
Under N.J. Stat. 2C:25-19a, those other crimes that can qualify for a domestic violence upgrade include homicide, assault, sexual assault, criminal sexual contact, terroristic threats, harassment, lewdness, stalking, false imprisonment, kidnapping, criminal restraint, criminal mischief, and burglary. No other crimes, outside of these crimes listed in the New Jersey Domestic Violence Prevention Act, can qualify for domestic violence upgrade. If you did not commit one of these crimes, then you should not be facing a domestic violence upgrade. New Jersey statutes define the most common of the above crimes qualifying for domestic violence upgrade as follows.
The assault statute N.J. Stat. 2C:12-1 states in pertinent part that a “person is guilty of assault if he: (1) Attempts to cause or purposely, knowingly or recklessly causes bodily injury to another; or (2) Negligently causes bodily injury to another with a deadly weapon; or (3) Attempts by physical menace to put another in fear of imminent serious bodily injury.” Conduct of this kind directed against a person qualifying as a domestic violence victim can result in a domestic violence upgrade of the assault crime.
The criminal mischief statute N.J. Stat. 2C:17-3 states in pertinent part that a “person is guilty of criminal mischief if he: (1) Purposely or knowingly damages tangible property of another or damages tangible property of another recklessly or negligently in the employment of fire, explosives or other dangerous means listed…; or (2) Purposely, knowingly or recklessly tampers with tangible property of another so as to endanger person or property….” Conduct of this kind directed against a person qualifying as a domestic violence victim can result in a domestic violence upgrade of the criminal mischief crime.
The terroristic threats statute N.J. Stat. 2C:12-3 states in pertinent part that a “person is guilty of a crime of the third degree if he threatens to commit any crime of violence with the purpose to terrorize another or to cause evacuation of a building, place of assembly, or facility of public transportation, or otherwise to cause serious public inconvenience, or in reckless disregard of the risk of causing such terror or inconvenience….” Threats of this kind against a person qualifying as a domestic violence victim can result in a domestic violence upgrade of the terroristic threats crime.
The stalking statute N.J. Stat. 2C:12-10b states that a “person is guilty of stalking, a crime of the fourth degree, if he purposefully or knowingly engages in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear bodily injury to himself or a member of his immediate family or to fear the death of himself or a member of his immediate family.” Conduct of this kind directed against a person qualifying as a domestic violence victim can result in a domestic violence upgrade of the stalking crime.
The harassment statute N.J. Stat. 2C:33-4 states that “a person commits a petty disorderly persons offense if, with purpose to harass another, he: a. Makes, or causes to be made, a communication or communications anonymously or at extremely inconvenient hours, or in offensively coarse language, or any other manner likely to cause annoyance or alarm; b. Subjects another to striking, kicking, shoving, or other offensive touching, or threatens to do so; or c. Engages in any other course of alarming conduct or of repeatedly committed acts with purpose to alarm or seriously annoy such other person.” Conduct of this kind directed against a person qualifying as a domestic violence victim can result in a domestic violence upgrade of the harassment crime.
Premier Domestic Violence Defense in All New Jersey Counties
New Jersey criminal defense attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm criminal defense team are available in any New Jersey county for your aggressive and effective defense of New Jersey domestic violence upgrades of qualifying crimes. Attorney Lento has provided winning defense services to many defendants facing domestic violence upgraded criminal charges. Call 888.535.3686 or go online now to retain attorney Lento.