Domestic violence and abuse accusations are very serious and an unfortunate reality for many people. Not only can an allegation of domestic violence lead to serious consequences, it can irreparably damage your life. Domestic abuse can negatively affect entire families and we provide support and services to both those who have been the victim of domestic abuse and those who have been accused of domestic abuse. We know that domestic abuse is never acceptable and will help to protect you and your family from domestic abuse by utilizing our experience and knowledge and excellent representation. However, we also know that because of the nature of these types of cases the police can often be overly aggressive, even when there is not enough information or evidence to support an arrest. Additionally, judges can issue restraining orders that can prevent you from seeing your significant other or even going to your own home.
If you have been the victim of domestic abuse or have been arrested for domestic assault or have been served with a restraining order for domestic violence, then you need an experienced Atlantic City criminal attorney by your side. The lawyers at the Law Firm of John J. Zarych will fight to protect your rights in court and will provide a vigorous defense against assault and domestic violence charges.
What is Domestic Violence?
According to the New Jersey Attorney General’s report issued in late 2014, there were over 62,000 domestic violence cases in 2014. While this may reflect a slight decrease from previous years, the number of domestic violence cases is still a problem throughout the state. Under the New Jersey Prevention of Domestic Violence statutes, “domestic violence” means the occurrence of one or more of the following acts inflicted upon a person protected under this act by an adult or an emancipated minor:
- Homicide N.J.S.2C:11-1 et seq.
- Assault N.J.S.2C:12-1
- Terroristic threats N.J.S.2C:12-3
- Kidnapping N.J.S.2C:13-1
- Criminal restraint N.J.S.2C:13-2
- False imprisonment N.J.S.2C:13-3
- Sexual assault N.J.S.2C:14-2
- Criminal sexual contact N.J.S.2C:14-3
- Lewdness N.J.S.2C:14-4
- Criminal mischief N.J.S.2C:17-3
- Burglary N.J.S.2C:18-2
- Criminal trespass N.J.S.2C:18-3
- Harassment N.J.S.2C:33-4
- Stalking P.L.1992, c.209 (C.2C:12-10)
- Criminal coercion N.J.S.2C:13-5
- Robbery N.J.S.2C:15-1
- Contempt of a domestic violence order pursuant to subsection b. of N.J.S.2C:29-9 that constitutes a crime or disorderly persons offense
- Any other crime involving risk of death or serious bodily injury to a person protected under the “Prevention of Domestic Violence Act of 1991,” P.L.1991, c.261 (C.2C:25-17 et al.)
However, even if one or more of these crimes is committed it does not mean that the accused has committed domestic violence against another, but will merely be the basis for a complaint.
Who is Protected Under the New Jersey Domestic Violence Act?
A victim of domestic violence is any person who is eighteen years or older or who is an emancipated minor and who has been subjected to domestic violence by:
- A spouse
- A former Spouse
- Any person who is currently a household member
- A person who was at the time a household member
Additionally, the New Jersey Prevention of Domestic Violence Act of 1991 provides that a those who have a child in common with another, a woman who is pregnant, or a person who is in a dating relationship with another can be subjected to domestic abuse
What Can the Victim of Domestic Violence Do to Protect Themselves?
Under New Jersey law, a law enforcement officer is required to arrest a suspect and sign a criminal complaint where: a person claims to have been the victim of domestic violence inflicted by the suspect, or when the office has sufficient evidence to believe that such violence occurred. Additionally, an officer must make an arrest when the victim shows signs of injury, where there is an arrest warrant, where the suspect has violated a domestic violence restraining order, or where the officer has sufficient cause to believe that a weapon was used in committing a domestic violence crime.
If a person has been the victim of domestic violence, they will often file a domestic violence restraining order to protect themselves from the offender. A restraining order is an order issued by a court that is intended to protect the victim of domestic violence. In domestic violence cases a judge can issue an emergency restraining order which can:
- Prohibit the defendant from returning to the scene of the domestic violence, which may include their home.
- Require the search and seizure of any place where the judge has reason to believe a weapon is located
- Bar the defendant from possessing a firearm or other deadly weapon specific under law
Emergency restraining orders are temporary, and the judge can issue one without the other party present, however, if the injured party wants to have a full restraining order put in place they may choose to do so, and the court must hold a full hearing with both the plaintiff and the defendant within ten days. At a restraining order hearing the judge will determine if the plaintiff has proven the allegations in the domestic abuse complaint and if satisfied a judge can issue an order that can:
- prohibit the defendant from abusing the victim
- grant exclusive possession of the residence to the plaintiff
- provide for temporary child custody and parenting time
- require the defendant to compensate the plaintiff for losses caused by the defendant
- require the defendant to receive counseling or a psychiatric evaluation
- prohibit the defendant from entering the plaintiff’s residence, workplace, or school
- prohibit the defendant from contacting the plaintiff
- require the defendant to pay the rent or mortgage on the plaintiff’s residence
- provide for the temporary possession of specified property, and
- and prohibit the defendant from possessing a firearm.
The court enforces these orders by making it a crime in the fourth degree to violate any of the provisions which can carry an 18-month prison sentence and a $10,000 fine.
Defending Against False Accusations of Domestic Abuse
Because of the nature of domestic abuse cases, there are many times where there is not enough evidence to truly support a domestic violence charge, but because of the animosity between a couple, the police may support a charge. Because the court can issue restraining orders these charges should be taken very seriously. Our defense firm can help you with any domestic violence issue including:
- Simple Assault
- Terroristic Threats
- Temporary Restraining Order “TRO”
- Final Restraining Order “FRO”
- Violation of a Restraining Order
- Vacating a Final Restraining Order
- Setting Bail in a Domestic Violence Case
No Contact Orders A person who is accused of domestic violence can have their rights severely limited, and may lose custody of their children, or even access to their own home. Therefore, it is important to put forth a strong defense at a restraining order hearing.
Accused of Domestic Violence? Contact Our Atlantic City Criminal Defense Lawyers
If you have been arrested for domestic violence and assault you could be facing serious penalties and consequences. The lawyers of the Law Firm of John J. Zarych can fight to protect you from the consequences of accusations of this type and fight to protect your name and reputation. To schedule a no-cost case evaluation, call 800-508-9786 today or contact us online.