Domestic violence, or physical or emotional abuse of one person in a close relationship with the other, is unfortunately a common occurrence throughout New Jersey and across the nation. Domestic violence cases are taken very seriously by the authorities, and you can face serious consequences if convicted of such a crime, including not only long jail sentences and high fines but also the possibility of a restraining order being imposed and leaving you homeless. At the Law Offices of John J. Zarych, our knowledgeable Atlantic City domestic violence charges attorney has years of experience successfully defending those charged with all sorts of domestic violence crimes in courts throughout the state. Below, we explain whether it is important to have a lawyer for domestic violence charges in NJ and how our attorneys can help guide your case to the most successful possible resolution.
Should I Hire an Attorney for Domestic Violence Charges in New Jersey?
Anytime you are facing a criminal charge in the state of New Jersey, you should reach out to an experienced New Jersey criminal defense attorney like those at the Law Offices of John J. Zarych as soon as possible. If you are arrested for a crime of domestic violence, you or a loved one should act immediately to reach out to us so that we can ensure that you are not questioned without us present and end up saying something that you should not have said. Although it is legal to represent yourself in a criminal case, this is never a good idea, as our skilled Ocean City domestic violence defense lawyers have the experience and know-how necessary to give you the best possible chance of getting your charges downgraded or dismissed.
Types of Domestic Violence Charges in New Jersey
There is no specific crime in the NJ code that is called “domestic violence.” Rather, domestic violence is an umbrella term for a type of crime committed against a certain class of protected people. The crime could range from assault to harassment to terroristic threats and much more. The class of protected people under NJ law includes current or former dating partners or spouses and current or former adult household members. In most cases, the penalties you will face after being convicted for a crime of domestic violence are the same as they would be for the underlying charge.
However, sometimes the penalties can be enhanced due to the domestic violence component. in the case of assault, actions that would normally constitute a simple assault are automatically charged as aggravated assault if they are committed in the domestic violence context. Additionally, almost all domestic violence charges result in a restraining order between you and the alleged victim, which could be a major headache if you live together and are forced to move out.
How Can an Attorney Help with New Jersey Domestic Violence Charges?
Once you have been arrested for domestic violence, you will be taken to the local police station for the booking process, where you will be fingerprinted and photographed. Within 48 hours of your booking, your initial appearance and detention hearing will be held, which is why it is vital to reach out to a skilled domestic violence defense attorney like those at the Law Offices of John J. Zarych as soon as possible after your arrest. At the initial appearance, the judge will read the charges against you and advise you of your rights during the case, including your right to an attorney if you do not already have one.
In disorderly persons domestic violence offense cases, your arraignment will occur at the initial appearance as well, while this occurs later, after the grand jury has returned an indictment, in indictable offense cases. At your arraignment, the judge will ask you to enter an initial plea of guilty or not guilty. An experienced Atlantic City attorney for a criminal arraignment will likely advise you to plead not guilty while we collect all the evidence and assess the strength of the case against you. At the bail hearing, the judge will make a decision if you can be released and if any conditions will be imposed on your release. Our battle-tested bail hearing attorneys can make the most persuasive case for you to be released on little to no bail.
If a restraining order is imposed, as one is in most domestic violence cases, there will be a hearing to decide if it is converted from a temporary restraining order into a permanent one. We can argue that it should not be. After this, we will likely focus our attentions on trying to work out a deal with the prosecutor to get your charges downgraded or dismissed. For some first-time offenders, we may be able to convince the prosecutor to let you into a pre-trial intervention program, which, if completed successfully, will result in your charges being dropped.
Other possible deals include the prosecutor agreeing to downgrade the charge to something less serious, like from an indictable offense to a disorderly persons offense, or the prosecutor agreeing to recommend a more lenient sentence to the judge. In domestic violence cases, it is important to note that many times the prosecutor will not agree to any sort of deal without the victim’s consent. Of course, if no fair deal is offered or you simply do not wish to take a deal, our skilled Atlantic County domestic violence defense lawyers at the Law Offices of John J. Zarych are ready to fight for a not guilty verdict in the courtroom.
If You Have Been Charged with a Crime of Domestic Violence in NJ, Call Our Battle-Tested Attorneys Today
Domestic violence is a catch-all term for crimes committed against a dating partner or someone you live with, among others. If convicted, especially of the more serious domestic violence crimes like assault, you can face high fines and long jail sentences as well as a restraining order that could force you our of your home and completely disrupt your life. At the Law Offices of John J. Zarych, our seasoned Atlantic City criminal defense attorneys have years of experience successfully working with our clients charged with all surts of domestic violence crimes to get their charges downgraded or dismissed. Call our firm right away at (609) 616-4956 for a free consultation.