Domestic Violence And Assault in New Jersey
If you’ve found yourself here, you’re probably looking for answers. Maybe you’ve been accused of domestic violence and the allegation seems frightening and unclear. Perhaps you’re wondering if you could be a victim of domestic violence but the idea alone holds too much weight to consider.
This post will uncover and explain how the law defines domestic violence, who can be a victim, types of abuse and the penalties that they can incur. It is also important to recognize what you may be facing if you’ve been accused of abuse, and how to protect yourself from allegations. At the end of this post, there are links to domestic violence hotlines and help specific to New Jersey.
Being accused of domestic violence can dramatically alter your life. Aita Law LLC can offer the extensive services you need when facing allegations.
If you’ve been accused of domestic violence, the allegation alone has the ability to significantly impact your life regardless of your innocence. An abuse allegation could result in a protective order that not only limits your interaction with the person accusing you, but also your children.
With a domestic abuse restraining order, you could be denied access to your child or only be allowed supervised visitation. You could also be forced to vacate the family home and any property that is jointly owned.
If the order is violated in any way, you can be arrested and face charges such as a felony, misdemeanor, or contempt of court.
Fighting False Allegations
There are a few ways to protect yourself against allegations of abuse. The first is to de-escalate conflict and avoid it entirely if you can. Be aware of your actions and remember that something seemingly as harmless as blocking someone from exiting a room could be interpreted as grounds for domestic abuse.
It is also important to have witnesses available, especially when events could end in conflict. Though a witness may not be able to give a detailed description of the events as they unfolded, they could be helpful when describing the demeanor of the people involved. Again, it is important to be aware of your actions during the potential conflict.
Make sure you have secured any valuables and paperwork you may need. After charges have been filed, some accusers may make it difficult to obtain things like your ID, birth certificate, phone or cash.
It is also important to change your passwords, PINs and codes on all devices. If an accuser can log in to your accounts they can potentially send messages that make it appear as though you sent them. Protect yourself by changing codes and passwords for things like bank accounts, computers, laptops, phones and any other devices that require authentication.
Keep Friends and Family In The Loop
When someone accuses you of domestic abuse, it can be difficult for people to come to your defense. Letting friends and family know about potential trouble and your fear of what could happen makes people more inclined to come to your defense should you be accused.
There is no way to prevent yourself from being a victim of false accusations of abuse. In order to protect yourself, it is essential that you remain vigilant for warning signs.
What is Considered Domestic Violence in New Jersey?
In the state of New Jersey, domestic violence is defined as a pattern of abusive behavior in a relationship whereby one partner gains and maintains control over another. This intimate partner violence can be physical, sexual, emotional, economic or psychological.
If called to a scene where an act of domestic violence was said to have taken place, police must write up a report. An alleged abuser can also be arrested if there are any signs of physical abuse. If there are no outward signs of abuse or independent witnesses, police may still arrest the accused.
What Are the Types of Abuse in Domestic Violence?
There are many types of abuse that are considered forms of domestic violence. Typically, the abuse is used to gain and maintain power and control over another person. These tactics may include physical, sexual, emotional, economic or psychological abuse.
What is Physical Abuse?
Physical abuse is an act that results in bodily harm, physical pain or impairment. It can include pushing, slapping, punching, kicking, biting, strangling, food and sleep deprivation, driving recklessly, forcing a person to use drugs and/or alcohol or using weapons to threaten or hurt the victim.
What is Emotional and Psychological Abuse?
Emotional or psychological abuse is when a person subjects or exposes a person to behavior that can result in psychological trauma, anxiety, chronic depression and/or post-traumatic stress disorder. These acts can include name-calling, insults, jealousy, possessiveness, lack of trust, monitoring of another person’s activity, home imprisonment, humiliation and blame and/or threatening to harm you, your children, your family or pets.
What is Sexual Abuse?
Sexual abuse is committed when a person does not freely give consent. A person cannot freely give consent if they are under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. This type of abuse is not consensual if penetration is forced by the abuser. It is also not consensual if the victim is pressured verbally or by intimidation.
Unwanted sexual contact or unwanted sexual advances such as sexual comments are also considered forms of sexual abuse.
What is Financial Abuse?
Financial abuse is a tactic that limits the victim’s access to the family finances or keeps them from creating their own bank accounts. Abusers may conceal information related to family finances.
Financial abuse also includes forbidding the victim to acquire a job or earn money themselves. Withholding money or giving allowances or forcing the victim to work in a family business without pay is a form of financial abuse.
An abuser may also force a victim to turn over all information regarding finances. This can lead to the theft of a victim’s identity, property, or inheritance. The abuser could also refuse to pay bills, thus ruining the victim’s credit.
Anyone 18 years or older or who is an emancipated minor can be a victim of domestic violence regardless of race, sexual orientation, religion or gender. It can occur in both heterosexual and same-sex relationships. Intimate partner violence affects people of all education levels and socioeconomic backgrounds.
You do not need to be married to be a victim of domestic violence. Any intimate partners who are living together or dating can be affected by domestic violence.
In New Jersey, children are present or involved in domestic offenses 31 percent of the time. Domestic Violence is one of the largest causes of homelessness in the United States.
Can Men Be Victims of Domestic Abuse?
Absolutely. Men account for approximately 24 percent of domestic violence survivors and almost 8 percent of men who have reported their attacks have been shot, stabbed, or hit with a weapon. Check out this link for more statistics on domestic violence against men.
Domestic Violence and Assault Charges in New Jersey
Domestic violence is the occurrence of one or more criminal offenses including sexual assault, aggravated assault, and stalking. Of these criminal offenses, simple assault and aggravated assault are two of the most common crimes committed during a domestic violence charge.
Simple Assault and Domestic Violence
A simple assault can be committed in four ways:
- Acting knowingly: If a person causes an injury when they are knowingly aware that their actions will almost certainly cause injury
- Acting purposefully: If a person causes injury purposely and is consciously aware that injury can occur
- Acting negligently: If a person should be aware of but fails to realize that their actions can cause injury
- Acting recklessly: If a person is aware that their actions can cause injury, but chooses to pursue action anyway
Penalties in New Jersey for Domestic Violence and Simple Assault
Simple assaults are typically classified in two ways. The first is as a disorderly persons offense which typically occurs when one person in the party was assaulted. If convicted, a defendant may have to pay a fine from $0 to $1000, make restitution or both. The defendant may also have to pay court costs and a domestic violence surcharge of $100.
The second classification is categorized as a petty disorderly persons offense. In this instance, both parties are considered to have actively taken part in the fight. A fine of $500 could be collected in addition to court costs and possible jail time not to exceed six months.
Penalties in New Jersey for Domestic Violence and Aggravated Assault
Aggravated assault is a more serious offense and can be charged as a 2nd, 3rd, or 4th-degree offense. How a person will be charged is based on the specifics of their case. However, there are a few conditions that greatly improve your chances of being charged with aggravated assault. Are you interested in aggravated assault charges in New Jersey? This blog post can offer insight into aggravated assault charges and penalties.
What is a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO)?
After a complaint has been filed it will be processed and heard before a judge, If the judge feels that the complaint falls within the guidelines of domestic violence, the victim can be issued a Temporary Restraining Order or TRO.
In order to protect the victim from the defendant, the TRO may include specific criteria that the abuser must comply with. Specifics will vary on a case to case basis but typically the abuser is forbidden to have any contact or communication with the victim or their relatives via telephone or in writing. In addition, the abuser may not make or cause anyone else to make contact on their behalf.
The alleged abuser may also be required to reimburse the victim for medical expenses or pay temporary child support to the victim. In cases that involve children, the victim may be given temporary custody and given exclusive possession of their residence.
If a TRO is issued it is the victim’s responsibility to bring the documents to their local police department.
What if a Restraining Order is Violated?
If the alleged abuser violated the restraining order the victim can sign a criminal “Contempt of a Restraining Order” at their local police department or municipal court. This complaint can lead to the arrest of the accused.
Because of the serious implications of domestic abuse allegations, having an experienced criminal defense attorney like Aita Law LLC is essential.
If you have been the victim of domestic violence and want to talk to someone in your area, you can visit this website to find help in your county.
If circumstances require your presence in court, this website offers support and information in both English and Spanish to help you prepare.
In an emergency, victims should call 911. In non-emergency situations, victims can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE or visit www.TheHotline.org