Could You Be Charged With a Domestic Violence Crime?
Domestic violence is a pattern of physical, emotional, verbal, and/or sexual abuse which may include assault or aggravated assault. If you’re charged with any crime of domestic violence in New Jersey, you’ll need to contact a New Jersey domestic violence defense attorney at once.
Under the law in New Jersey, for example, when two strangers have a dispute and one punches the other, it’s a criminal assault, but if the two people are dating or part of the same household, the incident is considered a criminal domestic violence assault.
Under what circumstances does a crime in New Jersey become a domestic violence crime? When is a domestic violence assault considered an aggravated assault, and what is the legal difference between assault and aggravated assault in this state?
If you’ll continue to read this brief discussion of assault, aggravated assault, and domestic violence in New Jersey, you will learn the answers to these questions, and you will also learn what steps to take if you are charged with one of these criminal offenses in this state.
What Are the Statistics on Domestic Violence?
Each year, more than 300,000 women – and an increasing number of men – visit doctors or emergency rooms after domestic violence, and over a thousand women are killed in the U.S. each year in domestic violence incidents.
Judges, prosecutors, and police officers in New Jersey take domestic violence seriously. If the officers responding to a domestic violence call see probable cause of domestic violence or signs of injury, or find that a restraining order has been violated, they are required to make an arrest.
A crime of domestic violence happens in the State of New Jersey every 7.29 minutes. According to the New Jersey State Police, in 2020, more than 63,000 reports of domestic violence were made to New Jersey police agencies. Alleged assaults accounted for 41 percent of those reports.
When is a Crime a Domestic Violence Crime?
A crime becomes a domestic violence crime in New Jersey when the perpetrator and the victim have a particular type of relationship. It’s considered domestic violence if the victim and the perpetrator are:
- married, separated, or divorced
- living together or previously lived together
- dating or previously dated
- parents of the same child or expecting a child
- current or former members of the same household
New Jersey’s Prevention of Domestic Violence Act lists nineteen different crimes that may be considered domestic violence crimes, including assault, kidnapping, robbery, burglary, criminal threats, lewdness, stalking, and harassment.
How Does Aggravated Assault Differ From “Simple” Assault?
Simple assault is the charge in New Jersey for threatening to harm someone or causing a minor injury to someone.
An aggravated assault usually causes a serious or significant bodily injury, but even without any injury, you can be charged with aggravated assault if you used a deadly weapon, started a fire or explosion, or showed excessive indifference to human life.
New Jersey law does not use the terms “felony” or “misdemeanor.” The crimes that would be comparable to felonies in other states are called “indictable offenses,” while the crimes that would typically be misdemeanors in other states are called “disorderly persons offenses.”
Depending on the severity and circumstances of the crime, indictable offenses may be charged as first, second, third, or fourth-degree crimes.
When Are Restraining Orders Issued?
If a purported domestic violence victim files a temporary restraining order against you by claiming assault, aggravated assault, or any other domestic violence crime, you must appear at a hearing where a judge will decide whether to issue a permanent restraining order against you.
A permanent restraining order, among other things, prohibits you from having any contact with the alleged victim. A restraining order can also impact your parental rights, any pending divorce proceeding, and your right to own a firearm.
If a temporary restraining order is issued against you as the result of an aggravated assault charge, you’ll need to have a New Jersey domestic violence defense lawyer represent you at the final restraining order hearing and then defend you against the aggravated assault charge.
What if You’ve Been Falsely Accused?
New Jersey authorities take every domestic violence claim seriously, but judges, family law attorneys, and defense lawyers frequently encounter fabricated allegations of domestic violence. False domestic violence reports are made with a variety of motives.
A spouse or an ex-spouse, for example, may make a false claim in an effort to gain an advantage in a property or child custody contest. Resentful teenagers sometimes contrive claims against stepparents. And some false domestic violence claims are made for no discernible reason.
In domestic violence cases, like other criminal cases, it’s seldom easy to separate the truth from the lies. Your defense lawyer will fight for the truth, but a phony domestic violence claim is like any other false criminal allegation. At a trial, what’s “true” will be decided by a panel of jurors.
How Will Your Lawyer Defend You?
A New Jersey domestic violence defense lawyer should represent you and advocate on your behalf if you’re charged with assault or aggravated assault as a domestic violence crime. After considering the details of the charge, your attorney will develop an appropriate defense strategy.
If the charge against you can’t be dropped or dismissed, the state’s case against you is strong, and you are in fact guilty, your attorney may negotiate for alternative or reduced sentencing. If you’re not guilty, you should exercise your right to a trial by jury.
At a domestic violence trial, your defense attorney will tell the jury the truth about what happened and explain why the jurors should find you not guilty. But how can you find a lawyer with the experience – and the tenacity – to prevail on your behalf?
Meet The Bianchi Law Group
The Bianchi Law Group represents defendants charged with domestic violence crimes throughout the State of New Jersey. Our team of former prosecutors knows how to find the truth and how to bring your criminal domestic violence case to its best possible conclusion.
Divorce negotiations, a restraining order, or a child custody dispute may depend on the outcome of a criminal domestic violence proceeding. An attorney with The Bianchi Law Group will advocate diligently and aggressively on your behalf for the justice you need.
If you’ve been charged in New Jersey with assault, aggravated assault, or any other domestic violence crime, or if a restraining order has been issued against you – or if any of this happens to you in the future – call our law offices in Parsippany at 862-210-8570, and let a New Jersey domestic violence defense attorney at the Bianchi Law Group go to work for you.