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Few New Jersey criminal charges can upend your life faster and more impactfully than charges of domestic violence. In fact, your world can be thrown into turmoil instantly, well before you are actually charged with a crime. The mere allegation that you have committed an act of domestic abuse – whether true or not – is enough under New Jersey law to have you removed from your home and separated from your kids, among other severe consequences. If you do not take your domestic violence charge seriously and retain an experienced New Jersey domestic violence lawyer as soon as possible, you could be risking everything including, but not limited to, losing custody of your children, losing all of your weapons permanently and being unable to own a firearm, losing your job, and being barred from coaching or supervising other children.
At Helmer, Conley & Kasselman, P.A., our New Jersey domestic violence lawyers understand what is at stake. While our team also understands that actual cases of domestic violence should be treated as the serious crimes they are, the sad reality is that false allegations are too often made or exaggerated for cynical reasons, such as gaining an advantage in a divorce case or custody dispute.
Whatever the underlying circumstances may be, our attorneys stand ready to protect your rights from the moment you reach out to us. Domestic violence cases in New Jersey proceed much faster than other criminal matters, and it can be easy to get steamrolled by aggressive prosecutors and a legal framework specifically designed to impose swift and severe consequences. If you choose our firm, a New Jersey domestic violence lawyer will use their extensive experience and aggressive approach to criminal defense in a relentless effort to clear your name, defeat your charges and restore your normal life.
Domestic violence in New Jersey is not just one offense; it can be any number of criminal offenses as set forth in the New Jersey Prevention of Domestic Violence Act of 1991 (PDVA). What makes an offense an act of domestic violence is that it is committed against a “protected person” with whom the accused has or had a relationship. Under the PDVA, protected persons include:
Domestic violence charges against a protected person can be based on any of the following criminal acts:
Of course, the issuance of a restraining order may only be the first of many consequences if you are ultimately found guilty of domestic violence. If the alleged victim files a criminal complaint and you are convicted, you could be facing significant fines, time behind bars and a stain on your reputation that could follow you for the rest of your life.
In domestic violence cases, the fines and prison time that are on the table are the same as those that apply in cases involving offenses against non-protected persons. New Jersey classifies crimes as “indictable offenses” and “disorderly persons offenses,” and the penalties for domestic violence crimes are determined based upon their classification:
Crimes that can be charged as domestic violence under the PDVA run the entire range of classifications. For example, while lewdness can be classified as a disorderly persons offense (although it can also be charged as a fourth-degree indictable offense), homicide and sexual assault crimes targeting protected persons can be charged as first-degree indictable offenses carrying the potential for life behind bars. Other examples include:
While these consequences are obviously very severe, they are far from the only consequences of facing accusations of domestic violence in New Jersey. In addition to a temporary restraining order (TRO), which the judge can issue without providing you with notice or the opportunity to be heard, you can also face a permanent restraining order following a Domestic Violence Hearing. A permanent domestic violence restraining order can include terms such as:
Critically, domestic violence restraining order proceedings are entirely separate from criminal prosecutions for domestic violence. Domestic violence restraining orders are issued in civil court in response to complaints filed by alleged victims. This means that you can face a domestic violence restraining order even if you are not convicted of a domestic violence offense in criminal court. In fact, restraining order proceedings move much more quickly than criminal cases, so you will need to defend against the alleged victim’s request for a domestic violence restraining order while your criminal case is pending.
Since New Jersey prosecutors aggressively pursue domestic violence charges, trying to defend yourself or thinking you can talk your way out of it can be a catastrophic mistake. Fighting these charges requires the help of a New Jersey domestic violence lawyer who has the experience and skill to prepare a thorough and aggressive defense in a very short amount of time.
At Helmer, Conley & Kasselman, P.A., our domestic violence attorneys are available on an emergency basis to immediately get to work handling such matters. Our team has more than 600 years of combined experience and a track record of positive outcomes for those accused of domestic violence. Call us at 877-435-6371 or contact us online today to discuss your situation in confidence.
Don’t let your rights be jeopardized.