Newark, NJ- Domestic violence is an issue that affects men, women and children. The justice system takes such charges seriously. In New Jersey, domestic violence laws are strong and strictly enforced.
New Jersey’s Prevention of Domestic Violence Act of 1991 (N.J.S.A. 2C:25-17, et. seq.) defines domestic violence as one or more criminal offenses (listed below) committed against a person in a protected class. Protected classes include current and former spouses, roommates, girlfriends and boyfriends and two people who share a child or are expecting.
Domestic violence is not a stand-alone charge; rather, it is one or more of the following charges that occurs between parties with a qualifying relationship:
- terroristic threats
- sexual assault
- criminal restraint
- false imprisonment
- criminal sexual contact
- criminal mischief
- criminal trespass
- harassment, and
Temporary restraining orders (TRO) are routinely issued when a person is charged with domestic violence. A temporary restraining order can bar a person from returning to their home, will restrict their movements, and forbid the charged individual from having contact with the victim and the victim’s family. Under state statutes, a final restraining order can be issued within ten days, after a hearing before a Superior Court judge. Before you appear in court, you can contact me at my Newark office and we can discuss the possibilities and importance of preventing issuance of a final restraining order.
Penalties for conviction of domestic violence charges can entail removal from your home, incarceration, hefty fines and loss of child custody. Domestic violence convictions can affect educational and career opportunities, the right to possess firearms and other weapons, and loss of your voting rights if severe.
In United States v. Castleman, No. 12-1371, decided on March 26, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court reaffirmed that a charge for a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence barred an individual from possessing firearms as previously established. The court’s primary task was to clarify what constituted domestic violence.
The man at the center of the case, James Castleman challenged a federal gun charge indictment. He contended that his conviction for “misdemeanor domestic violence” was not legally sufficient to deny him his right to own a gun because Tennessee laws do not require proof of physical force for such a charge. Gun laws are different in every state, oregon gun laws, for example, differ from Tenesseee, so if the incident had happened in another state the outcome could have been different.
The majority opinion, written by Justice Sonya Sotomayor, concluded that domestic violence may begin with relatively minor assaults such as painful pinching or squeezing that “one might not characterize as ‘violent’ in a nondomestic context.” But because domestic violence often begins with minor acts that can escalate to more violent acts, a broader definition of domestic violence was necessary.
While the high court concluded that misdemeanor domestic violence convictions are enough to bar a person from owning a gun, the Court also made clear such offenses are not crimes of violence that would classify them as domestic violence convictions under immigration law.
A conviction for domestic violence charges can drastically change your life, and should not be taken lightly. The high court’s decision makes it clear that any person facing domestic violence charges even if considered a misdemeanor should have a strong effective defense. Making sound decisions in such an emotionally charged situation can be difficult so you need the objectivity towards your case I can provide.
I have a thorough understanding of New Jersey statutes and understand the implications a domestic violence charge can have on your life. Protecting your rights is important to me and I will approach your case and defense with those rights in mind. Any New Jersey resident who requires a domestic violence defense can contact me at my Newark office.