It is a common misconception that domestic violence is a criminal charge, but domestic violence is actually a term that refers to various offenses committed by a person who has a certain type of relationship with the victim. Domestic violence can only occur between current or former spouses, people who have a dating relationship or were formerly dating, and people who are cohabitating in the same household or are former cohabitants. That includes siblings, parents, any relative, or anyone else who you’ve lived with—even a college roommate.
Domestic violence also requires certain criminal offenses to be involved. The most common offenses are assault, criminal mischief (meaning damaging property), theft, criminal restraint, harassment, and trespass. There are other offenses that would qualify but those are the most common.
The result of domestic violence can be criminal charges and restraining orders. The victim has a right to seek a restraining order, but the defendant has a right to defend against the restraining order to prevent it from becoming final.
In some states, restraining orders only last for two or 10 years. That’s not the case in New Jersey, where a final restraining order is in fact final and permanent. A restraining order only goes away if the victim agrees to have it removed.
Consequences of a Restraining Order
There are several major consequences to the imposition of a restraining order. The first one is difficulty finding a job. Restraining orders appear on background checks just like criminal charges do.
Another consequence and the primary issue with restraining orders is that you can no longer communicate in any way with the victim—not by text, phone, Facebook, or sending messages through other people.
In addition to the victim, a restraining order might apply to children, parents, and other people who live with or work with the victim.
You will face criminal charges if you violate a restraining order. A violation can be based on anything as simple as a text message or any sort of communication with the victim, and it doesn’t take much evidence to trigger a charge.
Another consequence of a restraining order is losing the right to possess a weapon. This could mean that weapons you already possess will be taken away, and you would be prevented from buying weapons in the future.
Effects of a Domestic Violence Charge on Immigration Proceedings
From an immigration perspective, a domestic violence charge could result in a loss of your permanent residence, denial of citizenship, or denial of any sort of legal status or admission to the United States—even if the criminal charge associated with the domestic violence would not have those consequences standing on its own. If you’re not a U.S. citizen and you’re facing a domestic violence charge, you need to hire a lawyer who is familiar with both the criminal and immigration consequences of the charge.
As your criminal lawyer, I will thoroughly investigate your arrest and explore all possible ways to fight for a favorable outcome to your case. If you would like to discuss your situation with a criminal defense attorney in Newark, call the Law Office of Eric M. Mark at 973-453-2009.