Domestic violence is taken seriously by prosecutors in New Jersey. People who are convicted of a domestic violence crime like assault may face harsh consequences, including both criminal penalties and consequences for child custody and other family law matters. At the Grimes Law Firm, we are ready to assist you if you have been accused of or charged with a domestic violence crime. New Jersey domestic violence lawyer Raymond A. Grimes is dedicated to helping defendants tell their side of the story.Fighting Charges of Domestic Violence
Domestic violence in New Jersey includes several different offenses that may be committed when the perpetrator and the victim have a household, spousal, or co-parenting relationship. A person can be a victim of domestic violence if they are either 18 years old or older or an emancipated minor who has been subject to one of the enumerated crimes by a spouse, former spouse, or somebody who is now or was previously a household member. Regardless of age, a person could be a victim of domestic violence in New Jersey if they have a child in common with the perpetrator, or if one of the parties is pregnant with the other's child or has had a dating relationship with the perpetrator.
Crimes that are considered domestic violence in New Jersey include homicide, assault, kidnapping, terroristic threats, false imprisonment, sexual assault, criminal restraint, criminal sexual contact, criminal mischief, lewdness, burglary, harassment, stalking, and criminal trespass. The specific crime may be a felony or misdemeanor, based on the alleged perpetrator's actions and the underlying circumstances. The severity of the punishment may depend partly on prior offenses or a history of domestic violence, and in some cases the domestic violence charges are also associated with a DUI or drug crime, which carry other penalties. The sentence may also include a restraining order. A domestic violence attorney can assist New Jersey residents with proceedings involving restraining orders as well as the underlying criminal charge.
In New Jersey, police officers must make certain mandatory arrests when called to a home as a result of possible domestic violence. A mandatory arrest happens if the victim shows signs of injuries caused by an act of domestic violence under N.J.S.A. 2C:25-21a(1).
Any sign that means that the victim may have experienced a bodily injury, including pain or manifestations of internal injuries, can be sufficient to trigger a mandatory arrest. If there is nothing to visibly indicate an injury, but the victim states that an injury has happened, the police are supposed to consider other factors. If both people show signs of injuries, the police officer is supposed to consider the comparative extent of the injuries that were sustained, any history of domestic violence, and anything else that is relevant. Police are supposed to follow standard procedures in obtaining emergency treatment for a victim of domestic violence.
A mandatory arrest also occurs when the police have probable cause to believe that the terms of a no contact order were breached. It is also triggered when there is a warrant or when the police have probable cause to believe that a weapon defined under N.J.S.A. 2C:39-1r was involved in the perpetration of domestic violence.
There are also situations in which the police have discretion over whether or not to make an arrest. The police are permitted to arrest someone or sign a criminal complaint against someone for domestic violence if they have probable cause to believe that domestic violence has occurred, even if none of the mandatory arrest conditions applies.
A related charge with which a New Jersey domestic violence attorney can assist you is a violation of a domestic violence restraining order. In order to obtain a conviction of contempt of a domestic violence restraining order, the prosecution needs to show beyond a reasonable doubt that a restraining order was issued under the domestic violence statute, you violated the order, you violated it knowingly or purposely, and the actions that made up the violation also constituted a crime or a disorderly persons offense. A conviction can result in 18 months in jail and a $10,000 fine.
There are defenses that may be used to fight a domestic violence charge, depending on the specific offense at issue, among them self-defense, defense of others, procedural errors, and violations of constitutional rights. When there are violations of a defendant's right against self-incrimination or searches and seizures, it may be possible to get evidence obtained as a result of those violations suppressed.Consult a Knowledgeable Domestic Violence Lawyer for a New Jersey Charge
If you are facing or potentially facing domestic violence charges in New Jersey, you should hire an experienced trial lawyer to guard your rights and present a strong defense. At the Grimes Law Firm, we provide experienced legal representation to people charged with criminal offenses ranging from domestic violence to marijuana offenses in Neshanic Station and elsewhere in Somerset County, as well as throughout the tri-state area. Contact us at (908) 371-1066 or online to schedule a free consultation.