When you love someone, it seems inconceivable they would harm you. Yet, the statistics regarding domestic violence are overwhelming. According to the National Coalition against Domestic Violence, ten million people a year report an act of domestic violence by an intimate partner. Shockingly, some domestic violence incidences result in death.
No one really wants to be the victim. In fact, some acts of domestic violence go unreported. Many want to think they experienced an isolated act. After all, the perpetrator apologized and promised to never do it again. Sadly, such assurances are not necessarily valid.
Like other parts of New Jersey, acts of domestic violence occur too frequently in New Jersey. Family courts calendars are teeming with requests for restraining orders. If you are concerned that you may be a victim of domestic violence, it is crucial that you understand your legal remedies.
Meanwhile, there are cases where a defendant may feel wrongfully blamed for acts of domestic violence. Just as it is crucial for the victim to seek legal representation, it is essential for the accused to retain counsel.
The Law Offices of DiFrancia & DeDona. can provide you with legal advice. Although initial relief may be sought in family court, there may also be criminal charges associated with the acts of domestic violence. Our attorneys can help you understand the consequences of both family and criminal court actions.
Domestic Violence in New Jersey
The term domestic violence may seem to indicate physical abuse that takes place in a family residence. However, the law is for more expansive. For starters, NJSA 2C:25-19(d) defines domestic violence victims as “any person who is 18 years of age or older or who is an emancipated minor” and who has been subjected to domestic violence by one of the following:
- Spouse, including a former spouse
- Present household member or past household member
- Has a child in common with the defendant (victim can be any age)
- Either party is pregnant and anticipates having a child in common. (Victim can be any age)
- Victim and the defendant were once in a dating relationship.
Acts of Domestic Violence
New Jersey laws are quite extensive when it comes to defining domestic violence. Each one of the eighteen acts correlates to the criminal statutes. Physical altercations are just one aspect of domestic violence. Also included are charges of harassment, stalking, lewdness, and terroristic threats. Recently, cyber-harassment was added as a predicate act of domestic violence. For a more complete list of acts of domestic violence, you can review the actual law.
Consequences of Domestic Violence
For the victim, securing protection is of utmost importance. Although a municipal court judge may issue a temporary restraining order, permanent restraining orders are executed by family court. Obviously, the first goal is to ensure the victim is safe.
In addition to restraining orders, the defendant will most likely face criminal charges. In some circumstances, this could mean court fees, fines, and incarceration.
All things considered, restraining orders may not just affect the domestic violence victim. For example, a parent may risk violation of a restraining order when trying to visit his or her children. A restraining order could also carry negative employment implications.
Unfortunately, a select number of individuals make fraudulent domestic violence complaints thinking they will help their divorce or custody case. These accent the need to obtain legal representation whether you are a victim or defendant.
Restraining orders are taken quite seriously by both law enforcement officials and the court. There may come a time that the parties feel there is no longer a need for protection under the Domestic Violence Act. The steps to request dismissal of a restraining order are quite involved and include a court appearance before the same judge who executed the original order. Many requests are denied and legal advice is suggested if it is your intention to seek dismissal.
If you are the victim of domestic violence, the Law Offices of DiFrancia & DeDona P.C. would like to provide you with experienced legal advice. Likewise, if you have been accused of domestic violence, legal representation is imperative. Call us to schedule an appointment as soon as possible.