Domestic violence is a serious matter, and can oftentimes result in serious injuries and psychological harm. However, most states are still behind when it comes to the legal framework surrounding domestic violence. Rather than nipping it in the bud with a set legal framework, matters tend to get lengthy and convoluted.
However, that is not the case in New Jersey, where authorities take domestic violence very seriously and the consequences can be just as bad. It is no secret that New Jersey’s laws clearly favor the victim in such a situation and they tend to make life very difficult for the person who is accused of such actions.
As such, it can go a long way if one has a working knowledge of New Jersey domestic violence criminal statutes, especially if they are facing charges. Luckily, we’ve prepared this concise guide to give you a basic understanding of these laws and what you should know if you ever find yourself stuck in such a situation.
What Constitutes Domestic Violence?
Under New Jersey Law, there’s a long list of actions that would constitute domestic violence, provided the circumstances are such. It could be assault, or just the threat of harm even, trespass, sexual assault, cyber-harassment (or regular harassment), or any other criminal or unwanted actions. It would be for the court to decide whether the actions fall in the category of domestic violence.
What are the Consequences of domestic violence?
Depending on what action has been committed so as to constitute domestic violence, you could either be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony. Your punishment would then be judged accordingly as well and could include damages or, even worse, jail time. You could also be hit with a restraining order, keeping you far away from the person who has filed charges against you.
Violating such a restraining order, or any other directions of the court could result in a $10000 fine or jail time. The first violation will result in only a fine, but if you keep doing it then you’ll be looking at some serious jail time and a further worsening criminal record.
Should i get a Lawyer if i’m facing Charges?
The simple answer is yes. A domestic violence criminal defense lawyer can not only help advise you on the detailed laws surrounding domestic violence, but they’ll also be better able than you to deal with all the red tape with the courts and the district attorney’s office. These lawyers have a wide network that allows them to coordinate for cases and allow for a more streamlined process. They can also help with plea bargains and can ensure you get a better deal with the district attorney.
Moreover, while representing yourself in civil matters is fine and understandable, with criminal cases the consequences are much more serious. Why risk your freedom and get stuck with a criminal record just because you want to save some money? If you are innocent, chances are the court will direct the plaintiff to pay the court fees and your lawyer’s fees as well. If you’re guilty, then getting a lawyer becomes a matter of necessity.