Domestic Violence. There are few subjects that have recently received as much attention–in New Jersey and across the country–and rightfully so.
Statistics tell us that one in every four women experiences domestic violence in her lifetime. The cost of that violence is several billion dollars each year for medical and mental health services. Domestic Violence is not confined to women. Many men are also domestic violence victims. And the worst thing is-most cases of domestic violence are not reported to the police.
Don’t Ignore Your Rights and Responsibilities
Ignoring your rights and responsibilities is not a good option. If you live in New Jersey and you’re the victim of domestic violence, call the police right away. If you are charged with domestic violence in New Jersey, read the Restraining Order carefully and do not violate it, because that is a criminal offense.
Whether you are the victim or the accused, you have the right to have a Family Court Judge conduct a full and fair hearing, at which you can be represented. One of our New Jersey Domestic Violence Lawyers will be your dedicated advocate through the process. You should always exercise that right, because the Court’s Decision can dramatically affect the rest of your life and your family’s welfare.
As with any divorce, no one party ends up getting everything that they want. Salvaggio Law Group really focused on what was important to me and really made sure that those concerns were addressed during the process. They also made sure that I g...Read More
As with any divorce, no one party ends up getting everything that they want. Salvaggio Law Group really focused on what was important to me and really made sure that those concerns were addressed during the process. They also made sure that I got out of a bad situation ASAP with the least amount of pain (financial and emotional) as possible. All the court filings were thorough and they presented my case very well. I would definitely recommend Salvaggio Law Group to anyone who needs the best legal representation in a divorce.Read Less
As with any divorce, no one party ends up getting everything that they want. Salvaggio Law Group really focused on what was important to me and really made sure that those concerns were addressed during the process. They also made sure that I g...
I would definitely refer someone to Salvaggio Law Group LLC. I work with many attorneys as part of my profession and found them to be talented, well versed in the law, and good negotiators who ensured that a fair and reasonable outcome was achi...Read More
I would definitely refer someone to Salvaggio Law Group LLC. I work with many attorneys as part of my profession and found them to be talented, well versed in the law, and good negotiators who ensured that a fair and reasonable outcome was achieved. They were always better prepared and more knowledgeable than the other side's attorney. They also showed me how I could save time and legal fees by doing a lot of the documentation work myself. All of my calls and e-mails to Salvaggio Law Group were promptly addressed, and their interactions with me were always very professional and courteous.Read Less
I would definitely refer someone to Salvaggio Law Group LLC. I work with many attorneys as part of my profession and found them to be talented, well versed in the law, and good negotiators who ensured that a fair and reasonable outcome was achi...
Frequently Asked Questions on Domestic Violence
In New Jersey, Domestic Violence is defined as the occurrence of one or more of the following criminal offenses upon a person protected under the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act:
- Homicide — N.J.S.A 2C:11-1
- Terroristic Threats — N.J.S.A. 2C:12-3
- Criminal Restraint — N.J.S.A. 2C:13-2
- Sexual Assault — N.J.S.A. 2C:14-2
- Criminal Sexual Contact — N.J.S.A. 2C:14-3
- Burglary — N.J.S.A. 2C:18-2
- Harassment — N.J.S.A. 2C:33-4
- Assult — N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1
- Kidnapping — N.J.S.A. 2C:13-1
- False Imprisonment — N.J.S.A. 2C:13-3
- Lewdness — N.J.S.A. 2C:14-4
- Criminal Mischief — N.J.S.A. 2C:17-3
- Criminal Trespass — N.J.S.A. 2C:18-3
- Stalking — N.J.S.A. 2C:12-10
Striking or Hitting Not Required
Domestic violence does not require that the victim be struck or hit. Harassment is the offense most commonly charged by victims. Harassment is defined in N.J.S.A. 2C:33-4 as follows:
…a person commits a petty disorderly persons offense if, with purpose to harass another, he:
- Makes, or causes to be made, a communication or communications anonymously or at extremely inconvenient hours, or in offensively coarse language, or any other manner likely to cause annoyance or alarm;
- Subjects another to striking, kicking, shoving, or other offensive touching, or threatens to do so; orEngages in any other course of alarming conduct or of repeatedly committed acts with purpose to alarm or seriously annoy such other person.
- Stalking is another enumerated offense which does not require that the victim be struck or hit. Stalking is defined in N.J.S.A. 2C:12-10b as follows:
A person is guilty of stalking, a crime of the fourth degree, if he purposely and repeatedly follows another person and engages in a course of conduct or makes a credible threat with the intent of annoying or placing that person in reasonable fear of death or bodily injury.
Please note: Although the act constituting Domestic Violence may also give rise to criminal prosecution, New Jersey Domestic Violence cases are civil proceedings which are heard by a New Jersey Family Court Judge.
Not everyone can file a Domestic Violence Complaint. When the New Jersey Legislature enacted the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act (N.J.S.A. 2C:25-17 et seq.), its principal focus was serious abuse between spouses.
However, the definition of a “victim” in the New Jersey Prevention of Domestic Violence Act extends its protection beyond just spousal abuse to also include:
- A person who is 18 years of age or older or an emancipated minor, and has been subjected to domestic violence by a former spouse or any other person who is a present or former household member; and
- A person of any age who has been subjected to domestic violence by a person with whom the victim has had a child in common, or with whom the victim has had a dating relationship.
Temporary Restraining Order (“TRO”)
The principal relief you can obtain when you file a Domestic Violence Complaint in New Jersey is a Temporary Restraining Order (“TRO”).
As soon as the offense occurs, call the police and they will tell you what to do. Very often, the local Municipal Court Judge will enter the Temporary Restraining Order. On weekdays during normal courthouse hours, you can also file a Domestic Violence Complaint and seek a TRO at the County Courthouse in the county where you live.
The Temporary Restraining Order may include provisions:
- Prohibiting the Defendant from returning to the scene of the domestic violence.
- Prohibiting the Defendant from locations where the victim (and other persons named by the victim) are employed or reside.
- Prohibiting the Defendant from any oral, written, personal or other form of contact with victim and other persons named by the victim.
- Prohibiting the Defendant from making or causing anyone else to make harassing communications to the victim and other persons named by the victim.
- Prohibiting the Defendant from stalking, following or threatening to harm, to stalk or to follow the victim and other persons named by the victim.
- Forbidding the Defendant from possessing any firearms or other weapons, including an order to search and seize any weapons at any location where the judge has reasonable cause to believe the weapon is located.
- Directing the Defendant to pay the victim money that is needed on an emergency basis. Any other relief deemed necessary by the Judge.
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