Domestic violence is a serious societal problem and its consequences can last a lifetime and cut across generations. Most victims of domestic violence are women and it is estimated that one in every four will be a victim at some point in their lifetime. That is why New Jersey has very strict domestic violence laws. If the police are dispatched after a report of domestic violence and there any signs of physical injuries, the alleged abuser must be arrested, even if there are no independent witnesses.
It has a broad definition in New Jersey and can include assault; terroristic threats; kidnapping; criminal restraint; false imprisonment; sexual assault; lewdness; burglary; criminal trespass; harassment, and stalking. The offense must be committed against either a current or former spouse who is 18 or older or an emancipated minor; a current or former household member who is 18 or older or an emancipated minor; a person who has a child or is expecting a child, regardless age, with the perpetrator; or a person who has had a dating relationship with the perpetrator.
A charge of domestic violence can result in serious consequences such as the filing of criminal charges, a restraining order, or both. There is also the impact of being accused of domestic violence. A conviction can include time in prison, other limits on freedom of movement, rights as a parent and as a property owner. If you are either accused of or a victim of domestic violence, at least consult with an attorney to learn your rights and possible courses of action. With the assistance of Charles A. Vaccaro, J.D. Candidate May 2015.