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NJ Family Law - Domestic Violence Laws


nj domestic violenceDomestic violence involves violence or the threat of violence, abuse or harassment against a spouse, former spouse, any present or former member of the same household, someone in a dating relationship, or someone who has, or is about to have, a child in common.  Recently New Jersey’s domestic violence law was expanded to include claims of stalking.

If any of the above type of behavior occurs, victims of domestic violence have the right to go to court to seek a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) to bar contact and communication between them, and (if granted) thereafter, a Final Restraining Order (entered by a superior court judge on proper facts) continuing to prevent all contact and communication between them.

Domestic violence courts in New Jersey also have the power under the criminal code to order the  seizures of weapons, the removal of dangerous persons, and the prosecution of those in contempt of court orders.  After the restraining order has been entered, should the order be violated, he or she runs the risk of being held in contempt, incarcerated and criminally prosecuted.

As NJ family law and divorce lawyers, Diamond & Diamond often represent clients in divorce litigation who have also been charged with domestic violence. Our attorneys recognize the devastating effects domestic violence and abuse have on families and children. When a client is truly guilty of domestic violence, we counsel him or her to receive the help they need, as we work to make sure that rights are protected and justice is served through the courts. In many cases, however, clients face vague domestic violence charges without a clear understanding of the law they may have broken.

New Jersey domestic violence law is specific about what does, and what does not, constitute domestic violence.

Here are some behaviors against a child, spouse, domestic partner, or person with whom you may have had a former relationship with, that could result in a domestic violence charge and conviction in New Jersey:

  • Homicide
  • Physical abuse of child, spouse, or domestic partner
  • Criminal restraint or unlawful imprisonment
  • Sexual assault or criminal sexual contact
  • Breaking and entering their home, burglary
  • Criminal mischief, criminal trespassing
  • Harassment, stalking, disobeying a restraining order*
  • Verbal threats of physical abuse, consistent with past behavior
  • Intentional child endangerment
 

* In New Jersey, stalking is defined as purposely following somebody in such a way that causes the person to feel in danger of death or bodily injury. Harassment is defined as communicating directly, or anonymously, offensive language or other annoying, unwelcome renderings that may cause the victim to feel alarmed or concerned about their safety or freedom.

Domestic violence laws in New Jersey have become powerful tools to redress abusive behavior engaged in by individuals in a family-style relationship. A restraining order can be an effective tool to stop harassing behavior of a family member, spouse, domestic partner, or ex-partner. However, domestic violence charges are very serious and should not be taken lightly. At Diamond & Diamond, we assist individuals in obtaining orders of protection when appropriate and defending individuals wrongfully accused.

Victims and Accused

Whether the New Jersey domestic violence law firm is representing the individual filing the petition or the person defending the request for an order, the attorneys will work diligently to represent the client through the entire process. Domestic abuse issues can arise in the context of marital disputes, after a separation, or during a relationship.

What Constitutes Domestic Violence?

Many individuals are confused about what actions constitute domestic violence. The New Jersey domestic violence lawyers at Diamond & Diamond are experienced in handling spousal abuse and domestic violence charges and can help you better understand your unique situation.

Domestic violence means 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)
Assault  (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)
Ciminal 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)

Stalking has been added as an enumerated offense. 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.

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:

a. 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;

b. Subjects another to striking, kicking, shoving, or other offensive touching, or threatens to do so; or

c. Engages in any other course of alarming conduct or of repeatedly committed acts with purpose to alarm or seriously annoy such other person.

Domestic Violence Representation

A domestic violence action can be very overwhelming for the family involved. Whether defending a client or filing the petition, the New Jersey attorneys at the firm who handle child and spousal abuse issues are skilled in counseling and guiding clients through the difficult process. These attorneys are experienced in handling all elements of restraining orders, protective orders, or violations of protective orders, such as attaining or contesting:

  • Temporary orders for custody
  • Temporary orders regarding entrance to the marital residence
  • Temporary orders against transferring assets
  • Temporary orders regarding child support
  • Other temporary orders

Quality Representation - Now

If you or a loved one is a victim of abuse, it is essential to get legal advice as to your rights. If a temporary restraining order has been filed against you, it is important to seek an experienced lawyer immediately.

With more than half a century's experience, it's easy to see that Diamond & Diamond is the smart choice when you find yourself in need of NJ domestic violence lawyers. Email or call us now at 973.379.9292
 

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Diamond & Diamond
NJ Family Law

225 Millburn Avenue, Suite 208
Millburn, New Jersey 07041
Telephone: 973-379-9292
Facsimile: 973-379-9210 
 

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