Domestic Violence is something that can never be tolerated, and in New Jersey, the laws against those who commit such a heinous crime are very serious. It is very important to be aware of all of the laws surrounding cases such as this, from what is considered an act of domestic violence to who is legally capable of committing such a deed. The definitions may vary by state but one thing is clear, and that is domestic violence is an offense that needs a punishment that can hopefully come close to fitting the crime.
Domestic violence in New Jersey is defined as the threatened or actual physical, emotional, sexual, or economic abuse of a person by someone with whom they have had or have an intimate relationship with. This type of abuse in intimate relationships is unfortunately very common, and while most often it affects women men can be the victims of domestic violence as well. In total there are 14 specific criminal offenses that when committed by an adult (or in special circumstances certain minors as well) that fall under the domestic violence category:
- Terrorist threats
- False imprisonment
- Criminal restraint
- Criminal sexual contact
- Sexual Assault
- Criminal mischief
- Criminal trespass
In order to be considered a domestic violence victim in New Jersey one of the criminal offenses listed above must be committed by an adult or emancipated minor towards a person who can be described as:
- A current or former household member who is 18 or older or is an emancipated minor
- A current or former spouse who is 18 or older or is an emancipated minor
- A person with whom the perpetrator has a child or is expecting a child regardless of the age of the victim
A person with whom the perpetrator has had a relationship where the two were dating
In regards to law enforcement an officer must arrest the suspect and sign an official criminal complaint when a person claims to have been the victim of a domestic violence incident committed by the suspect, when the officer has enough evidence to believe that such an act of violence occurred, and if the officer is aware that any of the following scenarios have occurred:
- An arrest warrant exists
- The victim shows signs of an injury
- The suspect has violated a domestic violence restraining order
- The officer has significant cause to believe that a weapon was used in the act of committing a domestic violence crime.
Even if any of these circumstances above are not applicable to the specific situation the officer at the scene can still make an arrest, sign a criminal complaint or do both if that is what they believe the correct course of action should be. In addition, if both parties show signs of physical injury and both parties claim to be the victim of a domestic violence incident it is up to the officer to determine which person is the aggressor in the situation by using the evidence on the scene as well as being aware of any history of domestic violence between the two.
Schedule a Free Consultation with the Experienced Maplewood, NJ Divorce & Domestic Violence Lawyers at Nitti & Nitti Today
If you or someone you love is the victim of a domestic violence act there are several options you can take from getting a restraining order to filing a lawsuit. Regardless of the path you choose you will need a qualified attorney to help you fight for the justice you deserve. Contact Nitti and Nitti Attorneys at Law at 973-226-4141 to speak about your options or by filling out our convenient online contact form.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney/client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.