Gloucester County Domestic Violence Criminal Defense Lawyers
If law enforcement officers come to your home regarding a domestic violence complaint in Glassboro, Deptford Township, Washington Township, Franklin Township, Harrison Township, Monroe Township, or another Gloucester County community, you could be arrested.
Under New Jersey law, officers are required to arrest someone if an accuser – whether a romantic partner, spouse, cohabitant, roommate, or any member of a household or family – shows any sign of injury. Law enforcement also may arrest someone even in some instances where no one has been physically hurt.
In Gloucester County, a domestic violence charge inevitably results in a court issuing a restraining order, which can be devastating to your livelihood. If you’re also charged with a related violent crime, such as stalking, assault, or kidnapping (detaining or holding someone against their will), you could face steep fines, imprisonment, and additional penalties.
At the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall, our savvy legal team knows how to resolve a family dispute before it escalates into a criminal case and a mark on your record that follows you for life. Our Gloucester County defense attorneys have more than 100 years of combined legal practice, having served as New Jersey prosecutors and public defenders. We’re also compassionate and sensitive negotiators, which serves our clients well in domestic violence situations, especially when children are involved.
What Happens in a Gloucester County Domestic Violence Complaint?
Law enforcement officers in Gloucester County are trained to believe that reacting strongly to domestic violence calls can stop violence within the home and perhaps in the community. If an accuser shows any signs of injury from domestic violence, officers must take someone into custody and sign a criminal complaint against that person.
Specifically, law enforcement is required to arrest someone on a domestic violence charge if:
- A restraining order (no-contact court order) has been violated.
- The alleged victim exhibits signs of external injury or “manifestations of an internal injury.”
- The victim shows no signs of injury but claims to be injured, and law enforcement believes “other relevant factors” create probable cause for an arrest.
- A weapon was involved.
Under some circumstances, law enforcement officers also may make a discretionary arrest.
To determine who the alleged assailant is and who the alleged victim is, law enforcement considers several factors, including:
- Any history of domestic violence between the parties
- The comparative extent of injuries suffered
- Each person’s fear of physical harm, if any, caused by the other’s threatened or actual use of force
- Whether one person acted in self-defense
After an arrest, law enforcement may immediately seek a restraining order against that person from Gloucester County Superior Court or county municipal courts.
A restraining order usually requires an accused offender to:
- Leave their residence
- Refrain from any contact or communication (including text messages, phone calls, and e-mail) with other household members, including children
- Continue to make mortgage or rent payments and pay child support, if applicable
- Surrender any firearms or other weapons to law enforcement
If you already have an outstanding restraining order and you’re accused again of domestic violence, you automatically will be jailed for violating that order.
Depending on the circumstances, law enforcement or the court may file additional criminal charges, such as:
- Terroristic Threats
- Sexual Assault
- Aggravated Sexual Assault
- Criminal Restraint
- False Imprisonment
- Aggravated Manslaughter
A defendant often faces greater legal jeopardy because of the intensity or the seriousness of a domestic dispute has increased. Sometimes this occurs during the initial conflict, but emotions also can take over during law enforcement’s initial investigation, the arrest process, or in court. This can result in a mistake with long-lasting consequences, even if that wasn’t your intent.
Who May Make a Domestic Violence Complaint in Gloucester County?
New Jersey statutes state that a domestic violence victim may be:
- An adult (someone 18 years old or older) or an emancipated minor who has been subjected to domestic violence by a:
- Person with whom the victim has had a dating relationship
- Present or former household member
- Former spouse
- Person with whom the victim anticipates having a child in common because the victim or abuser is pregnant
- Anyone who, regardless of age, has been subjected to domestic violence by a person with whom the victim:
- Has a child in common
- Anticipates having a child in common, because the victim or abuser is pregnant
- Anyone who, regardless of age, has been subjected to domestic violence by a person with whom the victim has had a dating relationship
Children, disabled adults, and elderly adults also may be subjected to domestic violence and abuse, but those offenses are covered under different statutes.
How Our Gloucester County Defense Attorneys Can Help If You Face Domestic Violence Charges
In a domestic violence situation, law enforcement frequently arrives in the midst of a conflict that’s already erupted. Everything they hear and see is emotionally charged. As we outlined earlier, they must take the side of the apparent victim by law.
Under such circumstances, it’s vital to remain as calm as possible and not volunteer any statements to your accuser or investigators until an attorney is present. We recognize that family dynamics are complex, but we’ve seen how clients in the heat of the moment easily can make mistakes that complicate their legal troubles.
At the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall, trust that our Gloucester County domestic violence criminal defense attorneys are on your side. We’ll not only examine the charges against you but challenge the evidence, review how you were arrested, and negotiate to have the charges reduced or dismissed.
We evaluate domestic violence cases by asking questions such as:
- Was the alleged incident intentional or accidental?
- Does your memory of events match law enforcement’s understanding of the incident?
- Was there misconduct on law enforcement’s behalf that warrants dismissing the charges, such as an illegal search or a failure to read your Miranda rights against self-incrimination?
- Are the alleged victim’s statements plausible? Consistent?
- What do any 911 recordings indicate?
- Are there photos or medical records to prove injuries?
- Was any injury to the alleged victim inflicted through intentional self-harm or an act of self-defense?
- Are there additional witnesses?
- Are there reasons to believe that the alleged victim or witnesses are unreliable because of a known or demonstrable lack of impartiality?
- Have the witnesses or the alleged victim made previous false statements?
- Do the witnesses or the alleged victim suffer from any impairment, such as mental illness or alcohol or drug abuse?
- Are there any factors that preclude your being found guilty domestic violence? This includes an alibi at the time of the alleged incident, or a physical disability or mental condition that makes you incapable of intent.
We understand how domestic violence complaints can occur during a spontaneous argument or in the midst of an ugly divorce or breakup. We also know how such accusations can be exaggerated, if not false — and once cooler heads prevail, situations may be seen differently.
We’ve also seen firsthand how other parties, such as children, can be caught up in these situations. That’s why our attorneys strive to find a satisfactory resolution for all parties.
If appropriate, we sometimes can reach out to your accuser as your legal counsel, and discuss whether domestic violence charges can be withdrawn. We also can talk to a prosecutor and the court about lessening or dropping the charges if you agree to certain conditions, for instance, undergoing treatment for anger management.
In situations where a restraining order cannot be lifted, we’ll also advocate for reasonable visitation with your children, if applicable.
Contact Our Gloucester County Domestic Violence Lawyers Today
Ensure your rights are protected through the intricacies of New Jersey’s domestic violence laws and take advantage of every potential path toward a reduced charge or sentence by contacting the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall today. Our attorneys are glad to discuss your legal options, answer any of your questions, and explain what we can do for you.
Call us or visit us at our Woodbury office at 38 Cooper St., Suite 204. The initial consultation is free, with no legal obligation.