New Jersey Domestic Violence Criminal Defense Lawyers
If police come to your home in New Jersey for a domestic violence complaint, they are required to arrest the suspect if the accuser—wife, girlfriend, husband, boyfriend, cohabitant, or any family or household member—shows any sign of injury. Even if there are no signs of injury, the accused may be arrested and charged with a crime.
A domestic violence charge inevitably results in the court issuing a restraining order, which can have a devastating impact on your family as well as your finances. If police decide to charge you with an additional crime of violence, such as harassment, stalking, assault or kidnapping (holding a person against their will), you could face jail, a fine and additional penalties.
You need the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney if you are charged with domestic violence (domestic abuse) in New Jersey. An attorney from the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall can keep a family dispute from escalating into a criminal case and a stain on your record. Where harm has occurred, we can help you seek the best available outcome to your case.
- Our team of criminal defense attorneys is made up of former New Jersey prosecutors and public defenders who have worked in municipal and county courts across the state.
- We have positive professional relationships with prosecutors all over New Jersey.
- We are known for our strategic solutions to criminal cases.
- We are also compassionate and experienced negotiators who can work effectively to bridge the gap between accusers and defendants in domestic violence cases.
Talk to an attorney from the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall at one of our nine N.J. locations today. An initial legal consultation is free and may save you from long-standing consequences of a domestic violence charge.
What Happens in a New Jersey Domestic Violence Complaint?
Police in New Jersey are trained to believe that they can stop violence in the home and perhaps in our streets by reacting strongly to domestic violence calls. By law, a police officer must arrest and take into custody a domestic violence suspect, and must sign the criminal complaint against that person if the alleged victim exhibits signs of injury caused by an act of domestic violence.
Police are also required to make an arrest in a domestic violence complaint if they have probable cause to believe:
- A weapon was involved
- The alleged victim exhibits “manifestations of an internal injury”
- There are no visible signs of injury, but the victim claims injury and the officer believes “other relevant factors” create probable cause for an arrest
- A no-contact court order (restraining order) has been violated
Even absent these conditions above, a police officer may make a discretionary arrest and sign a criminal charge of domestic violence.
If both people involved in a domestic dispute are injured, the police officer is expected to determine who was the victim and who was the assailant, and make an arrest. The officer is to consider the following factors to determine who should be arrested:
- The comparative extent of injuries suffered
- The history of domestic violence between the parties, if any
- Each person’s fear of physical harm, if any, caused by the other’s threatened or actual use of force
- Whether one person was acting in self-defense and inflicted injuries upon the aggressor
- Other relevant factors
Upon arrest, police may immediately—day, night, weekends and holidays—seek a restraining order in municipal or superior court. A restraining order may require the accused offender to:
- Leave their home
- Refrain from contact or communication with the accuser and children in the household (including telephone or e-mail contact)
- Make mortgage or rent payments and pay support, even without being allowed to enter their home
- Give up for seizure any firearms or other weapons
If there is already an outstanding restraining order against a person accused of domestic violence, they will automatically be jailed for violation of a restraining order.
Police and/or the court may also file additional criminal charges, with additional and potentially much harsher penalties, such as:
- Terroristic Threats
- Criminal Trespass
- Simple Assault
- Aggravated Assault
- Aggravated Criminal Sexual Contact
- Sexual Assault
- Aggravated Sexual Assault
- Criminal Restraint
- False Imprisonment
- Aggravated Manslaughter
Many times, it is an increase in the intensity or seriousness of a domestic dispute that creates the greatest legal jeopardy for the defendant. Such an escalation may occur during the initial conflict, but also during the initial police investigation, arrest and/or booking, when police and municipal court judges decide what charges will be filed.
If you have been arrested for domestic violence, you need to remain calm and not make any statement to police or the accuser until an attorney is present. You can easily make mistakes that will have long-lasting consequences.
The sooner you get an attorney from the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall involved in your domestic violence case, the sooner we can begin negotiations to reduce charges against you and challenge the evidence against you or even how you were arrested.
Who May Make a Domestic Violence Complaint in New Jersey?
Under N.J. statutes, a domestic violence victim may be:
- An adult (18 years old or older) or emancipated minor who has been subjected to domestic violence by a:
- Former spouse
- Any other present or former household member
- Any person with whom the victim has had a dating relationship
- Any person 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
Elderly and disabled adults, and children may also be subjected to domestic violence and abuse, but charges are filed under different laws.
How Our Attorneys Can Help If You Face Domestic Violence Charges
Domestic violence cases are the ultimate he-said-she-said situation. At best, police arrive in the middle of what’s typically a lengthy dispute. What they are told and what they see is always emotionally charged. They must, by law, take the side of the apparent victim.
As your defense attorneys, the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall will be on your side, working to elevate and support your side of the story.
Our first move will be to seek your release from custody if you are being held. We can then begin to seek answers to questions that must be addressed to determine the legitimacy of a domestic violence case. They include but are not limited to:
- Was the alleged incident intentional or accidental?
- Does the police’s understanding of the incident match your memory of events?
- What do 911 recordings, if any, indicate?
- Are there medical records or photos to prove that someone was injured?
- Was any injury suffered by the alleged victim inflicted in an act of self-defense or by intentional self-harm?
- Are statements made by the alleged victim consistent and/or plausible?
- Are there witnesses in addition to the alleged victim?
- Are there inherent reasons to disbelieve the alleged victim and/or witness(es), such as mental illness, alcohol or drug abuse and/or impairment, previous false statements, or known or demonstrable lack of impartiality?
- Are there factors that preclude you being guilty of domestic violence, such as physical inability or mental issues that make you incapable of intent, or an alibi for the time of the alleged incident?
- Was there police misconduct that warrants dismissal of charges, such as illegal search and seizure, or failure to read you your Miranda rights against self-incrimination?
We understand the passion that is often behind a domestic violence complaint, whether it involves a spontaneous argument or long-standing dispute, or it occurs in the midst of an ugly breakup or divorce. We know from experience that accusations made in the heat of the moment can be exaggerated, if not entirely false.
We also know that accusations and charges may be seen differently and taken back in the light of day.
Our attorneys are skilled and experienced negotiators. As your legal counsel, we will reach out to your accuser, as appropriate. It is not unusual for domestic violence charges to be withdrawn and, at that point, the court should terminate the restraining order.
In other cases, the prosecutor and court can be persuaded to reduce or drop charges if you agree to certain conditions, such as participating in anger management classes.
If a restraining order cannot be lifted, we can work to establish your rights to reasonable visitation with your children.
But to ensure your rights are fully protected, and to take advantage of every potential path toward a lighter charge or sentence, you need a seasoned N.J. domestic violence defense attorney on your side. Our attorneys understand what the law allows, and have the professional relationships necessary to obtain the best possible outcome for you.
Most domestic violence cases pit one person’s word against another’s, with no solid evidence of either party’s guilt. Every day, domestic violence charges are dropped and defendants are found not guilty because they have the right legal representation.
Contact Our New Jersey Domestic Violence Lawyers Today
If you have been arrested and charged with domestic violence in New Jersey, exercise your right to remain silent and call our experienced criminal defense attorneys as soon as possible. It is a mistake to face such charges alone.
Our team will work diligently to make sure you do not face potentially severe punishments allowed under New Jersey law for violent crimes often attached to domestic violence cases. Contact the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall now for a free initial legal consultation and strong, dedicated legal representation.