The New Jersey Domestic Violence Act

Domestic violence is a serious crime against society, in which there are thousands of individuals in the United States who are regularly beaten, tortured, and in some cases even killed. It is therefore the intent of the Legislature to assure the victims of domestic violence receive maximum protection from abuse. A NJ domestic violence offense can result in a restraining order, imprisonment and fines for the offender. Punishment for conviction of a domestic violence offense depends on the underlying crime committed.

Crimes that come under domestic violence:
  • Homicide
  • Assault
  • Terroristic threats
  • Kidnapping
  • Criminal restraint
  • False imprisonment
  • Sexual assault
  • Criminal sexual contact
  • Lewdness
  • Criminal mischief
  • Burglary
  • Criminal trespass
  • Harassment, and
  • Stalking

When these crimes are committed by an adult or emancipated minor against a person of the state, then it comes under the NJ domestic violence offense. An emancipated minor is a person under 18 years of age, and has been granted the status of adulthood declared by a court or administrative agency.

Domestic Violence Victim
  • Who is 18 or older or is an emancipated minor who has been subjected to domestic violence by:
    • spouse
    • former spouse
    • any other person who is a present or former household member
    • person with who the victim had a dating relationship
Orders for protection of victim

Court imposes restraining orders upon the defendant

  • Prohibits the defendant from returning to the scene of the domestic violence.
  • Requires the search for and seizure of weapons from any place where the judge has reason to believe a weapon is located.
  • Bar the defendant from possessing a firearm or other deadly weapon specified under law, and
  • Award possession of an animal held by either party or a minor child.

If a person knowingly violates any of the terms of a domestic violence restraining order, he may be charged with a crime in the fourth degree, which can carry up to 18 months in prison and a $10,000 fine. Prison time is not mandatory for a first time conviction of criminal contempt of a domestic violence restraining order.
If the allegations against the defendant were proven, then the court may order:

  • Prohibit the defendant from abusing the victim
  • Grant exclusive possession of the residence to the plaintiff
  • Provide for temporary child custody and parenting time
  • Require the defendant to compensate the plaintiff for losses caused by the defendant
  • Require the defendant to receive counseling or a psychiatric evaluation
  • Prohibit the defendant from entering the plaintiff’s residence, workplace, or school
  • Prohibit the defendant from contacting the plaintiff
  • Require the defendant to pay the rent or mortgage on the plaintiff’s residence
  • Provide for the temporary possession of specified property, and
  • Prohibit the defendant from possessing a firearm

Any person convicted of a second degree contempt offense or more, shall serve a minimum of 30 days in jail.

Consult With New Jersey Domestic Violence Attorney

An experienced NJ Domestic violence attorney will provide valuable guidance throughout your case while protecting your fundamental rights. If you are accused of domestic violence, you should speak with a NJ domestic violence attorney right away.

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