New Jersey Criminal Defense Lawyer for Individuals Accused of Domestic Violence
If your spouse, child, boyfriend, girlfriend, former spouse or partner, or any other member of your family has accused you of domestic violence, you are at risk for swift and severe consequences. Not only could you be fined and imprisoned as the result of being criminally convicted, but you could also be kicked out of your home, denied access to your children and subjected to other harsh penalties before your case goes to trial.
Domestic violence cases receive special treatment in New Jersey’s criminal justice system, and rightfully so. Victims of domestic violence deserve protection, and they often cannot wait for a jury to reach a decision at trial. Unfortunately, the protections that are in place to help domestic violence victims also mean that individuals accused of domestic violence face immediate repercussions, and those who fail to defend themselves can face lasting consequences even if the accusations against them are completely unsubstantiated.
Skilled and Aggressive Defense Representation for Individuals Charged with Domestic Violence Offenses in New Jersey
Scott Gorman is a New Jersey criminal defense attorney who has represented numerous clients accused of domestic violence. He represents clients statewide, and he handles cases involving allegations ranging from stalking and terroristic threats to physical and sexual assault. Scott is intimately familiar with all aspects of New Jersey’s Prevention of Domestic Violence Act and the other laws that apply in domestic violence cases, and he is passionate about protecting his clients against the devastating consequences of domestic violence allegations.
What Constitutes Domestic Violence?
In New Jersey, domestic violence is defined as the commission of certain types of crimes against any person who is “protected” under the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act. This includes:
- Adults and emancipated minors who are present or former members of the alleged attacker’s household (including current and former spouses;
- Current and former boyfriends and girlfriends;
- Parents of shared children; and,
- Individuals with whom the alleged attacker expects to have a child if either party is pregnant.
When committed against any of these protected individuals, all of the following crimes can be prosecuted as domestic violence offenses under New Jersey law:
- Assault (N.J.S.A. § 2C:12-1)
- Burglary (N.J.S.A. § 2C:18-2)
- Contempt of a domestic violence restraining order (N.J.S.A. § 2C:29-9)
- Criminal coercion (N.J.S.A. § 2C:13-5)
- Criminal mischief (N.J.S.A. § 2C:17-3)
- Criminal restraint (N.J.S.A. § 2C:13-2)
- Criminal sexual contact (N.J.S.A. §§ 2C:14-1, 3)
- Criminal trespass (N.J.S.A. § 2C:18-3)
- Cyber-harassment (N.J.S.A. § 2C:15-1)
- False imprisonment (N.J.S.A. § 2C:13-3)
- Harassment (N.J.S.A. § 2C:33-4)
- Homicide (N.J.S.A. §§ 2C:11-1 to 4)
- Kidnapping (N.J.S.A. § 2C:13-1)
- Lewdness (N.J.S.A. § 2C:14-4)
- Robbery (N.J.S.A. § 2C:15-1)
- Sexual assault (N.J.S.A. §§ 2C:14-1, 2)
- Stalking (N.J.S.A. §§ 2C:12-10, 10.1)
- Terroristic threats (N.J.S.A. § 2C:12-3)
New Jersey prosecutors can also pursue domestic violence charges in cases where the alleged attacker is accused of any other offense, “involving risk of death or serious bodily injury,” to a person protected under the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act.
What are the Consequences of Being Accused of Domestic Violence in New Jersey?
When a crime is charged as an act of domestic violence in New Jersey, in addition to the penalties for the underlying offense, the accused can face a variety of other consequences as well. One of these consequences is the issuance of a restraining order. This restraining order can be issued before the allegations are proven, and a temporary (or “emergency”) restraining order can even be issued without the alleged attacker having the opportunity to present his or her side of the story in court.
Depending on the specific circumstances involved, a domestic violence restraining order may prohibit the alleged attacker from:
- Having any contact with the alleged victim;
- Entering (or getting near) a shared residence or the alleged victim’s residence, workplace or school;
- Spending time with his or her children; and,
- Possessing firearms.
Domestic violence restraining orders will often also include provisions requiring the alleged attacker to continue paying rent or mortgage on a previously-shared residence, to pay restitution to the alleged victim, and to undergo psychiatric evaluation and counseling. In cases involving the potential for child abuse or endangerment, the New Jersey Department of Child Protection and Permanency (CPP) may get involved as well.
Once a domestic violence restraining order has been issued, violating the order is a serious offense. Violations of domestic violence restraining orders can potentially be prosecuted as fourth-degree indictable offenses, and violators can be convicted regardless of whether or not the underlying allegations of domestic violence are ultimately proven to be accurate.
How Can an Attorney Help with Your New Jersey Domestic Violence Case?
If you are facing a domestic violence charge in New Jersey, the odds may be stacked against you. But, defense attorney Scott Gorman can use his experience to help protect you against life-changing consequences. Some of the ways Scott can help during your domestic violence case include:
- Representing you in the domestic violence restraining order proceedings and seeking to either prevent a restraining order from being issued or limiting the scope of the restraining order to the greatest extent possible;
- Conducting an investigation to find evidence that proves you have been falsely accused;
- Negotiating with prosecutors to reduce the severity of the charges against you and the potential penalties that are on the table;
- Presenting a comprehensive defense strategy at trial; and,
- If necessary, appealing the outcome of your New Jersey domestic violence case.
If you have been accused of domestic violence, the severity of your circumstances cannot be overstated. You need to protect yourself, and you need to hire an experienced defense lawyer who can fairly and accurately portray your version of the events. To discuss your case with defense attorney Scott Gorman, contact The Gorman Law Firm today.
Contact The Gorman Law Firm in Hackensack or Morristown, NJ
With offices in Hackensack and Morristown, New Jersey defense attorney Scott Gorman represents clients in domestic violence cases statewide. To discuss your case with Scott in confidence, call 201-489-9199 or request a free consultation online now.
Contact a Bergen County Domestic Violence Attorney for Your Best Defense
A violation of a single term of a domestic violence restraining order can result in a criminal conviction for contempt, and a subsequent conviction for a violation of a restraining order will result in a minimum term of imprisonment of thirty days.
Although for many people, the consequences that flow from a domestic violence restraining order may be more burdensome than the penalties that flow from the related criminal conviction, to obtain a domestic violence restraining order, plaintiffs need only carry their burden by a preponderance of the evidence. To establish entitlement to a restraining order, a victim must prove that an underlying act of domestic occurred and that a restraining order is necessary to protect the victim from further abuse. Because a preponderance of the evidence standard is applied at these hearings, a final restraining order can issue even in the absence of proof beyond a reasonable doubt that an underlying act of domestic violence occurred.
Scott Gorman domestic violence lawyer serving Hackensack, Morristown and Bergen County. that you need on your side to represent you at a hearing to determine whether a final restraining order will issue. Scott will take the time to understand you, your relationship history, and the facts regarding your most recent incident to devise the most effective strategy for you. Scott has used his talent and experience to successfully represent both victims of domestic violence and those who have defended against applications for domestic violence restraining orders. He has obtained favorable outcomes for clients at hearings and on appeal. If you are seeking a final restraining order or if you are defending an application for a restraining order, call domestic violence lawyer Scott Gorman to discuss your case.