Essex County Domestic Violence Lawyer to Help Fight Your Arrest
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. Don’t let these things happen. Call Essex County domestic violence lawyer, Scott Gorman, today.
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. Don’t be a victim of a false or exaggerated claim.
Skilled and Aggressive Domestic Violence Defense Representation
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?
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 a Domestic Violence Arrest or Conviction Will Impact Your Daily Life
While a domestic violence conviction can result in fines and jail (or prison) time in New Jersey, simply getting arrested for domestic violence can have an immediate impact on your daily life. If you are forced to go through life with a domestic violence conviction on your record, this can have many daily consequences as well.
Here are some examples of the ways a domestic violence arrest or conviction will impact your daily life:
1. Loss of Child Custody Rights
If you have children, getting arrested for domestic violence could lead to the loss of your child custody rights.
If you are being accused of child abuse or endangerment, you may be forced to deal with DCP&P (formerly DYFS) as well. Being accused of domestic violence can lead to being deemed an “unfit” parent; and, if this happens, you will face a long and difficult road back to restoring your unrestricted parental rights.
For many people, losing the ability to spend time with their children is the most significant consequence of a domestic violence arrest. While you may have options available, it will be important for you to act quickly, and you should speak with an Essex County domestic violence lawyer as soon as possible.
2. Restrictions on Where You Can Go
When you are subject to a domestic violence restraining order or have a domestic violence conviction on your record, you can face restrictions on where you are allowed to go. This could include being restricted from visiting your children’s school, or even from returning to your own home. In New Jersey, judges prioritize protecting victims of domestic violence, and they will not hesitate to impose any restrictions that they believe are necessary.
3. Restrictions on What You Can Do
In addition to facing restrictions on where you can go, you can also face restrictions on what you are allowed to do. For example, you may be restricted from contacting the alleged victim in any way. You could also lose your right to own a firearm or other weapons, and you may be required to attend psychiatric evaluation and treatment, alcohol or drug abuse treatment, and/or anger management counseling in order to have any hope of restoring your former life.
4. Employment Challenges
Having any type of arrest or conviction on your record can make it much more difficult (if not impossible) to find a job. But, this is especially true in the case of an arrest or conviction for domestic violence. Prospective employers will view you as a risk, and many will be unwilling to give you a chance even if you have fully served your sentence and made efforts at reform.
While some domestic violence crimes are eligible for expungement, others are not. So, depending on the specific allegations against you, your domestic violence case could remain on your record forever. Even if your charge is eligible, it can take years to qualify for expungement of a conviction,; and, by this time, the damage to your career and your professional reputation may already be done.
5. Megan’s Law Registration and Other Consequences
If you are being accused of a form of domestic violence involving sexual assault or another sex-related offense, you may be required to register as a sex offender under Megan’s Law. When you are forced to register under Megan’s Law, information about your case is made available online, and your neighbors (and others) may be informed of your registration as well.
Understanding the Immediate and Long-Term Consequences of Domestic Violence Allegations
An important fact to understand about domestic violence cases in New Jersey is that they frequently involve two separate legal proceedings—one civil and one criminal. Soon after your arrest, you may face the imposition of a domestic violence restraining order in a civil proceeding. The judge can issue a temporary restraining order in your absence so initially, you can be prevented from having contact with your spouse, significant other, or family member – as well as your children – before you have had any chance to defend yourself. You will get the opportunity to present a defense at a hearing to determine whether the restraining order should be converted into a permanent order, but these hearings are scheduled quickly so you won’t have much time to prepare. And violating the restraining order can lead to a conviction even if you are not guilty of domestic violence.
Domestic violence cases are complex, they can have severe consequences, and they require experienced legal representation. To protect yourself to the fullest extent possible, you should speak with an experienced Essex County domestic violence lawyer right away.
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, Hackensack domestic violence lawyer 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 a Essex County Domestic Violence Lawyer for Your Best Defense
With offices in Essex County 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.