Unexpected Consequences of a Domestic Violence Arrest
Posted by Scott Gorman - March 31, 2022

In New Jersey, a domestic violence arrest can lead to fines and jail time. But, these are far from the only consequences you can face when accused of domestic violence in the Garden State. An arrest can impact your life in many other ways as well—including a variety of ways you might not expect.

10 Unexpected Ways a Domestic Violence Arrest Can Change Your Life

Here are 10 unexpected consequences of a domestic violence arrest in New Jersey:

1. Being Prohibited from Entering Your Own Home

Shortly after your arrest and well before your trial, the court will likely enter a temporary restraining order against you. This can happen before you have the opportunity to respond. Among several other prohibitions, your temporary restraining order may prohibit you from entering your own home.

Even if you are not allowed to enter your home, you will have to keep paying for it—this will likely be included in your temporary restraining order as well. If you attempt to enter your home or stop making payments, this could lead to your immediate arrest.

2. Having Trouble Finding a Place to Live

If your domestic violence arrest leads to a conviction, you could have trouble finding a new place to live. Your conviction will go on your record, and most landlords will check your record before deciding whether to offer you a lease. Many landlords will not offer leases to convicted criminals, and many will be especially hesitant to offer you a lease if you have been convicted of domestic violence. They won’t want to take the risk of your history leading to problems on their property.  

3. Being Deemed an “Unfit” Parent

Depending on the nature of your domestic violence charge, your arrest could also lead to you being deemed an “unfit” parent. If this happens, you could find yourself dealing with the New Jersey Division of Child Protection and Permanency (DCPP), and you could potentially lose the right to spend time with your children.

If this happens, you will have to fight to restore your parental rights, and this will be a long, difficult process without a guaranteed outcome. For many people, this is the single worst consequence of being accused of domestic violence.

4. Being Required to Undergo Psychiatric Evaluation and Treatment

When you get arrested for domestic violence in New Jersey, the judge may order you to undergo psychiatric evaluation and treatment. If you refuse to attend your appointments or participate in the process in good faith, the judge could then hold you in contempt.

5. Being Required to Go To Anger Management Counseling

The judge may also order you to attend anger management counseling. This obligation could last for weeks or months; and, here too, noncompliance could lead to being held in contempt of court.

6. Paying the Alleged Victim’s Legal Fees

If the alleged victim hires a lawyer to help him or her obtain a restraining order, you may also have to pay the alleged victim’s legal fees. New Jersey’s Prevention of Domestic Violence Act (PDVA) provides that defendants who commit crimes of domestic violence must pay plaintiffs’ legal fees in relevant actions, and the Superior Court of New Jersey has stated that “So long as the damages [legal fees] are the result of the complained of, and found, domestic violence[,] the award of such damages is warranted.”

7. Losing Your Job (and Losing Future Job Opportunities)

A domestic violence arrest could also lead to the loss of your job. While you don’t necessarily need to tell your employer that you have been arrested, there are a variety of ways your employer can find out; and, of course, if you get sent to jail you won’t be able to go to work.

If you are found guilty, having a domestic violence conviction on your record will also make it difficult to find a job in the future. Just like landlords, many employers won’t consider job candidates who have histories of domestic violence. Having a conviction on your record can also disqualify you from certain jobs entirely (i.e., teaching jobs and positions that require security clearance).

8. Losing Your Constitutional Rights

Another unexpected consequence for many people is the loss of their constitutional rights. Specifically, the judge may order the seizure of any firearms you own as part of your temporary restraining order; and, if you get convicted of a felony-level domestic violence crime (an “indictable offense” in New Jersey), you will lose your right to own firearms and your right to vote. While you may be able to restore your rights eventually, this is not guaranteed, and restoring your rights can be a long, difficult and costly process.

9. Getting Fingerprinted

Getting arrested for domestic violence can also lead to getting fingerprinted. Specifically, New Jersey law requires fingerprinting of domestic violence defendants in three circumstances:

  • The police make a mandatory arrest pursuant to N.J.S.A. Section 2C:25-21 (“[W]here a law enforcement officer responding to the incident finds probable cause to believe that domestic violence has occurred, the law enforcement officer shall arrest the person who is alleged to be the person who subjected the victim to domestic violence . . . .”).
  • The arrest results in a conviction for domestic violence simple assault or harassment.
  • The judge issues a final domestic violence restraining order (as opposed to a temporary restraining order).

10. Getting Convicted Even if You Did Not Commit a Crime of Domestic Violence

Finally, even if you are not guilty of domestic violence, there is still a chance that you could face a criminal conviction as a result of your arrest. If the judge issues a temporary restraining order and you violate the order in any respect, you could be convicted of a restraining order violation even if your initial arrest was unwarranted.

Schedule a Free Domestic Violence Defense Consultation

If you have been accused of domestic violence in New Jersey, it is important that you speak with a lawyer as soon as possible. To schedule a free domestic violence defense consultation at The Gorman Law Firm, call 862-250-6201 or get in touch online now. Our offices are located in Essex County (Millburn) and Morristown

Published in Categories: Domestic Violence