What Are the Three Phases of the Domestic Violence Cycle?
Posted by Scott Gorman - October 31, 2022

In New Jersey, facing allegations of domestic violence can have serious consequences. Domestic violence charges carry enhanced penalties (compared to similar crimes committed in other circumstances), and a judge can impose a temporary restraining order in the alleged perpetrator’s absence.

The Three Phases of Domestic Violence (and Their Implications for Alleged Abusers)

When facing domestic violence allegations, it is important to learn as much about your situation as possible. This includes understanding how the police and prosecutors view cases of domestic violence. Generally, they look at domestic violence cases as having three distinct phases, each of which presents its own unique risks and implications:

1. The “Tension-Building” Phase

The first phase is referred to as the “tension-building” phase. As one advocacy organization explains, during this phase, “the battered person may feel like they are walking on eggshells.” Even though there has not been any physical abuse to this point, fear of violence may lead to a 911 call. When this happens, the police will often feel compelled to intervene. Additionally, as a result of wanting to secure protection or get their spouse or partner out of the house, some individuals will make false allegations that lead to an unjustified arrest during this phase.

2. The “Explosion” Phase

The second phase is referred to as the “explosion” phase. This is when tension “explodes” into physical violence. If your spouse or partner accuses you of being violent—whether throwing objects, hitting, pushing or choking—you can expect to be arrested and booked on domestic violence charges in New Jersey.

3. The “Honeymoon” Phase

The third phase is referred to as the “honeymoon” phase. After committing acts of domestic violence, perpetrators will often feel remorseful and apologize. But, domestic violence victims may still choose to call the police at this stage. Even if the fight that led to violence has ended, a 911 call during the honeymoon phase can still lead to an arrest and prosecution.

Domestic Violence Arrests at All Three Phases Can Lead to Convictions in Court

Since domestic violence is often cyclical, the police know that once the honeymoon phase is over, tension will often start to build again. As a result, they will typically err on the side of protecting victims (or alleged victims). Arrests can—and do—occur during all three phases, and these arrests frequently lead to convictions and harsh sentences for alleged perpetrators who do not have experienced legal representation.

If you are facing a domestic violence charge, the phase during which you got arrested could determine the defenses you have available. Regardless of what happened, you do not deserve to be punished unjustly. To find out what defenses you have available—and to protect yourself against unnecessary consequences—you should discuss your case with a defense attorney as soon as possible.

Discuss Your Domestic Violence Case with Defense Attorney Scott Gorman

Defense attorney Scott Gorman provides experienced legal representation for individuals who are facing domestic violence charges in New Jersey. If you’ve been arrested, Scott can help. To schedule a free consultation at our offices in Morristown, Essex County or Millburn, call 862-250-6201 or tell us how we can reach you online now.

Published in Categories: Domestic Violence