A domestic violence complaint generally results in the arrest of the suspect if the accuser is an intimate partner, family member, or household member. The police often err on the side of caution and make the arrest based on the alleged victim’s statements.
If you are charged with domestic violence in Freehold, New Jersey, you need an experienced lawyer to fight the charges. At Clark & Noonan, LLC, our Freehold criminal defense lawyers have decades of combined legal experience.
We are equipped to handle all types of criminal cases, including domestic violence charges. Our attorneys have extensive trial experience, in addition to being resourceful negotiators.
How Clark & Noonan, LLC Can Help if You’ve Been Charged With Domestic Violence in Freehold, New Jersey
New Jersey courts treat allegations of domestic violence seriously. Being arrested for domestic violence is not a minor offense. You could face substantial jail time, fines, and collateral consequences.
At Clark & Noonan, LLC, our New Jersey criminal defense attorneys understand the seriousness of domestic violence charges. We work with you to fight the charges to avoid restraining orders and other penalties.
Our Freehold domestic violence lawyers have over 40 years of combined legal experience. We thoroughly understand New Jersey criminal statutes and the criminal justice system. In addition, our team includes a New Jersey Supreme Certified Trial Lawyer.
We have an exceptional track record of winning criminal cases. Our lawyers help clients avoid harsh criminal penalties by fighting to have criminal charges dismissed. If that is not possible, we argue for reduced charges and sentences, including alternative sentencing if available.
When you hire our top-rated criminal defense lawyers in Freehold, you can trust we handle all aspects of your domestic violence case, including:
- Investigate the charges against you, including obtaining all evidence collected by the police
- Review witness statements
- Develop a defense strategy personalized to address the elements of your criminal case
- Advise you of your legal rights and your options for fighting domestic violence charges
- Aggressively pursue all defenses to have the domestic violence charges dropped
- Negotiate favorable plea agreements
- Prepare for trial and fiercely advocate for you in court
The resolution of your case depends on many factors. However, hiring an experienced Freehold domestic violence lawyer gives you a better chance of beating your charges.
Call Clark & Noonan, LLC today to schedule a free case review with an experienced domestic violence lawyer in Freehold, NJ.
Overview of New Jersey Domestic Violence Laws
Domestic violence is not a single offense. It encompasses many acts committed against a protected person. Under the New Jersey Prevention of Domestic Violence Act of 1991 (PDVA), domestic violence includes criminal offenses such as:
- Criminal sexual contact
- Terroristic threats
- Criminal mischief
- Criminal restraint
- Criminal trespass
- False imprisonment
- Criminal coercion
- Sexual assault
Additionally, domestic violence includes any other crime that involves the risk of serious bodily injury or death to a protected person. Therefore, you could be charged with domestic violence under other criminal statutes as well.
What makes the above crimes domestic violence is the relationship between the accused and the alleged victim. The victim must be a “protected person,” as defined by the PDVA. Protected persons include:
- Current and former spouses
- Current and former girlfriends and boyfriends
- Parents of shared children
- Individuals with whom the alleged attacker is expected to have a child if the victim or the accused is pregnant
- Adults who are present or former members of the accused’s household
- An emancipated minor
If you are accused of domestic violence, contact our office as soon as possible. The prosecutor may proceed with the case even if the accuser wants to drop the charges. Therefore, you should not assume nothing will happen if the person forgives you and says they do not want to press charges.
What Are the Penalties for Domestic Violence in Freehold, NJ?
Domestic violence charges are wobbler offenses. They can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony.
The charges depend on the underlying offense and the facts of the case. A person’s criminal history can also impact whether they face a felony or misdemeanor charge.
Criminal penalties for a misdemeanor domestic violence charge include:
- Up to six months in jail
- Anger management classes
The penalties for felony domestic violence charges depend on the degree of the felony. You can expect to face the following if you are convicted of felony domestic violence in Freehold:
- Fourth-degree domestic violence – up to 18 months in prison
- Third-degree domestic violence – three to five years in prison
- Second-degree domestic violence – five to ten years in prison
- First-degree domestic violence – up to 20 years in prison
In addition to prison time, a conviction for domestic violence could result in thousands of dollars in fines and other penalties. Aggravating factors could increase the time served for a domestic violence conviction.
Temporary Restraining Orders for Domestic Violence Charges in Freehold, NJ
A victim may obtain a restraining order from the court by filing a complaint alleging domestic violence. If the judge believes there is an imminent threat of domestic violence, the judge may grant a temporary restraining order (TRO). The court then schedules a Domestic Violence Hearing.
At the hearing, the victim and accused may present evidence and testify. They may also have witnesses testify on their behalf. The judge determines whether to grant a final restraining order based on the evidence presented in court.
A domestic violence restraining order can significantly impact a person’s life in many ways. A judge can include numerous conditions in the restraining order, including but not limited to:
- Prohibiting the person from engaging in further acts of domestic violence
- Prohibiting all communication or contact with the victim
- Granting the accuser exclusive possession of the household or residence
- Requiring the abuser to attend anger management and/or counseling
- Restricting or limiting an abuser’s parenting time and visitation
- Awarding the victim child support and emergency monetary relief
- Prohibiting the abuser from entering the victim’s residence, school, property, or place of employment
- Awarding temporary child custody to the victim
- Prohibiting the abuser from possession of weapons and firearms, including ordering the seizure of any firearms or weapons
- Prohibiting the abuser from following, stalking, or threatening the victim
- Ordering the abuser to reimburse the victim for medical expenses
A restraining order is usually the first of many consequences of domestic violence allegations. The restraining order may be followed by criminal charges.
Domestic violence allegations can also impact child custody and family law matters. You could lose your job and find it difficult to obtain housing. The mere allegation that you committed domestic violence could cause significant problems.
What Should I Do if I Am Charged With Domestic Violence in Freehold, NJ?
Domestic violence charges can impact your life indefinitely. You need to be proactive if you are charged with domestic violence.
If you are arrested or accused of domestic violence, do not seek revenge or try to “work it out” with the accuser. Instead, you should:
- Contact a Freehold criminal defense lawyer who handles domestic violence cases immediately.
- Exercise your right to remain silent. You might feel compelled to try to explain your side of the story. However, talking to the police without an attorney is unwise.
- Do not have any contact with the accuser or their family members.
- Obey the conditions of a domestic violence restraining order.
- Gather evidence to give to your attorney, including copies of emails, text messages, witness statements, and other evidence that can help prove the allegations are false.
- Do not discuss the domestic violence charges with anyone other than your lawyer.
- Change your login information for all online accounts, including email and social media. Add two-factor authentication and other security features to your accounts.
- Be a good parent and follow your visitation and custody order, if applicable.
Dealing with domestic violence charges can be stressful and frightening. Hiring a criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible gives you the best chance of avoiding severe penalties.
An attorney can help you develop a defense based on the facts of your case. Possible defenses to domestic violence charges include false allegations by the accuser; self-defense; that you unintentionally hurt the accuser; and that it was an accident instead of an intentional act.
Additional defenses to domestic violence charges could include violations of your constitutional rights. The prosecutor must prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt. A criminal defense lawyer can attack the evidence from the prosecution to create reasonable doubt.
Schedule a Free Consultation With Our Freehold Domestic Violence Lawyers
Your freedom and future are at stake if you’ve been charged with domestic violence in Freehold, NJ. A conviction can haunt you for the foreseeable future. Don’t leave your future up to the courts.
Call Clark & Noonan, LLC to schedule a free case review with an experienced Freehold domestic violence attorney. We are here to help you respond to your charges effectively and work hard to help you achieve a favorable outcome.