Is domestic violence a felony in New Jersey?

couple fighting

In most cases, when a person hears the term “domestic violence,” they immediately imagine someone being physically abused by someone they are either currently or previously in a relationship with, such as a spouse. However, domestic violence sadly comes in many forms, such as sexual, emotional, psychological, and financial abuse. In New Jersey, you can face severe penalties that negatively impact your life if convicted of domestic violence. If you are facing domestic violence charges, contact our qualified ​​Camden County Domestic Violence Defense Attorneys, who can defend your case. 

What is domestic violence in New Jersey?

Domestic violence can be defined as a pattern of behavior in a relationship used to gain or maintain power over someone you are currently or previously in a relationship with. Unfortunately, domestic violence can occur in one or more incidents. Domestic violence is an umbrella term for various criminal offenses. In New Jersey, The Prevention of Domestic Violence Act of 1991 was passed to provide victims of domestic violence better protection. Victims can obtain a temporary restraining order (TRO). If you have a TRO issued against you, you must abide by the terms of the order. If you violate your TRO, you will face additional penalties. Another option for victims is that they can press criminal charges against their abuser.

When is this offense a felony?

Depending on the specific circumstances, domestic violence can be classified as a disorderly person’s charge (misdemeanor) or a felony. If the amount falls under a disorderly person’s offense, this includes simple assault and harassment. These offenses are punishable by up to 6 months and probation.

The offense is elevated to felony domestic violence if you possess a weapon for unlawful purposes, sexual assault, or aggravated assault. Aggravated assault is punished harsher than simple assault as it involves serious bodily injury. Felony domestic violence charges carry severe penalties. However, the severity of the penalties varies depending on the degree of the charge:

  • Fourth-degree: up to 18 months in prison
  • Third-degree: up to 5 years in prison
  • Second-degree: up to 10 years in prison
  • First-degree: up to 20 years in prison

If convicted of felony domestic violence, it will result in a criminal record which can hinder your ability to obtain a good job and reduce your earning potential. Furthermore, it is critical to note that domestic violence allegations are very serious. In some cases, an individual may accuse another person of domestic violence out of spite when it isn’t true. If you believe you have been falsely accused, retaining an experienced attorney who can help clear your name is critical. Those who falsely accuse others of domestic violence can face serious repercussions.

Contact Thomas DeMarco & Associates, LLC today if you are facing criminal charges. Our firm is prepared to work tirelessly to help you avoid harsh penalties and protect your future.

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