Those who have been charged with domestic violence are often left wondering how exactly they went from arguing with a significant other to being taken to a local precinct for booking. Indeed, it may have all happened so fast that they don't know what's happening.
While it's important for people in these situations not to panic, it's also important for them to have an understanding of what the law here in New Jersey has to say and what they can anticipate going forward.
To that end, today's post, the first in a series, will take a closer look at how state law defines domestic violence.
Domestic violence: An overview
In general, state law defines domestic violence as committing one or more of any enumerated criminal offenses against a person who is protected under the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act of 1991.
Some of these enumerated offenses, which are defined in accordance with the New Jersey Statutes, include:
- Criminal restraint
- False imprisonment
- Terroristic threats
Furthermore, state law also establishes a sort of catchall provision whereby domestic violence can also encompass "any other crime involving risk of death or serious bodily injury" to persons otherwise protected under the act.
Persons protected under state law
Those protected by the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act include emancipated minors, or those 18 and up who have been subjected to domestic violence (as defined above) at the hands of a spouse, former spouse, or current or former member of the household.
In addition, the law dictates that victims of domestic violence also include all persons, regardless of age, subjected to domestic violence at the hands of a person with whom they have a child or are expecting a child, or with whom they have had a dating relationship.
We'll continue this discussion in a future post. In the meantime, please consider speaking with a skilled legal professional as soon as possible if you are facing domestic violence charges, as the stakes are incredibly high.