Domestic Violence Attorney in Monmouth County, NJ

In New Jersey, the consequences of a conviction of domestic violence charges can be devastating to your future. An individual who is charged with committing domestic abuse is not only exposed to a criminal offense charge for assault, harassment, terroristic threat, stalking, or a number of other charges, but also the life-altering collateral consequences of a restraining order.

A family member, household member or intimate partner’s allegations of abuse or violence may be made in the heat of the moment and be exaggerated or untrue. A temporary restraining order may be issued against you without proof of allegations of domestic violence. You will need an experienced domestic violence defense attorney to stand up for your rights and present your account of what really happened. If you are facing charges of domestic assault, harassment, making threats or other related charges, you need a skilled Freehold defense lawyer to protect your freedom.

At The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall, our attorneys understand there are two side to every domestic situation. When the stakes are as high as those in a domestic violence case, seeking the help of an experienced Freehold domestic violence defense attorney is an absolute necessity.

Among the reasons that the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall should be your first call for legal defense assistance are:

  • 10 attorneys who concentrate exclusively on defending those who are facing criminal charges, including domestic violence charges
  • Certified criminal trial lawyers, a designation made by the New Jersey Supreme Court recognizing attorneys who have a specialized knowledge of an area of law
  • A criminal defense team with more than 200 years of combined experience handling domestic violence cases and other criminal charges
  • Defense attorneys who have previously served as prosecutors and public defenders and use their knowledge of the justice system to the advantage of our clients
    Many of our lawyers are former county and municipal prosecutors who have served as Director of the Major Crimes Bureau, Special Operations, Domestic Violence Unit, Guns Task Force, and even an entire Trial Division.
  • Many cases ending with dismissal of the charges.
  • Attorneys who are ready to respond to your legal needs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Our team of criminal defense trial attorneys has a track record of success representing clients accused of domestic violence in Belmar, Wall, Freehold, Middletown, Red Bank, Asbury Park, and Howell. Our team has the qualifications to ensure you have the strongest possible defense. Contact our office for a free consultation with a seasoned Freehold domestic violence lawyer.

Monmouth County Domestic Violence Charges

The New Jersey Domestic Violence Prevention Act establishes a framework of rules that are designed to protect those who are the victims of domestic abuse.

Domestic violence occurs when one of 14 criminal offenses is committed against someone who qualifies as a victim protected by New Jersey Law.

The following relationships fall within this protection:

  • Present and former household members
  • Spouse or former spouses (husband or wife)
  • People who share a child
  • Individuals who are dating or have dated

To qualify as a victim as a household member, the parties need not have extensive residency together. Examples of situations where the court has found there was a household relationship include residency for three months, college roommates, and siblings.

When an individual qualifies for domestic violation protection, he or she may secure a temporary restraining order provided it is found that the accused committed one of the following offenses:

Who Decides Whether a Temporary Restraining Order Should Be Issued?

A judge must determine the existence of probable cause. Typically, it will be a Family Court Judge sitting at the Monmouth County Superior Court who decides whether to issue a temporary restraining order (TRO). If the Superior Court is closed, a municipal court judge of the municipality where the violation occurred may make the decision. If probable cause is found and the judge believes that a TRO is necessary to protect the victim from additional acts of domestic violence, the order will be issued.

When Does the Accused Have the Opportunity to Contest a Temporary Restraining Order?

A final restraining order hearing is conducted at the Monmouth County Superior Court, Family Division, within 14 days of issuance of the temporary restraining order. This hearing is the proceeding where the accused has the opportunity to cross-examine the victim and present his/her side of the case. The judge must decide after all the evidence is presented whether a final restraining order is needed.

What Happens to Criminal Charges Arising Out of Domestic Violence?

Separate criminal proceedings must be conducted to determine guilt or innocence. What this means is that you will have to appear in municipal court to answer a separate criminal charge for a disorderly persons offense or in the Criminal Division of Monmouth County Superior Court if you are accused of an indictable crime of the first degree, second degree, third degree or fourth degree.

Is Arrest of the Accused Ever Mandatory?

Yes. A police officer is required to arrest the suspect and issue a criminal complaint if:

—there are signs of injury to the victim
—there is probable cause to believe that a no-contact order has been violated
— a warrant has been issued against the accused
— there is probable cause to believe that a weapon was used to commit domestic violence.

An arrest is discretionary when a police officer concludes that there is probable cause to believe that the criminal violation has been committed by the defendant.

What Is Considered Domestic Violence?woman trying to protect herself from a domestic violence

Domestic violence is usually defined as a pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over another intimate partner. If there are any signs of physical injuries, the police officer must arrest the alleged abuser. Even without witnesses and injuries, the police may choose to make an arrest.

Police must respond to all domestic violence calls from a victim or from a bystander. The police must give the victim information about their rights and help them. Police must also write a report each time they are called to the scene of alleged domestic violence.

According to the New Jersey statute, domestic violence means the occurrence of one more of the following criminal offenses:

  • Assault
  • Homicide
  • Kidnapping
  • Terroristic Threats
  • False Imprisonment
  • Sexual Assault
  • Criminal Sexual Contact
  • Harassment
  • Criminal Trespass
  • Harassment
  • Stalking
  • Lewdness
  • Burglary

To be considered domestic violence, these violent acts have to be against an individual who is 18 or older, an emancipated minor (a child who has been freed from control by their parents or guardians) or anyone who has been subject to domestic violence by a spouse, former spouse, or someone who the offender has a child in common with.

It’s important to note that domestic violence is not limited to physical violence. It can include allegations of sexual, emotional, economic, or psychological actions or threats of actions as well. The definition of domestic violence-related behaviors is broad, and it is certainly possible to be wrongly accused of domestic violence.

Who Can File a Charge of Domestic Violence?

A victim of domestic violence in New Jersey may contact the police and use the justice system to pursue criminal action against the person who allegedly abused them.

Citizens can call the police, ask them to make an arrest, and give statements, but they are only considered “victims” or witnesses. They do not decide who gets arrested or charged. Once a police officer makes an arrest for domestic violence, the case is turned over to county prosecutors.

What Criminal Charges Can Arise Out Of Domestic Violence?

Additional charges can arise out of domestic violence case, including:

  • Assault
  • Criminal Mischief
  • Criminal Trespass
  • Stalking
  • Terroristic Threat
  • Harassment
  • Criminal Sexual Contact

Why Am I Being Arrested?

When a victim shows signs of physical injury caused by domestic violence, the police officer must arrest the domestic violence suspect and take the individual into custody. If there is no sign of the injury that the victim claims occurred, then an arrest is at the discretion of the police officer.

If there is probable cause that the terms of a no-contact court order have been violated, the police officer will make an arrest.

Restraining Orders

Victims of domestic violence are able to go to a New Jersey family court and obtain a restraining order against the person allegedly abusing them. This is not a criminal procedure. A restraining order prohibits the alleged abuser from contacting the victim in any way.

To obtain a restraining order, the victim must first ask the court for a temporary restraining order (TRO). TROs are typically issued based only upon only the accuser’s side of the story and can only be granted through the family court or police department.

After receiving the TRO, the accuser will get a court date, usually within 10 days, for a final restraining order (FRO) hearing. At this hearing, the accuser will present evidence as to why the restraining order should become final. If the court agrees, the accuser will be granted a permanent restraining order. If you are the subject of the TRO, you will be notified of the hearing date for the FRO and will have a chance at the court hearing to challenge the issuance of a final order.

Defending Domestic Violence Charges

If you were charged with domestic violence in Monmouth County, you need to understand your rights and find out if a plea offer is the best approach to take. Not every domestic violence conviction leads to jail time. An experienced Freehold criminal defense attorney can review the evidence and help you decide the appropriate steps to take.

Seasoned domestic violence lawyers have a solid understanding of the proper New Jersey court procedures involved in a domestic violence proceeding. Without the help of a lawyer, it’s easy to get lost in all of the paperwork and bogged down by legal complexities.

The two main defenses to domestic violence charges are self-defense and de minimis infractions. In any domestic violence case, the plaintiff may suffer injuries because the defendant was defending themselves against imminent bodily harm. Under the law, a person is justified in using force on another person when they reasonably believe that such force is immediately necessary for the purpose of protecting themselves against the use of unlawful force by such other person.

A de minimis infraction is conduct that is too minor and trivial to be considered a criminal offense. The de minimis infraction doctrine is often used to defend against domestic cases based on the grounds of harassment. Harassment is among the most common alleged acts of domestic violence. This is likely because harassment is relatively vague in its meaning. Of the various domestic violence offenses, harassment is arguably the most open to interpretation.

False Accusations

While many claims of domestic violence are genuine, there are plenty of false domestic violence charges. The consequences can be devastating. Loss of child custody, financial problems, and even jail time may be imposed if a person is convicted of domestic violence, so having a strong defense attorney to counter the charges is crucial.

If you have been accused of domestic violence in Monmouth County, there are many approaches the Freehold domestic violence defense lawyers at the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall may employ, including:

  • Arguing that your relationship is not “domestic” in nature in accordance with the New Jersey Domestic Violence Act.
  • Requesting a continuance. The time between the initial filing of a domestic report claim and your court date will be 10 days or less. We may request a continuance, if needed, to better prepare your case.
  • Disproving evidence, such as witness testimony, medical records, written statements, and the TRO transcript.
  • Summoning character witnesses to testify on your behalf.
  • Proving that your actions were in self-defense.

Contact a Monmouth County and Freehold, NJ, Domestic Violence Attorney

If you have been arrested, charged, or received a restraining order for domestic violence, it is in your best interest to hire a qualified Monmouth County defense lawyer immediately. Experience does make a difference. To schedule a free, no-obligation initial consultation with one of our experienced domestic violence defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall, send us an e-mail or call us now.

We can be reached 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you choose to hire us to represent you, we offer payment plans for our legal fees. No matter what charges you are facing, we have the experience to ensure that your rights are protected throughout the process.