Allegations of domestic violence in New Jersey are governed primarily by The Prevention of Domestiv Violence Act of 1991, N.J.S.A. 2C:25-17. The Act allows criminal, family and municipal courts wide discretion to impose certain relief and restrictions including the following:
Possible Reliefs for Victim:
• Granting exclusive possession of residence.
• Granting temporary custody of children.
• Emergent support to victim, dependent(s).
• Ongoing support to victim, dependent(s) (Final Restraining Order only).
• Punitive damages (Final Restraining Order only).
• Punitive damages to third parties (Final Restraining Order only).
• Medical coverage to victim, dependent(s).
• Rent or mortgage payments.
• Placing limitation on visitation and assessing risk to children posed by the defendant.
• Compensatory damage.
• Law enforcement accompaniment by either party to shared residence to supervise removal of personal belongings.
Prohibitions against Defendant:
• Prohibition from returning to scene of violence.
• Prohibition from future acts of domestic violence.
• Prohibition from locations where victim (and others) are employed or reside.
• Prohibition from any oral, written, personal or other form of contact with victim and others.
• Prohibition from making or causing anyone else to make harassing communications to victim and others.
• Prohibition from stalking, following or threatening to harm, to stalk or to follow victim and others.
• Payment of emergent monetary relief to victim and dependents.
• Defendant may be made subject to intake monitoring of conditions and restraints.
• Defendant may be ordered to psychiatric or other evaluations or treatment.
• Prohibition against possession of weapons including application to purchase firearm, permit to carry firearm and firearm purchaser identification card.
Ultimately, an allegation of domestic violence can result in the filing of criminal charges, the filing of a petition for a domestic violence restraining order, or both. A conviction for a domestic violence offense can carry severe consequences, including time in prison, and the issuance of a restraining order which can result in limits on your freedom of movement and rights as a parent and property owner. Therefore, if you are accused of domestic violence, you should speak with an attorney right away. An experienced attorney will provide valuable guidance throughout the pendency of your case while protecting your fundamental rights.