At Burnham Law Group, LLC our knowledgeable and experienced South Jersey domestic violence lawyers are dedicated to protecting and fighting for the rights of domestic violence victims throughout the state. We have earned a reputation for giving straightforward, reliable counsel, and our compassionate lawyers are here to assist you with even the most sensitive cases.
New Jersey has strict laws regarding domestic violence, as well as several legal protections available for domestic violence victims. Depending on the nature of the domestic violence crime, offenders may face lengthy terms of imprisonment and hefty fines.
New Jersey Prevention of Domestic Violence Act
The New Jersey Prevention of Domestic Violence Act (PDVA) provides protection for anyone over the age of 18 who is being physically, sexually, emotionally, or economically abused or threatened with such abuse by their:
- Current or former spouse
- Current or former household member
- Current or former dating partner
- Biological or adoptive parent
Generally, the PDVA covers anyone who is being abused or threatened by someone with whom they have, or have had, an intimate relationship. Women comprise almost 95 percent of domestic violence victims, although both men and women can be perpetrators or victims.
Domestic violence is an underreported crime, partly due to the cycle of violence, in which the abuser wields some form of power and control over the victim, causing them to feel as if they have no choice but to stay in the abusive relationship.
Domestic violence not only consists of physical harm, but also psychological or emotional harm, such as constant threats or humiliation. Economic abuse is another form of domestic violence which makes the victim financially dependent upon the abuser, and therefore subject to their control.
There are 14 criminal offenses that are specifically prohibited under the Act:
- Criminal mischief
- Criminal restraint
- Criminal sexual contact
- Criminal trespass
- False imprisonment
- Sexual assault
- Terrorist threats
Protections for Domestic Violence Victims
Victims of domestic violence in New Jersey have several protections available to them. If you were subject to one of the above 14 crimes, you may be able to press criminal charges against your abuser, in addition to getting a civil restraining order.
The purpose of a restraining order is to prevent your abuser from coming near you or contacting you. Restraining orders may also require the abuser to attend counseling or give up possession of firearms and other deadly weapons.
Temporary and Final Restraining Orders
Once a domestic violence complaint has been filed, the case will be heard informally by a judge/domestic violence hearing officer, who will decide whether to issue a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) until the final hearing can be held.
If a TRO is issued, the victim must bring a copy of it to the local police department. A final hearing must be held within 10 days of the TRO issuance. The judge at the final hearing will listen to both sides of the case and decide whether to issue a Final Domestic Violence Restraining Order (FRO).
If the abuser violates the terms of either the TRO or the FRO, the victim may file a criminal complaint for Contempt of Court. The case will then be handled by a New Jersey Assistant Prosecutor. Violating a restraining order may result in up to 18 months in prison and fines in excess of $10,000.
Victims of domestic violence may also utilize the Address Confidentiality Program (ACP), which allows them to obtain a legal substitute address that they can put on all their legal documents, instead of their physical address.
South Jersey Domestic Violence Lawyers at Burnham Law Group, LLC Fight for Victims of Domestic Violence
If you were subject to of any form of domestic violence, it is important to seek help as soon as possible. A South Jersey domestic violence lawyer at Burnham Law Group, LLC can help you through this difficult time. From our offices conveniently located in Marlton and Somers Point, we represent clients throughout New Jersey. Contact us online or call us at 856-751-5505 for a free, confidential consultation.