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New Jersey Laws on Domestic Violence

Domestic violence is taken incredibly seriously under New Jersey law. Police must respond to all domestic violence calls made by a victim or a bystander. Police must also arrest the person accused of abuse if physical injury or violation of an existing restraining order is involved, and officers may choose to arrest a suspect even if no injuries are evident. In addition, police must prepare a report any time they respond to a domestic violence call, no matter the outcome of the call.

If you are facing allegations of domestic violence, you need to understand how these charges are treated under New Jersey law. Let The Law Office of Jason A. Volet fight to protect your rights, your freedom, and your future. As a former prosecutor, Mr. Volet understands how to effectively build a defense on your behalf aimed at achieving the best possible outcome.

Contact us now to schedule a free consultation to speak with a New Jersey domestic violence defense attorney.

How Is Domestic Violence Treated Under New Jersey Law?

Domestic violence is treated seriously under New Jersey law, which outlines several penalties for committing acts of domestic violence. In addition to the accused being charged with a crime for the predicate act of domestic violence (with predicate acts ranging from disorderly persons offenses up to homicide), the victim is also entitled to seek a restraining order against the alleged abuser. A restraining order can prohibit the alleged abuser from returning to a residence he or she shares with the victim, require the accused to surrender all firearms, and award child custody to the victim.

A domestic violence conviction and restraining order can have a serious impact on your life for many years to come. Don’t try to handle this type of situation on your own. Talk to our attorney about your rights and options for having the charges against you reduced or dropped.

Are There Different Types of Domestic Violence?

New Jersey law recognizes different types of “predicate acts” for a court to find that domestic violence has occurred and grant a victim relief under a domestic violence complaint. The predicate acts of domestic violence in New Jersey include:

  • Harassment, or the infliction of offensive touching or communications that are intended to annoy or alarm the victim
  • Cyber-harassment, or harassment that takes place online, or posting objectionable material about the victim online with the intent to harm the person or place the person in fear of harm
  • Assault, whether involving actual contact with the victim or merely the threat of harm and injury
  • Terroristic threats, or the commission of the crime with the intent to terrorize the victim; if the abuser threatens a crime, the victim must believe the abuser can and intends to carry it out
  • Criminal mischief, or damage to or destruction of the victim’s property
  • Criminal restraint, or the abuser keeping the victim in a place that puts the victim at risk of serious bodily injury
  • False imprisonment, or the abuser keeping the victim in a place and not allowing him or her to leave
  • Burglary, or breaking into a dwelling with the purpose of committing a crime therein
  • Criminal sexual contact, or the use of force or coercion to get the victim to engage in sexual acts with the abuser
  • Sexual assault, or the use of force or coercion to get the victim to participate in the act of sexual penetration
  • Kidnapping, or taking a victim from a place to another location through the use of deception, force, or threat
  • Stalking, which can involve staring at a person for a long time, following a person or sending others to follow that person, interfering with the belongings of a person, harassing, or sending threats, with the purpose of making the victim scared or uncomfortable
  • Lewdness, or committing an offensive act in front of the victim knowing he or she does not want to witness the act
  • Criminal trespass, or entering private property without permission
  • Criminal coercion, or forcing someone to do something or not do something through threat
  • Robbery, or stealing through the use of force or threat
  • Contempt, or violation, of an existing restraining order
  • Homicide, or unlawfully causing the death of a victim
  • Any other crime involving risk of death or serious bodily injury to a person protected under the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act of 1991

Is Domestic Violence a Misdemeanor or Felony in New Jersey?

Domestic violence can be a misdemeanor (known as a disorderly persons offense) or a felony (known as an indictable offense) in New Jersey, depending on the particular predicate act of domestic violence. For example, certain acts of domestic violence, such as criminal mischief or criminal trespass, may be considered disorderly persons offenses under New Jersey law. Conversely, many serious acts of domestic violence, including assault, sexual assault, kidnapping, burglary, and homicide, are classified as indictable offenses.

What Happens If You Violate a Restraining Order?

Violating a domestic violence restraining order can carry significant penalties. Violation of a restraining order is considered a form of criminal contempt, a fourth-degree crime. Conviction can result in a sentence of up to 18 months in prison and up to a $10,000 fine. Prison time is not mandatory for a first-time violation, but subsequent violations carry a mandatory minimum sentence of 30 days in jail.

Are Certain People More Protected Under New Jersey Laws on Domestic Violence?

New Jersey laws on domestic violence provide equal protection to each person who qualifies under the state’s Domestic Violence Act. A person may qualify as a victim of domestic violence if he or she has been the victim of a predicate act of domestic violence that has been committed by:

  • A spouse
  • A former spouse
  • A present or former household member
  • Someone whom the victim has a child in common with
  • Someone whom the victim anticipates having a child with (i.e., the abuser or victim is pregnant)
  • Someone with whom the victim has previously had a dating relationship

Talk to a Domestic Violence Lawyer Now

If you have been accused of domestic violence in New Jersey, you need to act quickly. A domestic violence conviction can have serious consequences, including prison time, fines, and long-lasting restrictions on your life. Even the accusation of domestic violence can have a significant impact on your life and your relationships.

Contact The Law Office of Jason A. Volet today to schedule a free consultation to learn more about how our firm can help defend you against charges of domestic violence.

Violating an Order of Protection or Restraining Order in New Jersey

If a person involved in a relationship believes that the other party poses a threat of harm, that person can seek a domestic violence order of protection, or restraining order, in New Jersey. It is a civil order. However, a violation of the restraining order is a criminal offense. As a result, anyone accused of a violation could face serious consequences, including fines and incarceration.

Attorney Jason A. Volet understands how, in many cases, a person can be accused of violating the conditions of a restraining order that the person didn’t even know existed. Sometimes, the intense emotions involved in a domestic issue can lead one party in a relationship to wrongfully accuse the other party of violating a restraining order. That is why we conduct thorough investigations of these cases and work tirelessly to discover and present all of the facts and circumstances.

If you have been charged with violating a restraining order in New Jersey, contact The Law Office of Jason A. Volet without delay and allow us to get started on your defense. Our initial consultations are always free and confidential.

What Is a Restraining Order?

New Jersey law provides for two types of restraining orders in domestic violence situations under N.J.S.A. 2C: 25-28:

  • Temporary ex parte restraining order (TRO) – A court will grant this order if it finds that it is necessary to protect a person’s life, health or well-being. “Ex parte” means that the court will make its decision without hearing from party who is being subjected to the restraining order. Typically, the TRO will last 10 days, or until a hearing is held on whether to enter a final restraining order.
  • Final restraining order (FRO) – Unlike a TRO, the other party has a right to appear in court and challenge the request for a FRO. If the court grants the order, then it will be permanently in effect unless, later on, grants a motion to modify or terminate the order.

Man issuing restraining order.A restraining order can prohibit a person from several different types of conduct. In most cases, the order will prohibit a person from:

  • Committing any acts of domestic violence or threatening to harm, harass or stalk anyone who is named in the order
  • Going to the other person’s home, work, school or other places where that person is likely to be found
  • Having any form of contact with the other person, including in-person contact or contact through other means such as calling, texting or interacting with the person through social media sites such as Facebook
  • Buying, owning or possessing a firearm.

The order may also impose certain duties on a person such as:

  • Paying for the other person’s rent or mortgage
  • Undergoing a psychiatric evaluation or drug and alcohol abuse evaluation
  • Taking domestic violence counseling classes.

If a person is accused of violating either a TRO or FRO, a judge in the Family Part of the Chancery Division of Superior Court will review the allegation and determine whether to find the person guilty of criminal contempt.

What Happens If You Violate a Restraining Order?

Under N.J.S.A. 2C:25-31, a law enforcement officer must arrest a person and take that person into custody if the officer has probable cause that the person violated a domestic violence restraining order. If a court ultimately finds the person to be guilty of contempt, the person could face penalties set out in N.J.S.A. 2C:25-29, which include:

  • Crime of the fourth degree – If the person purposely or knowingly violates any provision of the domestic violence restraining order – regardless of whether the order was entered in New Jersey or another state – when the person’s conduct constituted a crime or disorderly persons offense. For instance, if the person assaulted the other party, it would violate both the restraining order and New Jersey criminal law. A crime of the fourth degree carries penalties that include up to 18 months in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. Keep in mind: In addition to these contempt penalties, the person could also face punishment for the criminal offense that he or she committed while violating the restraining order.
  • Disorderly persons offense – If the person otherwise violated the terms of the restraining order. For instance, the person may have called the other person despite a provision in the order which prohibited having any contact. A disorderly persons offense carries penalties that can include up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.

If a person is convicted of a second domestic violence contempt offense, the person could face a mandatory sentence of 30 days in jail.

Do You Need a Lawyer If Charged with Violating a Protective Order?

Aggressive man hand grabbed woman shoulder.Given the consequences that you could face if convicted of a restraining order violation, you should seek help from an experienced New Jersey domestic violence defense lawyer as soon as possible. Attorney Jason A. Volet is certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey as a Criminal Trial Attorney. He has handled more than 2,000 cases as an assistant prosecutor and defense lawyer, including numerous cases involving allegations of domestic violence restraining order violations. He will know how to investigate your case and develop a sound defense strategy on your behalf.

For instance, the contempt statute requires a “knowing” violation of a restraining order. The evidence in a case may show that a person was never served with a copy of the order or otherwise would not have known of the condition(s) which he or she allegedly violated. An effectively presented defense could lead to a dismissal of the charge in your case.

Get Help from a New Jersey Domestic Violence Defense Attorney

The stakes are high when you are accused of violating a domestic violence restraining order. A criminal contempt conviction could threaten your freedom and your future. This is why you should not try to handle your case on your own. Instead, get help right away from experienced New Jersey domestic violence defense attorney Jason A. Volet. Call or reach us online now to schedule a free consultation through our office in Freehold or Neptune.

3 Common Questions You May Have About Your Miranda Rights

When a person is arrested, the police are supposed to read them their rights as a person facing criminal allegations. This reading, sometimes known as a Miranda warning or a reading of the Miranda rights, is a basic part of most arrests and is required in many cases. However, not all arrests require the reading of these rights at the time of arrest.

If you have been arrested and are facing criminal charges, it is important that you obtain vigorously committed legal representation in your case. For a free consultation regarding your case, contact the New Jersey criminal lawyers of the Law Office of Jason A. Volet at (732) 863-5050.

Do the Police Have to Read the Miranda Rights Every Time?

It is not required that police officers always read a person their Miranda rights if they want to question them. In some cases, officers may stop someone on the street or take them to the police station and ask them about a crime without reading these individuals their Miranda rights. This is typically acceptable because these individuals are not in police custody at the time of questioning.

What Are the Miranda Rights?

The Miranda rights are a set of warnings issued to a a person being questioned by the police which are intended to prevent them from self-incrimination. These rights insulate a person against unfair interrogation or being forced by the police to make a false statement. They include the right to remain silent, the right to seek a legal advisor, and the right to stop speaking to a police officer at any point during an interrogation.

Contact New Jersey criminal defense attorney Jason Volet today for a free consultation.What Happens if These Rights Are Not Read?

If an officer is supposed to read these rights, but fails to do so, the information obtained through subsequent questioning cannot be used in court. This includes any confessions that may have been issued.

What are My Rights if I am Arrested in New Jersey?

When you are arrested for a crime, you are still entitled to certain inalienable rights under the law. The police cannot take these rights from you, and if they do violate them by making a wrongful arrest or neglecting proper procedure, the charges against you may be dropped.

Under the U.S. Constitution you have the following rights:

  • The right to remain silent and not incriminate yourself.
  • The right to hire a lawyer or have one provided for you by the state.
  • The right to a fair trial before your peers.
  • Protection against improper search and seizure.

Contact Us

If you were arrested, taken into police custody, and questioned, you should have received a reading of your rights. If the police failed to do this, a skilled and experienced criminal attorney may be able to have related evidence excluded from consideration of your case.

An experienced New Jersey criminal defense lawyer can help to explain your rights and your options during questioning, your hearing, and your trial. To speak with an attorney about your criminal charges and organizing your legal defense, contact the Law Office of Jason A. Volet at (732) 863-5050.

 

How Can a Criminal Defense Lawyer Help Me?

With a multitude of internet resources and books available regarding how the law works, many people believe that they are capable of handling their own defense if charged with a crime. However, even minor criminal convictions can have significantly greater effects than a person may first realize. Additionally, criminal defense cases can prove complicated in some cases, virtually requiring professional legal help.

When you are arrested for a crime, the prosecution will likely take an aggressive stance to try to convict you as quickly and as severely as possible. You need an experienced New Jersey criminal lawyer who understands your rights and criminal charges and can fight back in your defense. A criminal attorney can help you through all steps of your criminal case, from advising you during police questioning to gathering evidence and testimony in your defense.

How Can a Criminal Defense Lawyer Help Me?

Attorneys can provide invaluable services during a person’s criminal defense case. Some defendants may not see the point in hiring an attorney, however. This is especially the case if they intend on pleading guilty or don’t believe that the penalties are serious enough to warrant a legal advisor’s help. However, a lawyer can provide the following important services:

  • Work through important legal procedures and paperwork.
  • Prepare a strong legal defense against a criminal charge.
  • Take some of the burden of dealing with legal problems.
  • Provide advice when difficult decisions arise.

Even seemingly minor criminal charges can have long-term consequences for a person, making his or her criminal defense case all the more important.

If you’re facing criminal charges and are thinking about representing yourself in court, you may want to at least speak with an attorney first to learn more about your options. For a confidential consultation, contact me today. Once I have learned about your case I can explain the options available.

Having a knowledgeable, competent lawyer on your side during your criminal trial can make all the difference in your case. Our New Jersey criminal defense attorneys understand the ins and outs of the criminal system and will work aggressively to pursue a favorable resolution for your case.

What to Look for in a Criminal Defense Attorney

When a person is facing prosecution for criminal charges, they may want to find a legal defender who can provide a strong defense for their rights. The criminal defense process can be particularly complex at times, making it all the more important for a legal defender to have a strong understanding of the law and how to use it to defend a client. With this in mind, it’s important for a person facing criminal accusations to find a worthwhile attorney.

There are thousands of criminal defense attorneys in the state of New Jersey, making the choice of picking a single representative more difficult. However, there are some important indicators that a person may want to look for when searching for legal help. These things include:

These important pieces of information can help a person get a clearer picture of who an attorney is and how capable they are of successfully working with clients.

Who is the Best New Jersey Criminal Defense Lawyer for Your Case?

When searching for the best New Jersey criminal defense lawyer for a case, people often turn to the Internet to look for search rankings or some other type of objective criteria, such as a list. As with all professions, there is not a single objective measure of what constitutes the “best.” There are, however, certain criteria that may be important for you or your case, such as the following:

Certification by the Supreme Court of New Jersey as a Criminal Trial Attorney

In New Jersey, experienced criminal trial lawyers can apply to be certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey as a Criminal Trial Attorney. To learn more about New Jersey criminal trial attorney certification, please read the articles on this site. Certification requires meeting a number of standards, including recognition by other attorneys. I am one of a limited number of attorneys in New Jersey who have been certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey as a Criminal Trial Attorney.

Litigation and Trial Experience

Another aspect to consider in choosing a criminal defense lawyer is the amount of experience that the lawyer has. I have been an attorney focused on criminal law matters for more than 15 years, and have worked on more than 2000 cases, starting as a former Assistant Prosecutor in Monmouth County. Having formerly served as a prosecutor, I know what it’s like to practice criminal law as both a prosecutor and defense attorney.

Trust and Dedication

Criminal matters are serious. If you’ve been charged with a crime, you need an attorney not only whom you can trust, but one who will work tirelessly in seeking to achieve for you the best outcome possible given the facts and circumstances of your case.

I and my firm have the experience, dedication, and trust that are often highly sought after in searches for a criminal defense attorney. We provide all of our clients with tenacious representation and full attention to their matter.

If you need a criminal defense lawyer, we would look forward to meeting with you and learning about the events pertaining to your charge, whereupon we can explain how we can help if we are retained. Please call our firm to schedule an appointment at your convenience.

Never Try to Represent Yourself Against a Serious Criminal Charge in Criminal Defense Case

In the legal world, there is a saying that “A lawyer who represents himself has a fool for a client.” This adage recognizes that even lawyers should retain legal counsel in serious legal matters rather than representing themselves.

If a lawyer, who has the legal education and perhaps many years of legal practice, should retain another lawyer instead of representing himself or herself, so too should non-lawyers retain a lawyer for a legal matter.

In criminal matters, the law is complicated and prosecutors work hard in seeking to convict. They want their conviction rate to be high so that their record looks good. Their job is not to care about how a legal conviction may affect the life or family of a person charged with a crime.

An experienced criminal defense attorney often will have years of practical experience and be in a much better position to advocate strongly and develop solid legal strategy than a person who has no training in the law.

Experienced criminal lawyers know how to spot evidence that may be inadmissible, and how to move to seek that such evidence is never introduced at trial. In the case where the prosecution’s main evidence is likely to be inadmissible, a criminal attorney may remind the prosecutor of the prosecutor’s legal duty to dismiss a case if there is not credible and admissible evidence upon which a conviction may be obtained. Experienced criminal lawyers thus not only focus on winning a case at trial, but also on strategies to have cases dismissed or charges reduced wherever possible prior to trial.

When charged with a crime, you should never try to go it alone.

The stakes are usually too high. If you’ve been charged with a crime, please call our office to schedule an appointment to learn how we may be able to help.

This informational blog post was brought to you by Jason A. Volet, an experienced New Jersey Criminal Defense Lawyer.

Monmouth County Lawyer Discusses Having a Case Thrown Out

Question:

My girlfriend and I of 15 years were drinking, unfortunately she beat me up while she was very drunk. My face has cuts and bruises all over it. Because she was scared I was going to have her locked up, she called the cops and said I choked her. The cops came and put me in hand cuffs, checked her out out and found no marks on her. The cops never asked me what happened or read me my rights. I was arrested for simple assault and let out on ROR. My girlfriend didn’t press charges, but the state did. I have pictures of my face, she’s apologized, and has tried to tell the arresting officer the truth but he won’t return her calls. She’s called him four times and left messages.

Answer:

Based on these facts as a Monmouth County Criminal Defense Lawyer it would be possible to get this dismissed. You should hire an experienced Monmouth County Criminal Defense Lawyer to gather the evidence you have and present it to the prosecutor in order to get the desired result. Unfortunately, the arresting officer has no power to dismiss the charge.

This legal question was provided by a Avvo and answered by Jason Volet an experienced Monmouth County Domestic Violence Lawyer. This does not consent an attorney client relationship.

Penalties of Aggravated Assault in New Jersey

Being charged with an aggravated assault is a very trying period in anybody’s life. An aggravated assault can range from a third degree aggravated assault up to a second degree aggravated assault. The difference between those are extremely significant. If you are charged with a second degree aggravated assault and you are convicted of it, you are looking at a mandatory period of state prison of between five and ten years and you must serve 85% of that sentence before you are eligible for parole, and that is subject to the No Early Release Act. It is important that you find an attorney who has the ability to defend against these charges and understands what it takes to be your advocate.

This informational blog post was provided by Jason A. Volet, an experienced New Jersey Domestic Violence Lawyer.

Simple Assault Charges in New Jersey

If you’ve been charged with a simple assault, it’s important that you hire an attorney. Generally, in a simple assault there are two sides; there is an alleged victim and there is the defendant, but that is not always the case. Sometimes the lines between who the victim and who the defendant are completely blurred. It’s important to understand that if the only witnesses to this event were you or the other person, that there are possible ways of essentially signing a charge against that other person for a simple assault, going into municipal court having both cases against both individuals downgraded to a mutual fighting charge, which is a petty disorderly person’s offense, which is much less.

Or, in fact, if there are no witnesses to the incident, the both of you can decide against testifying and acknowledge your Fifth Amendment rights not to testify. Without those witnesses, the case will be dismissed. But it’s important to find an attorney who understands the different avenues and the best ways to defend you against this type of crime.

This informational blog post was provided by Jason A. Volet, an experienced New Jersey Domestic Violence Attorney.

Evidence Against Simple Assault and Criminal Mischief Charge

Question:

I have been charged with simple assault and criminal mischief and I have a TRO against me with a hearing tomorrow. I have been wrongfully accused and it was all a lie what the plaintiff said about me and what I did. For the past week since the incident, the plaintiff keeps messaging me and calling my phone. I don’t answer back or respond back at all, I’ve answered her phone calls once to tell her to leave me alone. She has sent messages begging to talk to me. Lastly, she sent a text message to my phone basically saying and I quote, “I KNOW YOU DIDN’T HURT ME OR DO DAMAGE TO MY CAR, PLEASE JUST TALK TO ME”. Can I bring that evidence, plus phone records from my cell phone provider to court to show the prosecutor and judge? What are my chances in the case with this evidence?

Answer:

It is very important that you keep a record of all of this information. If your girlfriend goes to court for the final restraining order hearing and wishes to proceed, it is very important that you would present this evidence to the judge. As far as the assault charge, that will be heard in municipal court. It is also important to preserve this evidence so it can be presented to the prosecutor in order to have these charges dismissed. In either case, it is important to hire an attorney to who is experienced in both criminal and domestic violence cases. Hiring an attorney who is experienced in both of these fields is important to ensure that your evidence is properly presented to the court.

This legal question was provided by an Avvo visitor and answered by Jason Volet, an experienced New Jersey Domestic Violence Defense Attorney. This does not consent an attorney-client relationship.

How Do Criminal Cases Typically Proceed?

The basic process of a criminal case begins with a defendant being arrested and charged with committing a crime. The government is responsible for proving that there is irrefutable reason to believe that the defendant committed the crime. The following process then takes place:

  • Bail hearing – The defendant appears at a hearing and the presiding judge will decide if the defendant will be let out on bail or kept in custody.
  • Probable cause hearing – The judge will decide if there is enough evidence to support charging the defendant with the crime.
  • Arraignment – This is where the defendant enters the plea, such as guilty, not guilty, or guilty but mentally unstable.
  • Trial – If the defendant pleads not guilty, the criminal trial is often the next step.
  • Acquittal or sentencing – The defendant is acquitted of the crime if found innocent or is sentenced to various penalties if found guilty.

If you are currently facing a criminal case, it is important to consult with a knowledgeable defense lawyer. Contact the experienced New Jersey criminal defense attorneys at the Law Office of Jason A. Volet at 732-503-8968.

This informational blog post was brought to you by Jason A. Volet, an experienced New Jersey Criminal Defense Lawyer.

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