The term domestic violence is used broadly under state law. In fact, there are 19 separate criminal offenses that are considered acts of domestic violence. These charges can vary from harassment to assault and even to murder.

If you are facing allegations of domestic abuse, the legal jeopardy you face is real. However, it is vital to remember that every person has a right to build a legal defense against these allegations. A Hackensack domestic violence lawyer could help with that defense. The guidance of a dedicated defense attorney could put you in the best position possible to avoid a conviction.

Common Examples of Domestic Violence Offenses

There are 19 domestic violence offenses identified in the New Jersey Prevention of Domestic Violence Act. Each of these is a criminal offense on its own, but a conviction could carry steeper penalties if the alleged victim is a spouse or family member. These offenses include:

  • False imprisonment
  • Criminal mischief
  • Assault
  • Harassment
  • Terroristic threats
  • Criminal restraint
  • Stalking
  • Criminal sexual contact

In addition to criminal prosecution, domestic violence allegations could also serve as the basis for a restraining order. In these cases, the accused could face significant life consequences before they have ever been convicted of a crime. Given the stakes of a domestic violence offense, it could be helpful to speak to a skilled and understanding attorney in Hackensack without delay.

Protected Parties under Domestic Violence Laws

Whether a criminal offense is treated as a domestic violence case depends on the relationship between the reporting witness and the accused. Domestic violence laws enhance penalties for actions that were already criminal, which means the state only needs to add an additional element regarding the relationship to their standard duty to prove.

Many believe domestic violence offenses only involve two spouses. However, state law identifies other relationships that also qualify. For a criminal act to be considered a domestic offense, the relationship between the accused and the reporting witness must fall into one of the following categories:

  • Married
  • Divorced
  • Separated
  • Dating
  • Have children together
  • Previously dated
  • Live together
  • Previously lived together

These charges have the potential to cause serious long-term consequences upon conviction. Fortunately, an experienced lawyer familiar with Hackensack domestic violence cases could work to reduce those consequences or avoid a conviction entirely.

Possible Penalties for a Conviction in Hackensack

Given the wide range of criminal offenses that fall into the category of domestic violence, it should come as no surprise that the possible penalties also vary. These charges could be treated as felonies or disorderly persons charges depending on the circumstances.

The potential penalties for each domestic violence offense have two things in common: fines and jail time. However, this sentencing range can vary. Lesser offenses carry a maximum of 18 months in state prison, while a first-degree domestic violence charge could carry up to 20 years.

Talk to a Hackensack Domestic Violence Attorney Right Away

If you are facing domestic violence charges, there is no time to delay your selection of legal counsel. Your legal representative could play a crucial role in helping you avoid a conviction.

Let a Hackensack domestic violence lawyer advise you on your legal rights and defense options. Call right away for your initial consultation.