Domestic violence is a serious problem. Domestic Violence laws were created to protect victims of domestic violence, including spouses, significant others, children, the elderly and the disabled. Domestic Violence laws are important in protecting the health, safety and welfare of our most vulnerable citizens. However, in seeking to protect citizens, the law sometimes goes too far, and often times turns the accused person into the victim.
Unfortunately, the New Jersey Domestic Violence can be used as a weapon. Too often, it is abused and misused, as the simple allegation of domestic violence, even when no violence is involved, can lead to serious consequences. If a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) is granted, many times a client can be removed from their home with no access to clothes and other important items, kept from children, ordered to pay temporary support and alimony, and sometimes pay damages as compensation.
Many times when a TRO is granted, criminal charges are also filed.
Under the Domestic Violence Act, if a judge finds a “predicate act” constituting domestic violence, a restraining order is entered. Unfortunately, “predicate acts” can include harmless, non-violent conduct.
Many times, TRO’s are used as leverage in divorce cases. Restraining Orders are routinely granted, on nothing more than an allegation, with no proof, and many times based on “harassment” which isn’t even a crime. Almost any conduct can be “harassment”, including mean words, multiple texts or phone calls and even arguments. Courts are reluctant to deny TRO’s, and scared not to provide protection to someone who claims they are a victim. Court’s need only to believe the complaining person by a “preponderance of the evidence”, the lowest legal standard of proof. All to often, the accused becomes the real victim. If criminal charges are also filed, prosecutors are all too quick to believe the allegation, because no one wants to be accused of failing to protect a victim.
Many defenses exist to allegations of Domestic Violence. Sometimes, the accused acts in self-defense. Many times, the allegation is false, and based on nothing more than the word of the accused. When that happens, the motive and bias of the accuser become crucial. Other times, the conduct simply isn’t domestic violence, including arguments, etc.
At Nugent Law, our criminal defense lawyers have successfully defended hundreds of people accused of domestic violence.
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To set up your free consultation with an attorney who is experienced in defending against Domestic Violence allegations, call us at 856-596-9770 or contact our firm online. If you cannot meet during regular office hours, we can arrange an evening or weekend appointment by special request. Our firm accepts all major credit cards for your convenience.