A domestic violence accusation is never taken lightly in the state of New Jersey. If you are accused, you may be facing different penalties depending on the factors surrounding your incident. But generally speaking, you may be wondering whether you may face felony charges. Read on to discover if domestic violence is considered a felony and how one of the experienced New Jersey & Pennsylvania criminal defense lawyers at The Vigilante Law Firm, P.C. can stand by your side.
Is domestic violence considered a felony in the state of New Jersey?
You may assume that a domestic violence incident only results in a restraining order issued by the local municipal court. Though, you may be wrong in making this assumption. That is, a judge will likely issue a temporary restraining order first until your hearing is conducted. This is so you become restricted from visiting the plaintiff’s home or place of employment, along with denying you any form of communication with the plaintiff, during your proceedings. But in the end, your temporary restraining order may quickly turn into a final restraining order. And although a final restraining order is considered a civil order, violating it may be considered criminal contempt. Lumped in with other violations, this may prompt a judge to place a jail sentence against you.
What’s more, domestic violence itself may be handled by the criminal court. This may reign true if your incident involved the possession of a weapon for unlawful purposes, sexual assault, or aggravated assault.
What are the possible penalties against me and defenses I may take?
When it comes to felony domestic violence charges, you may be facing any of the following prison sentences:
- Fourth-degree offense: a prison sentence of up to 18 months.
- Third-degree offense: a prison sentence of three to five years.
- Second-degree offense: a prison sentence of five to 10 years.
- First-degree offense: a prison sentence of up to 20 years.
Understandably so, you do not want to receive a prison sentence or any other penalties that the New Jersey criminal court has in mind for you. This may be especially true if you believe that you are being wrongfully accused. And so, you must strategize what argument you are going to make to the court. A common defense is that the incident of domestic violence cannot be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. If not, you may use the claim that you were acting in self-defense, and so, the incident was a result of the plaintiff’s behavior.
The first step you must take in your defense strategy is to make a phone call. Without further ado, pick up the phone and contact one of the experienced New Jersey and Pennsylvania criminal defense lawyers from The Vigilante Law Firm, P.C. today.