A domestic violence charge can be one of the most taxing criminal charges to face in New Jersey. It can affect relationships, families, living arrangements, employment, and a whole host of other areas in someone’s life. If you’re facing a domestic violence charge, there are a few essential steps that you should take to ensure you’re moving in the right direction.
- 1 Contact a domestic violence defense attorney as soon as possible
- 2 Understand the terms of the protective order
- 3 Don’t speak to the police without your lawyer present
- 4 Don’t talk to the accuser
- 5 Avoid further legal trouble
- 6 Connect with a positive support system
- 7 Allow your domestic violence defense attorney to guide you
- 8 Key Takeaways
Contact a domestic violence defense attorney as soon as possible
Any domestic violence charge should immediately lead to a phone call to a domestic violence defense attorney. Do not wait to make this phone call. A lawyer can help you understand the extent of your charges and provide you with guidance on how to move forward.
Domestic violence situations can be highly emotional, and harsh words are often exchanged. For instance, an accuser might threaten to contact the police to file domestic violence charges, and that phone call may or may not take place. In these cases, it’s still wise to speak to a domestic violence defense attorney. They can advise you on managing this threat and what to do if there’s a potential arrest.
Understand the terms of the protective order
In New Jersey, when domestic violence charges are filed, a defendant will likely face a protective order or a temporary restraining order. The terms and conditions set by these protective orders need to be followed precisely. Violating a restraining order can lead to more severe penalties and punishments.
Unfortunately, many defendants who don’t read the fine lines and details of the order can mistakenly violate it. A no-contact order means absolutely no contact. For instance, you can violate the order if you contact the accuser because you wanted to know if a rent payment was made. Even when intentions are good, they can lead to unnecessary consequences.
Don’t speak to the police without your lawyer present
It can be difficult to know who’s on your side in a domestic violence situation. After law enforcement makes an arrest, they may ask to hear your side of the story. Many police officers will pretend to be your friend to get a statement or urge a confession. Remember that it is your right to have a lawyer present when being interrogated by police. You do not have to answer their questions without your domestic violence defense attorney by your side.
There’s a good reason why you have the right to remain silent. Your words can be misconstrued and used against you in court. Even defendants confident in their innocence who believe a domestic violence charge is a big misunderstanding can end up saying things that can hurt them later.
Don’t talk to the accuser
Because of no-contact orders or restraining orders, this may seem obvious. However, oftentimes defendants will attempt to contact the alleged victim to try to resolve the issue. They believe that they can find common ground if they can just talk one-on-one. However, speaking to the accuser doesn’t only violate a temporary restraining order; it can also make your case much worse.
It’s also vital to understand that even if the alleged victim drops the charges, the state can still decide to prosecute. In genuine domestic violence cases, this protocol is in place to prevent an abuser from threatening a victim to drop the charges. In all other cases, contacting the accuser, even with the best intentions, can lead to more significant problems in the end.
Avoid further legal trouble
As your domestic violence case moves through the family court system, you mustn’t end up in further legal trouble. Avoid hanging out with individuals that can persuade you to break the law. Don’t drink and drive. Do your best to prevent any further damage to your case.
Connect with a positive support system
Domestic violence charges can completely uproot your life. You may not be permitted to see your family, or you may have to find new living arrangements. Sometimes domestic violence charges can affect your employment or school enrollment. These types of cases can lead to stress, anxiety, and even depression.
Be sure to reach out to loved ones who positively influence your life. Having a strong support system throughout a domestic violence case can help you stay on the right track. Fighting these charges will be challenging, but there is a way forward. Connecting with counselors or therapists can also be helpful at this time.
Allow your domestic violence defense attorney to guide you
It’s normal to feel lost and confused throughout a domestic violence case. However, don’t hesitate to turn to your domestic violence attorney when you feel unsure about your case. If you have questions or concerns, they will likely have answers.
Also, be sure to check in with your attorney before appearing in court. Your domestic violence defense attorney can counsel you on what to say, how to appear professional, and how to stay calm during hearings.
When facing a domestic violence charge in New Jersey, you must contact a defense attorney as soon as possible. Connecting with an experienced lawyer can ensure that you’re moving your case in the right direction, but you must do it quickly.
The court will likely issue a temporary restraining order after you’re charged. It’s vital that you don’t contact the accuser or violate any terms of the protective order. Doing so can lead to more significant legal problems. It’s also highly advised that you not speak to the police without your lawyer present.
Domestic violence charges can be overwhelming. Be sure to reach out to your support system for assistance at this time. Do whatever you can to avoid getting into further legal trouble while your domestic violence case is active. Speaking with mental health counselors or therapists can help in these situations.