Woodbridge Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer
Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer Committed To Protecting Clients’ Rights In Cases Involving Domestic Violence In Woodbridge and Throughout NJ
If you have been arrested in the area, speak to a Woodbridge domestic violence defense lawyer. Domestic violence cases often involve allegations that are either inaccurate or not even truthful. Alleged victims may exaggerate or manufacture details because they are caught up in their emotions. Still, a police officer who responds to domestic violence call may feel obligated to arrest at least one person in order to protect him or her.
If this recently happened to you in Woodbridge or a nearby community in New Jersey, veteran criminal defense attorney Anthony J. Vecchio will stand up for you and help you to challenge the charges you face. He knows how to fight domestic violence charges and can work on trying to get your charge reduced or dismissed.
Remember: You are entitled to the presumption of innocence. Contact the Law Offices of Anthony J. Vecchio, LLC, today for a free consultation and learn more about how Anthony and our legal team can help you.
How Can a Woodbridge Domestic Violence Lawyer Protect You?
Anthony J. Vecchio has handled more than 1,000 combined criminal, municipal court, and appellate cases over the course of his career, giving him the experience necessary to protect you if you have been charged with a domestic violence offense in Woodbridge. When you work with the Law Offices of Anthony J. Vecchio, LLC, you will quickly see that our legal team is passionate about providing personalized, thorough, and effective representation, including:
- Reviewing evidence to build a defense. Anthony will demand to see the evidence against you and carefully examine it to identify any weaknesses and problems with the prosecution’s domestic violence case.
- Fighting to exclude evidence. If the police collected evidence in violation of your rights or failed to follow the right procedure, Anthony can seek to have the evidence suppressed. Without that evidence, the charges against you could possibly be dismissed or reduced.
- Negotiating with prosecutors. Depending on your circumstances, it may be in your best interest to accept a plea offer instead of going to trial. Anthony will work with prosecutors and pursue the best deal possible, and he will provide open and honest advice concerning the offer.
- Representing you at hearings and trials.If you must appear at restraining order hearing, you should have an attorney at your side. If criminal charges are filed against you, Anthony will protect your rights at all hearings as well as fight for you in the courtroom if your domestic violence case goes to trial.
- Helping with appeals. If you are convicted of a domestic violence crime, you may be able to appeal from the judgment entered against you. Anthony is an experienced appellate attorney who knows how to effectively identify legal issues and argue for you on appeal.
What Is Domestic Violence?
If you recently were charged with a domestic violence offense in Woodbridge, you should understand the nature of the charge. Under the New Jersey Prevention of Domestic Violence Act (N.J.S.A. 2C:25-19), “domestic violence” occurs when one or more of the following 19 offenses are committed against a person who is protected under the Act. Those offenses are:
- Homicide (N.J.S.A. 2C:11-1, et seq.)
- Assault (N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1)
- Terroristic threats (N.J.S.A. 2C:12-3)
- Kidnapping (N.J.S.A. 2C:13-1)
- Criminal restraint (N.J.S.A. 2C:13-2)
- False imprisonment (N.J.S.A. 2C:13-3)
- Sexual assault (N.J.S.A. 2C:14-2)
- Criminal sexual contact (N.J.S.A. 2C:14-3)
- Lewdness (N.J.S.A. 2C:14-4)
- Criminal mischief (N.J.S.A. 2C:17-3)
- Burglary (N.J.S.A. 2C:18-2)
- Criminal trespass (N.J.S.A. 2C:18-3)
- Harassment (N.J.S.A. 2C:33-4)
- Stalking (P.L.1992, c.209 (C.2C:12-10))
- Criminal coercion ((N.J.S.A. 2C:13-5)
- Robbery (N.J.S.A. 2C:15-1)
- Contempt of a domestic violence order pursuant to subsection b. of N.J.S.2C:29-9 that constitutes a crime or disorderly persons offense
- Any other crime involving risk of death or serious bodily injury to a person protected under the “Prevention of Domestic Violence Act of 1991,” (P.L.1991, c.261 (C.2C:25-17 et al.))
- Cyber-harassment (P.L.2013, c.272 (C.2C:33-4.1)).
The statute defines a domestic violence victim, or a person protected under the Act, as any person who:
- Is 18 years of age or older or an emancipated minor subjected to domestic violence by a spouse, former spouse, or any other person who is a current or former household member.
- Has been subjected to domestic violence by an alleged offender with whom the alleged victim has a child in common or anticipates having a child in common.
- Has been subjected to domestic violence by a person with whom the victim has had a dating relationship.
Who is a “Household Member?”
There is no statutory definition for “household member.” However, the New Jersey Criminal Division of Criminal Justice (NJCDCI) states that the determination of whether an individual is or was a household member “should be liberally construed by the police officer.” For instance, in S.Z. v. M.C., 417 N.J. Super. 622, 11 A .3d 404 (App. Div. 2011), the Appellate Division of the Superior Court of New Jersey ruled that a man visiting a person’s home for less than a year constituted a household member.
The NJCDCI notes that officers should consider the length of time that the two persons have resided together and other relevant factors when determining whether a person is a household member. If there is any doubt, the officer should contact a supervising officer, the department’s legal advisor or an on-call judge.
A domestic violence case may involve concerns about whether a minor has been emancipated. A minor is considered emancipated in New Jersey if the minor has been married, entered military service, has a child or is pregnant, or if the minor has previously been declared emancipated by a court or an administrative agency.
Domestic violence can involve allegations of abuse or violence, but not all of these allegations will necessarily include physical acts of violence. Certain forms of emotional or psychological abuse can lead to domestic violence charges as well.
What Is Domestic Violence Assault?
A domestic violence assault typically is classified as a simple assault or an aggravated assault under N.J.S.A. § 2C:12-1.
A simple assault involves a person who allegedly:
- Attempts to cause or purposely, knowingly or recklessly causes bodily injury to another person
- Negligently causes bodily injury to another person with a deadly weapon
- Attempts to put another person in fear of imminent serious bodily injury through physical menace.
An aggravated assault involves a person who allegedly:
- Attempts to cause serious bodily injury to another person
- Purposely, knowingly or recklessly causes serious bodily injury to another person
- Attempts to cause or purposely or knowingly causes bodily injury to another person with a deadly weapon
- Recklessly causes bodily injury to another person with a deadly weapon
- Recklessly points a firearm (loaded or unloaded) at or in the direction of another person
- Commits simple assault upon a protected person.
A simple assault may result in a disorderly person offense punishable by up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000, while an aggravated assault is an indictable crime which, depending on the circumstances, may be punishable as a:
- Crime of the second degree (up to 10 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $150,000)
- Crimes of the third degree (up to five years in prison and/or a fine of up to $15,000)
- Crime of the fourth degree (up to 18 months in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000)
What Is Domestic Violence Harassment?
N.J.S.A. § 2C:33-4 establishes that a person commits the crime of harassment if, for the purpose of harassing another, the person allegedly:
- Communicates anonymously, at extremely inconvenient hours or in offensively coarse language or in any other manner likely to cause annoyance or alarm,
- Subjects another person to offensive touching or threatens to do so
- Engages in any form of alarming conduct or repeated actions with intent to alarm or seriously annoy another person.
Harassment is a crime of the fourth degree. This means that a conviction could result in up to 18 months in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000.
Harassment is usually considered a crime of domestic violence when the alleged victim is a spouse, former dating partner or household member of the alleged offender. Harassment allegations often result in temporary restraining orders.
What Happens If You Violate a Restraining Order in Woodbridge?
A violation of a temporary restraining order or a final restraining order is usually a crime of the fourth degree in New Jersey. Judges take these allegations seriously because the alleged offender is essentially accused of defying a court order.
Many alleged violations are unknowing and completely devoid of criminal intent, such as returning a phone call to a spouse when the subject of the restraining order was prohibited from contacting him or her. Criminal contempt charges can also come into play. For this reason, you should seek legal help immediately if you are accused of violating a restraining order.
Get Help from a Woodbridge Domestic Violence Attorney Today
As an experienced domestic violence defense attorney, Anthony J. Vecchio will aggressively protect your rights and fight for justice for you. The sooner you get legal help, the better off you will be in the long run. To discuss your case, contact the Law Offices of Anthony J. Vecchio, LLC, and schedule a meeting with Anthony through our conveniently located Woodbridge office.