An accusation of domestic violence is a serious one. Such a charge can easily be upgraded to a felony, and that means harsh punishments and the potential for long jail sentences. If you are facing such accusations, you need to understand your rights and get ready to clear your name. A Mercer County domestic violence defense lawyer can help you defend yourself from these charges
What Can Be Considered Domestic Violence in NJ?
Domestic violence concerns crimes that a defendant commits against someone that they are or have been in some kind of relationship with. If the perpetrator and the victim are married, separated, or divorced, that is domestic violence. This can also apply to unmarried couples that are dating, have a child together, or are expecting a child.
There are multiple types of abuse that can lead to a DV charge. The broad categories are:
Physical abuse: Obviously, accusations of causing physical harm to a spouse or partner can be considered domestic violence. Punching, kicking, stabbing, or otherwise harming a victim can result in a domestic violence charge, and that charge can rise to a felony depending on the circumstances.
Sexual abuse: Rape, sexual assault, and sexual harassment can all result in DV charges. Other types of sexual abuse, like forcing a partner to stop using contraception, can also lead to criminal charges when combined with other incidents.
Financial abuse: If one partner controls another’s access to money and other resources, that can be considered domestic violence. The abuser’s goal here is to make it difficult or impossible for their partner to leave a bad situation. By itself, this is unlikely to result in criminal charges. However, it can easily be a factor in a case against somebody if they are also accused of physical or sexual violence against their partner.
Emotional abuse: This type of abuse is designed to bring down someone’s self-worth so that they do not have the strength to leave a bad situation on their own. It rarely leads to charges on its own, but evidence of such abuse can be used against a defendant.
What Are the Punishments for Felony Domestic Violence?
If the state believes that it has enough evidence to charge you with a felony, you need to be ready to defend yourself. A DV charge can become a felony if you have a criminal record, or if you are accused of using a deadly weapon. The punishments for felony domestic violence can depend on the degree of the felony:
- Fourth-degree: up to 18 months in prison
- Third-degree: three to five years in prison
- Second-degree: Five to 10 years in prison
- First-degree: up to 20 years in prison
Contact Our Law Firm Today
You do not have to face these accusations on your own. Contact the Law Office of Douglas Herring today and schedule a free consultation, Our legal team can tell you more about your legal options.