Domestic violence is a serious matter, and committing it or being accused of it can result in life changing consequences, whether in the form of a criminal prosecution or having a restraining order being entered against the individual charged (which usually comes along with the criminal prosecution). The law firm of Villani & DeLuca, P.C. has the knowledge and experience to represent those facing domestic violence charges and restraining order hearings.
If you have been charged with domestic violence, you need to take action to secure the services of an experienced criminal defense attorney. Having a final restraining order issued against you or being convicted of domestic violence can have tremendous consequences, with often permanent effects for your future.
Domestic violence cases often present difficult issues of proof, as there are often no witnesses to the alleged abuse. Such cases often come down to a ‘he said she said’ contest, with the court ultimately siding with the party that the court, in light of all the evidence presented, views as the more believable party.
To determine if an act of domestic violence has occurred, the judge will consider whether the act or acts of the alleged abuser constituted any of the following crimes:
New Jersey law recognizes two types of restraining orders: a temporary restraining order and a final restraining order. A temporary restraining order can be issued by a New Jersey judge as a response to an alleged domestic violence incident, where the judge has a sufficient basis to believe domestic violence has occurred. For a restraining order to be entered against a party, some domestic relationship must exist between that party and the person the restraining order is meant to protect. A restraining order is generally meant to prohibit the party it is entered against from contacting or communicating with the party on whose behalf the order is entered.
Temporary restraining orders are frequently issued in order to provide temporary protection from alleged domestic abuse, and in lieu of a possible final restraining order, which requires a firmer evidentiary basis, and which may be entered at a later time.
A final restraining order, under New Jersey law, is permanent and remains in effect unless the alleged victim or a court moves for its removal. A final restraining order in New Jersey is a strong protection for victims of domestic abuse, but it is a device that in practice is often abused. Final restraining order hearings in New Jersey are conducted by a Superior Court Judge from the Family Division. The standard of proof under which the elements must be demonstrated is a lower standard of proof than is required in a criminal trial. In a final restraining order hearing, the standard of proof is that the elements be proved by a ‘preponderance of the evidence’, a standard that has often been explained as being met where ‘it is more likely than not’ that the elements have been satisfied; in a criminal trial, the standard of proof is the more forbidding standard of ‘beyond a reasonable doubt.’
Although the hearing is not a criminal proceeding, the imposition of a final restraining order comes with some heavy sanctions:
Villani & DeLuca, P.C. attorneys are experienced criminal defense lawyers and family law attorneys who are uniquely qualified to help you navigate your way through the complex legal landscape surrounding domestic violence charges and restraining order issues. Call Villani & DeLuca, P.C. today at 732-965-3350. We represent clients throughout Ocean County and Monmouth County New Jersey.