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NJ Domestic Violence Laws

We have gathered the following New Jersey domestic violence laws and statutes for you.  The domestic violence statutes include a list of offenses that are classified as “domestic violence” when they occur between married couples, divorced couples, couples living together, couples who have a child together or couples who are contemplating having a child together.  The statutes provided below are meant only to serve as general information.  If you have been charged with violating one of the following laws then please contact Villani & DeLuca, P.C. at (732) 709-7757 for a free consultation.

Domestic Violence Laws in NJ:

  • 2C:25-18.  Legislative findings on domestic violence. – The New Jersey Legislature has declared domestic violence to be an extremely serious crime, from which victims deserve maximum protection under the law.  As such, law enforcement officers responding to domestic violence calls are mandated to take immediate actions to protect the victim.  Although domestic violence is private in nature, the Legislature views this form of abuse as a crime against society due to its frequent occurrence, especially among women, the elderly and the disabled.
  • 2C:25-19.  Domestic violence definitions. – Domestic violence is defined as the occurrence of certain acts, such as assault, harassment, criminal restraint and stalking inflicted on a person of 18 years of age or older.  Furthermore, the acts are inflicted by the victim's current or former spouse/ partner, or a current or former member of the victim's household.  
  • 2C:25-20.  Development of training course; curriculum. – The Division of Criminal Justice is responsible for implementing and overseeing domestic violence training for all law enforcement officers.  Specialized training is also provided for members of local domestic crisis teams, which include social workers, therapists and members of the clergy. 
  • 2C:25-21.  Arrest for domestic violence. – Law enforcement officers are mandated to arrest the alleged abuser in a domestic violence situation if there is probable cause to support the victim's claim.  Victims who have used reasonable self-defense to fight back against their attacker will not be arrested or denied protection from the law. 
  • 2C:25-22.  Immunity from civil liability. – Those who report an incident of domestic violence based on good faith and probable cause will receive immunity from civil action filed against them by any of the involved parties.  
  • 2C:25-23.  Victim's right to temporary restraining order. – Police officers responding to a call of domestic violence must disseminate information to the victim pertaining to his or rights, such as how to file a restraining order.
  • 2C:25-24.  Domestic violence offense reports. – A police officer responding to a domestic violence call must complete a report with information such as the victim's relationship to the offender, the duration of abuse and actions taken by the police officer. This report is forwarded to the appropriate county's bureau of identification and the State bureau of records and identification.
  • 2C:25-25.  Criminal complaints for domestic violence. – Criminal complaints for domestic violence cannot be dismissed or delayed due to a concurrent civil action.  The court will proceed with the complaint even if the victim has fled the premises, since such action may be necessary to avoid further incidents of abuse. 
  • 2C:25-26.  Conditions of release of domestic violence defendant. – When a defendant charged with domestic violence is released before the trial date, certain conditions will be imposed in order to safeguard the victim.  These conditions will restrict the defendant's ability to have contact with the victim or the victim's family, friends and coworkers.   Special conditions, such as banning the defendant from owning firearms or other deadly weapons, may also be imposed.
  • 2C:25-26.1.  Notification of victim of release of defendant. – If a defendant charged with domestic violence is released from jail before the trial date, the victim will be notified of the release within 48 hours.  Immediate notification will be given if the offender has been charged with an especially serious crime, such as homicide, aggravated assault and sexual assault. 
  • 2C:25-27.  Conditions of sentencing of defendant found guilty of domestic violence. – If a defendant found guilty of domestic violence is ordered to stay away from the victim, the court will issue an order to that effect and forward a copy to the victim.  The court may also mandate the defendant to receive professional counseling, and to supply the court with proof of attendance. 
  • 2C:25-28.  Filing a domestic violence complaint in court. – A victim of domestic violence may file a complaint with the Family Division of his or her county Superior Court.  If an incident occurs outside the court's office hours, the victim can seek emergency relief in the form of a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO).  
  • 2C:25-28.1.  In-house restraining order prohibited. – An in-house restraining order is a court order which would allow the offender and victim to continue residing in the same household, while limiting the offender's use of the premises.  In-house restraining orders are not issued for domestic violence cases under any circumstance. 
  • 2C:25-29.  Hearing procedure; relief. – Domestic violence hearings must take place within 10 days following the filing of the complaint.  The purpose of the hearing is to examine any evidence that proves the victim's allegations of abuse.  If the court rules that there is a preponderance of evidence to suggest domestic violence, orders will be issued to protect the victim. 
  • 2C:25-29.1.  Civil penalty for certain domestic violence offenders. – Defendants found guilty of domestic violence will be ordered to pay no less than $50, but no more than $500 towards a civic penalty, except in the case of extreme financial hardship. 
  • 2C:25-29.2.  Collection, distribution of civil penalties collected. – All sums collected as civil penalties under Statute 2C:25-29.1 will be forwarded to the Domestic Victims Violence Fund.  New Jersey has a total of 24 domestic violence programs (at least one per county), which include a 24 hour hotline and emergency shelters. 
  • 2C:25-29.4.  Surcharge for domestic violence offender to fund grants. – In addition to the civic penalty, a defendant found guilty of domestic violence will also be ordered to pay a surcharge of $100 made payable to the Treasurer of the State of New Jersey.  These sums are used by the Department of Health to provide funding for domestic violence prevention and training programs.
  • 2C:25-30.  Violation of a domestic violence order. – Those who violate a temporary or permanent restraining order issued for domestic violence will be deemed in contempt, which is a criminal offense.   If an offender has previously violated the restraining order, he or she will serve a minimum jail sentence of at least 30 days. 
  • 2C:25-31.  Contempt of a domestic violence order. – If there is probable cause to show that a defendant has violated the terms of a restraining order, the defendant will be arrested and charged with contempt.  The responding officer must inform the judge assigned to the case of the defendant's violation.  If the defendant cannot pay the bail, he or she will be detained at the police station or the county jail.
  • 2C:25-32.  Alleged contempt, complainant's procedure. – Alleged contempt refers to a charge of contempt made by the victim, for which the responding officer is unable to find probable cause.  Although the defendant cannot be arrested, the officer will instruct the complainant on how to file a complaint with the Family Division of the Superior Court.
  • 2C:25-33.  Records of applications for relief. – Records of applications for relief from domestic violence must include specific information such as the relationship of the parties, the exact offense that is alleged to have occurred and the nature of the penalty imposed upon the defendant.  These records are used by the Director of the Administrative Office of the Courts to compile data, which must be presented to the Governor, the Legislature and the Advisory Council on Domestic Violence on an annual basis. 
  • 2C:25-34.  Domestic violence restraining orders. – A registry of all persons who have had a domestic violence restraining order issued against them is maintained by the Administrative Office of the Courts.  These records are confidential, and are only disclosed for court approved purposes such as investigating a domestic violence claim and conducting a background check prior to the sale of a firearm. 

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