Is Domestic Violence a Felony in New Jersey?

The state of New Jersey takes domestic violence very seriously. If you have been wrongly accused of domestic violence, you will face harsh penalties, such as significant monetary fines and lengthy prison sentences, both of which can jeopardize you and your family’s future. Worse, though, even after you’re time served, a domestic violence conviction will remain a permanent part of your record, which will follow you for the rest of your life. Therefore, if you are facing such accusations, it’s crucial to understand your rights. Please continue reading to learn whether domestic violence is a felony offense in New Jersey and how our talented Bergen County Domestic Violence Attorneys can help you combat your charges. 

What is Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence is a repeat pattern of physical, emotional, verbal, psychological, or sexual abuse that is committed by someone with whom the perpetrator has either currently or previously been in a relationship, such as a spouse or former spouse. This can also apply to unmarried couples who are dating, have a child together, or are expecting a child together. This type of abusive behavior is used to gain or maintain power and control over a person or the relationship. Perpetrators frequently employ various tactics, such as threatening, intimidating, isolating, and even exercising financial control over their victims, which can continue over a long period.

New Jersey enacted the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act in 1991, which helps protect victims of domestic abuse. This act enables victims to seek both civil and criminal relief from their abuser. Essentially, they can request a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) from the court for protection, as it will ban the accused from coming near the victim’s home or workplace.

Is It a Felony or Misdemeanor Offense in New Jersey?

In New Jersey, domestic violence may be charged as a misdemeanor or felony offense. If your conduct involved simple assault or harassment, you will likely be charged with a disorderly person’s charge. However, if you have prior offenses, especially if they include domestic violence, the court can upgrade the charges from a misdemeanor to a felony. A misdemeanor offense can result in up to six months in jail. Felony domestic violence charges usually result in cases of possessing a weapon for unlawful purposes, sexual assault, and aggravated assault. Felonies are graded based on their severity:

  • Fourth-degree: up to 18 months in prison
  • Third-degree: 3 to 5 years in prison
  • Second-degree: 5 to 10 years in prison
  • First-degree: up to 20 years in prison

As you can see, the penalties for domestic violence can be devastating. If you’ve been wrongly accused of domestic violence, please don’t hesitate to contact a determined attorney from the Law Office of Carl Spector, who can help clear your name.