The state of New Jersey takes domestic violence seriously. The punishments for a conviction are quite harsh, and it does not take much for a DV charge to become a felony charge. So if you are accused of domestic violence, you cannot sit idly by as the state builds its case against you. You need to contact a Bergen County, New Jersey assault lawyer who will advocate on your behalf.
What Crimes Are Considered Domestic Violence?
Domestic violence charges are reserved for situations in which some kind of relationship, usually a romantic one, exists or did exist between the perpetrator and the victim. So you can be charged with DV if you are accused of harming someone that:
- You are or were married to
- You are or were dating
- Is the mother of your child
- Is pregnant with your child
- Lives with you
As for what kinds of crimes qualify as domestic violence, the list is long. You can be charged for physical abuse, like assault, or crimes like stalking, harassment, and terroristic threats. An accusation of sexual abuse can also result in a domestic violence charge.
How Can a Domestic Violence Charge Become a Felony?
Domestic violence charges can become felony charges in a few ways. Generally, the state will look at:
- Your criminal record and past charges
- Whether you possessed a weapon
- Whether you committed sexual assault
Even if your charge does not become a felony charge, it still needs to be taken seriously. A disorderly persons offense of simple assault or harassment can still be punished with up to six months in jail, and that is in addition to other punishments like probation and enrollment in anger management classes.
What Are the Potential Punishments for a Felony?
A felony charge is serious business. You are going to face jail time, but how much jail time depends on what degree of felony you are convicted of. General guidelines look like this:
- Fourth-degree felony: up to 18 months in state prison
- Third-degree: three to five years in jail
- Second-degree: five to 10 years
- First-degree: up to 20 years
These are also not the only consequences that you can face. A conviction of felony domestic violence goes on your record and it stays there. Anyone who does a background check, like a landlord or a prospective employer, will see it. A conviction could also affect your ability to secure custody or visitation time with your kids.
You should not have to suffer these kinds of consequences and spend years of your life behind bars due to a mistake or a false accusation. Let a seasoned lawyer develop a defensive strategy and help you fight for your rights.
Schedule a Consultation With Our Legal Team
If you are facing a felony charge, you should have an experienced legal professional on your side. Contact the Law Office of E. Gregory M. Cannarozzi and schedule your initial consultation. It is time to learn more about what an attorney can do to help you.