Stalking and Domestic Violence
Stalking and Domestic Violence Attorneys in Brick and Sea Girt, New Jersey
According to New Jersey law, there are 19 acts that are considered domestic violence.
The Covid-19 pandemic of 2020 has shone a light on the instances of domestic violence, as reports of domestic abuse have skyrocketed during times of lockdown and quarantine in the United States and around the world. Despite the spotlight placed on domestic violence during this era, it is nothing new. According to the New Jersey State Police, in 2016, the most recent year for which there is data, there were over 63,000 reports of domestic violence in the state alone.
Read on to learn what constitutes domestic violence in New Jersey. Then, we’ll hone in on one particular act of domestic violence – stalking – and explore what constitutes stalking as a chargeable domestic violence offense.
What is considered domestic violence in New Jersey?
Domestic violence is the use of abuse or manipulation to restrain or control a partner, according to the United States Department of Justice. The DOJ specifies that acts of control that are physical, sexual, emotional, economic, or psychological can all constitute domestic violence under federal law. In New Jersey, 19 forms of domestic violence that are considered criminal offenses are outlined in the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act of 1991.
The following are the types of domestic violence as laid out by the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act of 1991:
- Assault – The most well-known form of domestic violence is assault. According to New Jersey law, assault is the infliction of harm on a person or the infliction of unwanted physical contact. Assault also includes the verbal threat to cause harm to a person. Because this creates such a broad scope, assault as a domestic violence charge is an often disputed charge.
- Sexual Assault – Sexual assault carries a charge on its own, but it can also carry a charge of domestic violence.
- Criminal Sexual Contact – A perpetrator who touches a person’s body in an unpermitted way is committing criminal sexual contact.
- Criminal Restraint – Criminal restraint is a form of assault in which a victim is detained against their will.
- Stalking – As we will discuss later, stalking is a broad charge that has become broader with the outset of technology. Stalking can include personal or cyber proximity, presence, or contact that is persistent and unpermitted.
- Harassment – Harassment is repeated communication that is intended to elicit fear or discomfort.
- Cyber Harassment – In recent decades, the definition of harassment has extended because of the expansion of technology. New Jersey Statutes 2C:3-4 notes that cyber harassment is electronic or technological in nature and includes the use of social media to harm, threaten, or defame someone’s character, as well as to threaten their emotional or physical safety.
- Threats – Threats can be considered domestic violence if they threaten physical harm to a partner, ex, or householder. Even a threat that is not carried out can bring a domestic violence charge.
- Kidnapping – If a person kidnaps a current or prior member of their household, it will carry a domestic violence charge in addition to its own criminal charge.
- False Imprisonment – Similar to the criminal restraint domestic violence charge, false imprisonment is the withholding of someone against their will. This can be overt or subtle, as is in the case of gaslighting.
- Lewdness – Revealing private parts without express consent can carry a domestic violence charge.
- Robbery – Robbery is the taking of someone’s possession from them.
- Burglary – Burglary is the entry onto someone’s property without their permission, with the intention of committing a crime. Unlike robbery, one doesn’t have to take anything from the property to be charged with burglary; it is their unconsented presence that elicits the charge.
- Criminal Mischief – Criminal mischief is causing damage to someone’s property; it is also known as vandalism.
- Contempt of a Restraining Order – Breaking a court-ordered restraining order can bring additional domestic violence charges for an offender.
- Crimes that Cause Risk of Death to a Protected – Partners, exes, parents of shared children, and current and former householders are protected under the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act of 1991. Risking their physical safety in any way can bring about a domestic violence charge.
- Homicide – In addition to carrying its own criminal charge, depending on the relationship to the victim, a domestic violence charge may be brought against the alleged.
What is stalking?
According to New Jersey law, stalking carries specific, defining elements:
- the person accused engaged in speech or action that was directed specifically toward the alleged victim;
- the speech or action occurred more than once, and was therefore repeated;
- the speech or action of the accused person would cause a reasonable person fear for their physical safety and wellbeing;
- the accused person knew that their speech or action would reasonably cause fear, and they recklessly moved forward despite this awareness.
Call us today with your Domestic Violence related issues in NJ
At Bronzino Law, our attorneys are experienced in protecting our clients in Point Pleasant, Brick, Wall, Sea Girt, Spring Lake, and the greater Ocean and Monmouth County Areas in all domestic violence and stalking matters.