Tag: Toms River Domestic Violence Abuse Attorney

Guide to Understanding How Controlling Behavior is a Type of Domestic Abuse

Coercive behavior can become a repetitive action in a relationship that needs to be stopped as soon as possible. It also qualifies as a criminal act of domestic violence in NJ.

Is Coercion a Form of Domestic Violence?In intimate and family relationships, coercive control is considered a type of domestic abuse and pattern of behavior by which a perpetrator will use acts of intimidation, manipulation, threats, isolation, humiliation, and demands (among other things) to destroy a person’s sense of independence and self-worth. Although this use of power to gain control is often seen as an early predictor of future physical violence, even when it doesn’t escalate to violence, coercive control leaves emotional scars and psychological trauma, which negatively impacts the victim’s mental health and may cause PTSD or depression. A 2015 survey on Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey showed that American men and women will experience some form of coercive control by an intimate partner, at similar rates, during their lifetime.

Since 2015, criminal coercion has been considered one of the 19 criminal offenses listed under the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act (PDVA) of 1991. As an invisible chain that comes in many guises, it perpetuates an ongoing cycle of controlling abuse whereby the victim may feel dependent on their abuser and unable to escape the toxic relationship they’re in.

If you or you suspect someone you care about is being coerced or intimidated to do something in their relationship they don’t want to do, it is essential to act immediately in domestic abuse cases. Even if you are someone facing alleged criminal coercion charges in New Jersey as a result of a restraining order or other alleged crimes that put you on the wrong side of a domestic violence protective order, you need skilled criminal and domestic violence defense lawyers on your side to help protect your constitutional rights.

The Bronzino Law Firm, LLC understands that domestic violence is a serious crime that can significantly impact the victim and any children who witness or experience the abuse and have a long-lasting effect on those convicted of these crimes.

With offices conveniently located in Brick and Sea Girt, NJ, our legal team serves clients in Ocean and Monmouth Counties, as well as in cities like Allenwood, Bayville, Beachwood, Brielle, Howell, Manasquan, Pine Beach, Point Pleasant Beach, Seaside Heights, Spring Lake, and Toms River.

To better understand your rights and the restraining order process and take immediate action on your case, contact us online or call (732) 812-3102 today for a free and confidential case assessment.

How to Recognize the 7 Signs of Criminal Coercion in NJ Domestic Violence Cases

In accordance with N.J.S.A. 2C:13-5, a person can be found guilty of criminal coercion or coercive control, if they purposefully and unlawfully restrict another’s freedom of action or force them to engage in an action, by means of threats to:

  • inflict injury on their person or that of another person
  • accuse another person of an offense
  • expose a damaging secret that would subject a person, their business, or credit to contempt, hatred, ridicule, or scorn
  • take or withhold action as an official, or cause an official to take or withhold action
  • bring about or continue a strike, boycott, or other collective action, except that such a threat shall not be deemed coercive when the restriction compelled is demanded in the course of negotiation for the benefit of the group in whose interest the actor acts
  • testify or withhold information in a defense case or other legal matter
  • perform any other act which would not in itself substantially benefit the person making the threat, but which is calculated to substantially harm another person’s relationships, health, safety, business, career, financial standing, or reputation.

Typical Examples of Coercive Control & Emotional Abuse in Domestic Violence Cases

Emotional or psychological abuse is just as damaging to survivors, even though they are often harder to detect. Typical examples of coercive control are:

  • Coercive Control & Emotional Abuse Attorneys in Monmouth Countyisolation from one’s family or support system
  • monitoring one’s activities via electronic recoding devices, their social media usage, or phone calls
  • denying autonomy or restricting one’s freedom (i.e., taking their phone, limiting or denying access to transport, travel to school or work, or changing passwords)
  • gaslighting
  • constant criticism, name-calling, or verbal abuse designed to erode self-confidence
  • exerting control over finances and limiting access to money
  • parental alienation
  • controlling aspects of one’s personal health or hygiene, possibly even restricting their access to medical care
  • threatening children or pets
  • regulating their sexual relationship
  • blackmailing or threatening to expose intimate personal information or sexual details
  • manipulation in relation to clothing, lifestyle choices, or where a person might be at a given time

If you are concerned about coercive control in your relationship or someone you care about, don’t be afraid to seek help in the form of someone you trust or by calling the New Jersey Domestic Violence Hotline at 1 (800) 572-SAFE (7233) to access information, services, crisis intervention, as well as referral and advocacy options.

What Role Does Criminal Coercion Play in Obtaining a NJ Restraining Order?

As a form of domestic violence and threatening behavior, criminal coercion is a “predicate act” or grounds for filing a temporary or final restraining order. Because this type of behavior is often what prevents someone from filing for an order of protection, escaping a dangerous environment, or fearing for their safety or that of others, it is essential to find experienced legal counsel who can guide one through the process of protecting themselves and their vulnerable loved ones.

To obtain a temporary restraining order (TRO), the person requesting protection must prove three elements:

  • a predicate act of domestic violence occurred (one of the 19 PDVA criminal offenses),
  • a prior history of domestic violence, and
  • that the restraining order is essential in protecting their immediate safety and well-being.

A final restraining order (FRO) usually takes place a week or two after a TRO is granted to determine the truth or veracity of the initial complaint and if there is a continued need for protection. If granted, a FRO could impact and restrict where a person who is served lives, works, their child custody, and future job and educational opportunities, among others things.

If you are involved in a domestic dispute, defend your rights and contact our office today.

What Three Elements Are Necessary for a NJ Prosecutor to Prove Criminal Coercion

To prove a person is guilty of criminal coercion, a prosecutor must prove that the alleged person’s:

  • conduct fell under one of the 7 prohibited threat categories or signs for criminal coercion
  • the goal, intent, or purpose was to restrict the freedom of another or prevent them from acting or refraining from acting in a certain way
  • purpose or goal was unlawful.

What Are The Penalties for Criminal Coercion Offenses in New Jersey?

Each case is unique, but depending on the severity of the underlying charges, a domestic violence offense may be classified as a felony or a misdemeanor. Criminal Coercion is typically classified as a fourth-degree crime, and if found guilty of this charge, you may receive:

  • up to 18 months in prison and
  • a maximum fine of up to $10,000.

However, if the alleged person’s goal is criminal, the crime is considered third degree.  Persons convicted of a third-degree criminal coercion charge face:

  • 3-5 years of imprisonment and
  • up to $15,000 in fines.

Convictions for second-degree and first-degree criminal coercion can result in 5-10 years and up to 20 years, respectively.

Penalties may also be monetary, the convicted person may be required to attend anger management classes, and there is also the possibility of probation. In addition and in accordance with federal law, both misdemeanor and felony domestic violence convictions can prohibit an individual from purchasing firearms.

Why It’s Crucial to Have An Experienced NJ Lawyer for Your Criminal Coercion Case

Criminal Coercion & Domestic Violence Attorney in New JerseyRegardless if you are the Plaintiff or the Defendant, the thought of appearing and possibly testifying in court can seem overwhelming, but knowing you have a knowledgeable attorney by your side advocating for your well-being and safety and that of any children in your relationship, can bring you peace of mind in and of itself.

Skilled domestic violence attorneys are an invaluable resource to have, as they can present evidence, cross-examine witnesses, guide you through the protection order documentation filing process, protect your constitutional rights, and leverage years of their own experience to reduce much of the burden you may go through in cases likes these.

Contact a Brick, New Jersey Criminal Coercion & Domestic Violence Attorney Today

In domestic violence cases, it is critical to take action as soon as possible. Despite the current pandemic and unprecedented backlog of cases, domestic abuse cases are prioritized in New Jersey and expedited through the court.

If you live in towns such as Brielle, Rumson, Morganville, Manasquan, and Toms River, and want to discuss your unique family situation with an empathetic and experienced domestic violence attorney, contact The Bronzino Law Firm, LLC today online or by calling (732) 812-3102 to schedule a free and confidential case assessment.

Family Law Attorney Dealing with Narcissistic Abuse in Brick and Sea Girt NJ

Serving clients in Brick, Sea Girt, Toms River, Wall, Point Pleasant, and across Ocean and Monmouth Counties

Family Law Attorney Dealing with Narcissistic Abuse in Brick and Sea Girt NJAre you in a hurtful and confusing relationship, that forces you to highlight only the happy moments to avoid accepting the bad memories? If so, you might be involved with a narcissistic abuser and it’s vital that you learn more about their behavior when they try to convince you to stay with them.

Which Are The Top Strategies Used By Narcissistic Abusers?

The idealization/devaluation cycle is used by most narcissists. The idealization phase happens while they choose partners who mirror them well and nurture their ego. But once they come to the realization that the person they put way up high on the staircase is just a human being, that is when the devaluation phase starts off with criticism, controlling, and shaming.

Once you make it evident you want to leave, the narcissist will act nice again —but only as nice as it fits their part. Nevertheless, they will resort back to their abusive behavior almost as soon as you come back. If you manage to call out on love-bombing and gaslighting (tactics of manipulation), you will then be able to liberate yourself from any narcissist.

Love-Bombing Defined

Narcissists will blur their “prey” with theatrical displays of adoration. Elle Magazine recently published an interview with singer FKA Twigs, where she thoroughly described the abusive relationship she had with Shia LaBoeuf and how he would tell her he loved her not too long after the first time they met and literally jumped the fence of her London residence, to bring her flowers and love notes. These are the classic love-bombing strategies that debilitate victims by making them feel unique. The intermittent dopamine rewards typical of love-bombing relationships make them addictive, thus having the abused partner race back in search of another dose of dopamine (a brain chemical that creates feelings of pleasure and reward, which motivates you to repeat a specific behavior) once they feel devalued. FKA Twigs admitted being drawn back to LaBoeuf after the relationship ended.

LaBoeuf sent her 10 and 20 bunches of flowers every day for 10 days in a row. She would sit down to watch something or work, hear the doorbell ring, and find three more bunches of flowers. The note would always read “More love, more love”. Looking back, she admitted it was a bit excessive and felt awkward, more like seriously aggressive love.

The most effective method to shield yourself from love-bombing is to see situations for what they are: the complete opposite of love. It narrows down to a strategy to pull you in. You will most likely feel devalued if you decide to go back under the narcissist’s domain. Don’t trust fantastic promises and overwhelming displays of affection, instead pay attention to your significant other’s commitment to improving their unhealthy behavior.

How To Recognize Gaslighting?

The concept was borrowed from the classic film “Gaslight”, about a vicious husband who convinces his wife she’s losing her mind because he’s trying to steal her fortune. Narcissists gaslight their victims of choice by discrediting what they believe is real. Their goal is to convince you that you are the one responsible for their poor behavior. Model Sarah McNeilly shared on her Instagram account how she had suffered abuse from her ex-partner, singer Marilyn Manson.

He reportedly threw her against a wall and threatened to smash her face with the baseball bat he was holding, because she attempted to help him choose a pair of pants to wear for a music video. She witnessed him making up problems or hiding missing objects to validate his uncontrollable outbursts. McNeilly also explained that she was scared of leaving him because he had the habit of blackmailing and belittling people.

Losing the ability to think critically is a common trait of gaslighting victims, because of the brainwashing the narcissist works on them. Keeping a log of the narcissist’s behavior and revising it with a therapist or trusted support person is one tool against brainwashing. Narcissists are known to enjoy isolating their victims so they can exercise full control over them. What they focus on is preventing you from getting advice from people who do care about your well-being.

Ending Narcissistic Abuse

Ending Narcissistic AbuseTake ownership of your situation by connecting with your support system, learn about these violent behaviors, and plan a safe way out.

Trauma-bonding explained. Having an intense attachment to anyone who chooses to hurt you is far from love, that is trauma-bonding. People who were abused by those who were supposed to keep them safe, end up attracting partners who repeat the abuse as they grow older. The so-called love you feel is probably unreal, but actually, a nervous system response activated by the repetition of trauma happening during childhood.

Share your story. Allow yourself to talk to those who truly support you, instead of only focusing on the narcissist’s opinion. External points of view will help you counteract love-bombing and gaslighting and notice the narcissist’s behavior for the aggression and manipulation it hides.

Choose a safe way out. Narcissists usually escalate their abusive behavior when their prey (partner) tries to walk out of the relationship. Seek for violence support resources to help you design your safety plan to leave as soon as possible.

Contact our Domestic Violence Lawyers for a Free Consultation

If you or a loved one are subject to narcissistic abuse, seek counseling from an experienced Domestic Violence and Family Lawyer to help you weigh your best options to break free from the abuse cycle and outlining the best strategies to safeguard your future, free from any harmful consequences.

At Peter Bronzino,  we take pride in successfully representing clients in Brick, Sea Girt, Toms River, Wall, Point Pleasant, and across Ocean and Monmouth Counties.

Contact the Monmouth law offices of Peter Bronzino at 732-812-3102 today, to understand your available options. One of our New Jersey domestic violence attorneys will answer your questions and provide you with a cost-free initial consultation.