What can happen with a first-time domestic violence offense?

by | Oct 11, 2021 | Criminal Defense

A domestic violence charge is taken very seriously in New Jersey. However, if you’re a first-time offender, the penalties are much lighter than if you have a history of domestic violence. You will want to know what happens if you have been charged with the crime for the first time.

What is domestic violence?

Domestic violence is a type of abusive behavior pattern within a relationship that is used as a means of controlling or intimidating the victim. The relationship can be between romantic partners, spouses or former spouses, roommates or family members who live together. The following can constitute acts of domestic violence:

  • Assault
  • Harassment
  • Lewdness
  • Sexual assault
  • Stalking
  • Threats
  • Trespassing

There are more examples of acts that can equate to domestic violence, but these are only a few.

What are the penalties for a first domestic violence offense?

Usually, the first offense of domestic violence is charged as a misdemeanor, which is also known as a disorderly persons offense. However, the charges can be elevated to a felony depending on the nature of the crime. A first-time offense includes penalties like probation or up to six months in jail. You can also expect to be ordered to attend an anger management course.

Even if you are convicted of a misdemeanor domestic violence offense, you can also lose your right to own or bear firearms. You may be barred from buying them per the law if it was discovered that you used force or a weapon against the victim.

You can face other consequences even with a misdemeanor on your record. You may find it difficult to obtain a job as you will have to undergo a background check, and your record will show up. People in your life may view you differently with a history of domestic violence as well.

Domestic violence charges should never be taken lightly. You need to protect your rights every step of the way during your case.