I often have clients contact me regarding domestic violence cases which includes defense against criminal charges as well as representation for a restraining order hearing. When a domestic violence incident occurs, several things can happen. First, the police, when called, can investigate and no charges are brought. Typically, in these cases, the victim does not want to press charges, there is no evidence of attack (injuries), and the police did not witness any assault, etc. Second, when the police investigate, a criminal complaint can be filed against one or both of the parties involved for any of the following:
- Simple Assault
- Aggravated Assault
- Terroristic Threats
The key difference between simple assault and aggravated assault is the extent of the injuries to the alleged victim and whether or not a weapon was involved. Simple assault is a disorderly persons offense and will be handled in the municipal court in the municipality in which the assault allegedly occurred. Aggravated assault, on the other hand, is an indictable (felony) charge which will be handled by the county prosecutor’s office in the Superior Court in the county in which the municipality is located. If criminal charges are filed, they must be handled in either the local municipal court or in the Superior Court, depending on the severity and the degree of the charges.
After a domestic violence incident occurs, the police will also ask the alleged victim if he or she wants to file a temporary restraining order (TRO). If the party declines, then the criminal charges will proceed and no restraining order will be issued. If the victim wishes to obtain a restraining order, a TRO will be issued and a final restraining order (FRO) hearing will be scheduled in the Superior Court, Family Division to be heard within ten (10) days. The temporary restraining order (TRO) will prevent the alleged aggressor from going near the alleged victim, their place of employment, home, and any other places or people that are named in the restraining order. If the person violates the restraining order, he or she will be arrested and charged with contempt of court.
There are very different standards of proof and issues with regard to criminal charges, temporary restraining orders (TRO) and final restraining order hearings (FRO). For additional information and assistance, please contact my office anytime for a free initial consultation at (973)971-0030.