One of the most common forms of domestic abuse is spousal abuse. In New Jersey, spousal abuse takes place when a person is a victim of violence from their spouse. Spousal abuse is not only a crime, but it can also play a role in grounds for fault divorce, and may even affect divorce and custody proceedings depending on the circumstances. "Household members" are considered to be protected under New Jersey's domestic violence laws, these individuals can be children, spouses, or persons with whom the suspect is expecting a child or has become intimately involved with.
There are certain crimes that, when committed against a person's spouse, constitute spousal abuse under New Jersey's domestic violence laws. These crimes can include:
- Assault: Physical violence against a spouse constitutes the crime of assault, and will also be considered spousal abuse.
- Threats: Making threats with the intent to cause terror in the mind of a person's spouse can be a crime, and constitutes spousal abuse.
- False Imprisonment and Restraint: Preventing someone's exit from an area they do not wish to be, or the actual physical restraint of a person can be considered acts of domestic violence.
- Sexual Assault: Sex-based crimes such as rape or sexual assault constitute domestic abuse.
- Lewdness, Stalking, and Harassment: Repeated harassment or stalking of a spouse or partner can fall under abusive behavior. Subjecting a spouse or partner to repeated acts of lewdness can also be considered abusive.
- Criminal Mischief and Criminal Trespass: Criminal mischief often involves the destruction or defacement of a person's property, and is common with trespassing, as well. These actions may also be in violation of any standing restraining order.
The above crimes are brought with harsher sentencing when they affect a person's spouse or another household member. In addition to this, criminal charges can also have serious consequences for matters of Family Law, such as standing custody orders, or divorce proceedings.
When An Officer Must Make An Arrest
Under certain circumstances, an officer of the law must make an arrest when they believe that domestic violence is involved. When an officer receives a claim of domestic abuse, or they believe that domestic abuse has occurred, they are required to make an arrest if one of the following circumstances is apparent:
- The victim appears to have been injured
- A restraining order has been violated
- There is an arrest warrant for the suspect
- There is sufficient cause to believe a weapon was used in the incident
Every situation is different, and officers may misread what may be something entirely different. An arrest and subsequent domestic violence charges can seriously affect a person's life. If you or a loved one is facing domestic violence charges in New Jersey, contact attorney Joseph D. Lento today.