Sometimes what seems like a simple argument can escalate to the point where unthinkable things are said to the ones we love. Other times the argument may escalate to the point where even those we love may perceive a threat to their health or safety. In other circumstances unintentional contact may be made that is interpreted as a physical attack. Finally, and unfortunately, sometimes when one party knows that a divorce is imminent, they may try to “trap” the other party in domestic violence allegations thereby gaining the advantage in custody or alimony negotiations. Regardless of the circumstances from which your domestic violence charges arose from, the experienced team at Young, Marr & Associates can protect your reputation and defend you from potentially life-altering serious criminal penalties.
Police officers are instructed to construe the definition of domestic violence broadly when they investigate a complaint. Further, in New Jersey under some circumstances where the officer determines that an incident of domestic violence has occurred, they are compelled to make an arrest. Under both New Jersey and Pennsylvania law, for there to have been an incident of domestic violence, the violent act must have been against a household member. The definition of a household member is similar in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, with the general essence of the term meaning that it is someone you live with presently, someone you have lived with in the past, or someone that you have a child with, certain familial relationships, or a dating relationship with. Further both New Jersey and Pennsylvania, under their respective Prevention of Domestic Violence Acts, consider an act to be domestic violence if it is one of fourteen prohibited types of conduct not limited to:
Criminal charges can result from an allegation of domestic abuse. Further, in New Jersey, a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) or, in Pennsylvania, a Protection From Abuse Order (PFA) may be granted by the judge. This can prevent you from returning to your home or having any contact with affected individuals.
Without a doubt, both the TRO and PFA are useful tools that can protect the abused from their abuser. But what happens when the PFA or TRO itself becomes an instrument of abuse? Because courts err on the side of caution they are likely to grant a TRO or PFA if there appears to be any evidence that supports the claim of abuse or fear of abuse. Further, in Pennsylvania, the PFA can be entered even if there were no physical injuries but there appeared to be an attempt to place another under reasonable fear. If one party incorrectly interprets a chance encounter at the Supermarket or local park, serious consequences can result including:
We work to prevent abuse of the PFA process so that legitimate abuse victims do not one day find their options limited or foreclosed.
Whenever there is a familial dispute, the utmost care should be taken so that unnecessary additional harm is not inflicted on other family members or children that may be involved. However anytime you are facing serious criminal charges that jeopardizes your freedom, persistent and aggressive representation is needed. Our attorneys strike a balance between these needs when they pursue your goals.
If you are facing domestic violence allegations, an experienced Young, Marr and Associates attorney can represent your interests and protect your reputation. To see if we can help you, call (609) 257-4019 in New Jersey or (215) 372-8667 in Pennsylvania or contact us online today.