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When Domestic Violence is Upgraded to a Felony in New Jersey

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After being arrested for domestic abuse, you may feel confused and worried. While it can start with a misdemeanor, a domestic violence change can be upgraded to a felony, which leads to harsher punishments and longer jail sentences. Thus, as a defendant in a domestic violence case, you must understand your rights and prepare to clear your name. you need a domestic violence lawyer near me to help defend you from the charges. 

When Can You Be Charged with Domestic Violence in New Jersey?

Domestic violence refers to the crimes you allegedly commit against somebody you are in a relationship with. It applies to married, divorced, and separated couples. Also, domestic violence can occur among unmarried couples who dating, share a child, or are expecting a child. 

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Kinds of Domestic Abuse

Domestic abuse comes in many forms including the following:

  • Physical abuse. Allegations of physically harming a partner or spouse can be domestic violence. Kicking, punching, or stabbing a victim can lead to a domestic violence charge, which can become a felony based on the specific situation. 
  • Sexual abuse. Rape, sexual harassment, and sexual assault can lead to domestic abuse charges. Sexual abuse also includes forcing a spouse to stop using contraception. This can result in criminal charges if it occurs along with other incidents.
  • Financial abuse. If a spouse controls their partner’s access to financial resources, this can be a form of domestic abuse. Here, the abusive spouse wants to make it hard for their spouse to leave a tough situation. This itself can lead to criminal charges. But it can be an obvious factor in cases against a spouse who is also facing accusations of sexual or physical violence against their spouse. 
  • Emotional abuse. This is designed to degrade the self-worth of a spouse to prevent them from leaving a tough situation by themselves. While this does not always result in charges, evidence of this abuse can be utilized against the accused spouse.

Punishments for Felony-Level Domestic Violence

If New Jersey charges you with a felony due to sufficient evidence available, you must prepare to defend yourself. A criminal record can raise a domestic violence charge to a felony. This can also happen if you use a deadly weapon during the alleged incident. The degree of felony determines the punishments you may face for felony-level domestic violence. Punishments range from 18 months in prison (fourth-degree felony) to 20 years in prison (first-degree felony).

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