I recently defended a client charged with domestic violence simple assault in Newark NJ. The alleged offense occurred in the defendant’s home during an argument between husband and wife. Neither the defendant nor his wife had contacted the police to come to the home, however a neighbor took it upon themselves to call 911. When the police arrived, my client’s wife told the police that she did not want to file a complaint. Nonetheless she made several statements implicating my client and did have some redness on her extremities. She complained of some pain. The facts present here are fairly common with NJ domestic violence simple assault charges and are sufficient for the police to charge.
No restraining order was filed in this particular case, and when I met with my client for the initial interview, his wife was present. I have lots of experience handling domestic violence issues and understand that it is important to protect my client first. However, on many occasions, it may be necessary to counsel both parties about the cycle of abuse that may or may not be churning, because frequently couples would like to work things out.
Often, I have my clients and their families seek counseling prior to the hearing date. This is effective both in obtaining good results for my client and for finding out if there is a more serious underlying problem that needs addressing.
Even if the alleged victim is unwilling to testify against their husband, wife, boyfriend, girlfriend, etc., the state may still seek to prove its case if the complaint was signed by law enforcement. However, taking the right steps in preparation of a pre-trial conference could mean that the prosecutor and the judge in the municipal court will be more willing to accept the recommendations of the victim. If counseling or therapy has been successfully documented, the court is more likely to entertain the state’s motion to dismiss.
Nonetheless, many domestic violence assault charges must go to trial. And if so, it is the job of an experience attorney to conduct a thorough examination of my client’s accuser to expose inconsistencies, lies and bad motivations. Unfortunately, domestic violence issues are prevalent in the NJ criminal courts. The emotionally charged atmosphere of a troubled relationship can lead to poor decision making on both ends. It is my job as an experienced domestic violence attorney to filter out the truth and protect all involved when necessary, but first and foremost, my client.