Better Training Hopes to Lead to Decrease in Domestic Violence
Monmouth County Prosecutor, Christopher Gramiccioni, has announced that their office is launching a new pilot program that will be geared towards better training first responders about the signs of domestic violence, especially those who are the victims of a choking incidents. His office estimates that in Monmouth County alone, they see up to 500 domestic violence cases annually, which they further believe could be much higher considering most victims are reluctant to actually report domestic violence incidents. What was even more startling to them is the lack of obvious sings of strangulation to first responders. According to the Training Institute on Strangulation Prevention, only 50% of the those who are victims of strangulation actually show some sort of a physical sign of injury, therefore a lot of individual’s are not get the proper treatment that they need. According to Gramiccioni, the main goal of the pilot program is to “teach first responders how to better detect these incidents”. He believes that without proper training, which includes a specific questioning format, “many victims might not think to report it in a certain fashion that will allow us to not only prosecute the offender better, but also steer them or direct them to the appropriate level of medical services.”.
Is Strangulation a Felony Offense in NJ?
Although strangulation is not specifically mentioned in the New Jersey criminal, most strangulation incidents result in the defendant being charged with aggravated assault in the second degree. Assault charges are in essence broken down in four different degrees, simple assault (disorderly persons offense), aggravated assault in the fourth degree, aggravated assault in the third degree and aggravated assault in the second degree. For the most part, the degree of the assault charge will be determined by the injury caused or attempted to be caused (Bodily Injury, Significant Bodily Injury, Serious Bodily Injury) and the status of the victim (i.e. police officer). When it comes to choking allegations they typically fall under the caused or attempted to cause serious bodily injury, which has been defined as “causing a substantial risk of death or which causes serious, permanent disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ”. A conviction for a second degree aggravated assault would subject a defendant to anywhere between five to ten years in a New Jersey State Prison, a fine up to $150,000 and a felony criminal record. To make matters worse, this offense falls under the No Early Release Act which requires a defendant to serve at least 85% of their sentence before they can become eligible for parole. For more information on aggravated assault charges in Monmouth County, please click the link.
To makes matters worse, if the incident is classified as an “act of domestic violence” the defendant must charged under what is known as a complaint-warrant, which requires the individual to be detained in the Monmouth County Jail for at least 24 hours to that pretrial services can conduct their review. Based on their review, the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office has the right to file for what is known as a detention hearing at the individual’s central judicial processing hearing. If that is to occur, it means that they are seeking to detain the individual behind bars, without bail, pending the resolution of their case. In order to do so, a formal hearing must take place and it will be up to the Judge to determine whether or not the individual will be released on bail.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, if the incident is classified as an act of domestic violence, the victim could seek to file for a temporary restraining order (TRO). A TRO is separate and apart from the criminal charges. If a TRO is filed, a final restraining order hearing must be conducted to determine whether or not the victim would be entitled to a final order of protection. This carries with it its own set of devastating consequences if imposed. For more information on restraining orders in Monmouth County, please click the link.
Need a Local Domestic Violence Defense Attorney in Monmouth County?
Now more than every, it is absolutely crucial for anyone charged with aggravated assault, especially if it is considered an act of domestic violence, that they speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. By initiating this program, the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office is making everyone well aware of how seriously they are taking these types of incidents. If you or a loved one has been arrested for aggravated assault, harassment, terroristic threats or served with a restraining order in Monmouth County, the Keith Oliver Criminal Law can help. We serve all of Monmouth County, including towns like Howell, Tinton Falls, Atlantic Highlands, Marlboro, Freehold, Belmar, Ocean Township, Asbury Park, Manalapan and Middletown. To schedule a free initial consultation today, please contact our Middletown Office directly at 732.858.6959.
For more information on this new program, please checkout nj.com’s article labeled, This domestic violence statistic scares N.J. prosecutors, so they’re doing something about it.