Our Jersey City criminal defense attorneys recently represented a former-military client who had been charged criminally with simple assault under 2C:12-1a and criminal mischief under 2C:17-3a after an alleged altercation with his then girlfriend. Each of these charges required appearance in municipal court. To make matters worse for our client, she also filed a temporary restraining order against him and was attempting to get a final restraining put in place. Although restraining orders are considered civil or “quasi” criminal by nature, they actually require an appearance before a County Superior Court Judge. There is no mistaking that these charges are always serious but they held even greater consequences for our client who was a gun owner and in the process of trying to become a police officer. If he lost any aspect of either case, he could kiss his future and his guns goodbye.
The allegations in this case were ugly, like many domestic violence cases, and these situations normally come down to a “he said she said” scenario where a judge may have to make credibility findings on who they believe is telling the truth. These allegations surrounded a night of drinking that escalated into a verbal argument and eventually turned physical. In particular, the plaintiff alleged that our client became aggressive and pushed her face, at which time she attempted to leave his residence but he grabbed her ripping her blouse. He then forced her into his bedroom and stated that he did not want her to leave. The plaintiff then testified that she remained there out of fear of being hurt again if she tried to leave. She was not able to escape until the defendant began vomiting and went to the bathroom.
In most domestic violence cases, passions and emotions run high and this situation was no different. The plaintiff was adamant that she wanted to pursue the restraining order even though they had been dating only days earlier. At the final restraining order trial the judge heard detailed accounts and testimony from both her and our client and considered evidence that was introduced. Based on the testimony that our attorney elicited through cross-examination of the plaintiff, the judge denied her final restraining order outright and dismissed the temporary restraining order previously put in place. Once the restraining order had been dismissed against our client, we appeared back in municipal court and took a hard position against the prosecutor based on the fact that our client had no prior record and the restraining order had been dismissed at the county. In the end, after some back and forth and plea negotiations, all the criminal charges were also dismissed against our client.
State vs. J.G. decided on September 5, 2017
M.B.R. vs. J.G. decided July 19, 2017