Looking Out For Your Legal Rights - October 2014 - LSNJ

© 2014 Legal Services of New Jersey
Cuáles Son Sus Derechos Legales: La versión en español la encontrará al reverso
Looking Out
For Your Legal Rights
®
October 2014
Vol ume 33, Num ber 8
After filing for a restraining order, you may realize
that important details and
information are missing
from your TRO. Amending your TRO is a way to
make sure it is complete
and accurate. Page 1
Domestic violence is not
limited to physical abuse.
It also includes emotional
and sexual abuse. Page 6
What are the 14 crimes of
domestic violence? Page 8
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
Page 11.
Cuáles Son Sus
Derechos Legales
La versión en
español la encontrará
al reverso.
October is
Domestic Violence
Awareness Month
Published by Legal Services of New Jersey
TELLING THE WHOLE STORY:
Amending a Domestic Violence
Temporary Restraining Order
AFTER EXPERIENCING domestic violence, you may
choose to get legal protection from an abuser by filing
a temporary restraining order (TRO). A restraining
order is a civil order from the Family Part of the Superior Court. It prohibits the abuser from having any
contact with you, including over the telephone, in
person, or electronically. That means no phone calls,
text messages, or emails.
Amending your TRO is a way to make sure
it is complete and accurate.
After filing for a restraining order, you may realize
that important details and information are missing
from your TRO. Amending your TRO is a way to make
sure it is complete and accurate.
What does it mean to amend a TRO?
When you amend your TRO, it means that you add
or change important information in it. This could
mean adding information about past incidents, or
correcting dates or details that may have been listed
wrong. At your final restraining order hearing, the
court can only hear testimony on the incidents
Continued on page 2
New Jersey’s Community Legal Education Newsletter
© 2014 Legal Services of New Jersey
Amending a TRO
continued from page 1
included on your TRO, so it is very important that your TRO is complete and
accurate.
When should I amend my TRO?
As soon as you know that there is a
mistake or that something is
miss ing fr om you r
TRO, you should consider amendment. Try
to amend as quickly as
possible, to make sure
that the de fen dant has
enough time to prepare their
defense. While amendment is possible
on your trial date, it is not the best option because it may result in your hearing being postponed.
Why should I amend my TRO?
It can be helpful to amend a TRO
when there is an incomplete or inaccurate description of the most recent incident of violence, all relevant crimes are
not claimed, or because some prior inci-
dents of violence were omitted. At trial,
the court will give the current domestic
violence incident the most consideration, so it is important that the incident
is described accurately. Be sure that your
TRO includes a brief, but detailed, account of the most recent incident of violence, including any physical violence,
injuries, threats, stalking,
or harassing.
On your TRO, you will
see a checklist of the 14
crimes of domestic violence. Carefully review this
list to be sure that it is accurate. It should be noted
that one incident can include numerous
crimes of domestic violence. For example, a defendant who throws a victim’s
cell phone at her, injuring the victim
and destroying the phone, has committed the acts of assault, harassment, and
criminal mischief, all of which should be
checked on the TRO. For more information, see the article on page 8 for a description of the 14 crimes of domestic
violence.
Looking Out For Your Legal Rights®
About Looking Out
Looking Out For Your Legal Rights is published 10 times a
year by Legal Services of New Jersey. If you are a Legal
Services client, you can pick up a copy at your local Legal Services office. You may also read Looking Out on
our website at www.lsnjlaw.org.
Subscriptions
Subscriptions are $20 a year. For more information,
please email publications@lsnj.org.
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Comments
If you have any suggestions or comments about Looking
Out, we would like to hear from you. Please send all correspondence to:
Editor, Looking Out
Legal Services of New Jersey
P.O. Box 1357
Edison, NJ 08818-1357
publications@lsnj.org
This newsletter is for general information only. If you
have a legal problem, you should see a lawyer.
A portion of the cost of this publication was supported
by funds provided by the IOLTA Fund of the Bar of
New Jersey.
© 2014 Legal Services of New Jersey
Looking Out For Your Legal Rights is a federally registered trademark of Legal Services of New Jersey.
2
Looking Out For Your Legal Rights / October 2014
© 2014 Legal Services of New Jersey
There is a section on your TRO entitled, “Any prior history of violence reported or unreported?” If you have a
prior history of abuse, be sure that the
box labeled “Yes” is checked off. Review
your past history of violence. Be sure
that your TRO lists all relevant prior incidents of domestic violence that occurred during your relationship with
the abuser. This includes prior incidents
that you reported to the police or courts
and incidents where the authorities
were not involved. Past events when the
defendant subjected you to physical violence, verbal abuse, threats to kill or
harm you, or unwanted following or surveillance can be included on your TRO.
Abuse of family pets committed to upset
you can be considered domestic violence. Some forms of domestic violence
are continuous and occur throughout
the course of a relationship. Examples
of continuous forms of violence can include the defendant preventing you
from communicating with your family
and friends or regularly subjecting you
to put-downs and profanities. One way
to signal that violence has been continuous is by using phrases like “throughout
my re la tion ship…” or “during the
c o u r s e o f m y ma r r i a g e … ” w h e n
describing the abuse.
If any of the above is not accurate on
your TRO, you should amend it.
How do I amend my TRO?
You can request to amend your TRO
in person on any business day before
your hearing date at the Domestic Violence Unit of your county courthouse
from 8:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. TROs cannot be amended at police stations or municipal courts.
Looking Out For Your Legal Rights / October 2014
Should You Amend?
Double Check Your TRO!
Your current incident:
Was there:
¨ Physical violence?
¨ Threats?
¨ Verbal Abuse?
¨ Unwanted following or surveillance?
Your prior history:
Did you:
¨ Include incidents reported to
the police or courts?
¨ Include incidents that were not
reported?
¨ Include verbal abuse?
¨ Include other forms of domestic violence:
¡ Preventing you from talking
to family and friends?
¡ Animal abuse?
¡ Threats to commit suicide if
you left?
Other:
¨ Are all relevant crimes of domestic violence checked off?
¨ Are all dates and times correct?
Be fore go ing to the courthouse,
make a list of the changes you want
made to your TRO. Make sure that you
have the correct dates and times for any
new incidents. Documents such as medical re cords, po lice re ports, let ters,
time-stamped emails, and text messages
may help you pinpoint dates of prior incidents. If you cannot remember exact
dates, you can generalize. For example,
if you remember that the defendant
threatened you in 2009 when it was
3
© 2014 Legal Services of New Jersey
snowing, your TRO could state that the
incident occurred in “Winter 2009.”
You may be asked to write out the
changes you would like to include in
your TRO yourself or, in some cases, a
court clerk may interview you and help
you with the drafting process. Ask to review a copy of the completed amended
TRO and double check that all dates,
times, and facts are accurate. Be sure
that all prior incidents of violence are included. If you notice a mistake, ask the
court staff to revise your TRO.
When you are satisfied that your TRO
is complete, you will be asked to sign the
document. It is important that you have
confidence in the accuracy of your restraining order. By signing the document, you are certifying to the court that
the entire TRO is true and correct.
You may be asked to appear before a
hearing officer or judge. If this occurs,
the court may request that you provide
brief testimony about the changes made
or new incidents of violence added to
your TRO. If you are not fluent in English
or communicate using sign language,
you have a right to a court interpreter.
Legal proceedings can be complicated
and it is essential that you understand everything that is said. If you require an interpreter, be sure to request language
access services prior to appearing before
a hearing officer or judge.
After you have amended your TRO,
you will receive an updated copy with
your signature. A second copy will be
placed in your court file. A sheriff’s officer will also serve the defendant with a
copy of your amended TRO. Be sure to
keep a copy of the amended TRO in a
safe place and on your person at all
times. Consider keeping a folder with
copies of your original and amended
TRO, evidence, and other important
documents as you prepare for trial.
Where can I get more information or legal help?
MANY victims of domestic violence need additional support, safe housing, or legal help. Help is available for victims of domestic violence. You can contact the
following organizations for additional assistance.
The New Jersey Domestic Violence Hotline provides 24-hour confidential service, 7 days a week, and can be reached at: 1-800-572-SAFE (7233) or
www.njcbw.org.
For more information about New Jersey law, please visit: www.lsnjlaw.org. Additional information about domestic violence rights, including access to Legal
Services of New Jersey’s comprehensive guide to domestic violence law, is available at bit.ly/1xfJj5I.
For videos explaining how to file a temporary restraining order, please visit
bit.ly/Y2MMFk.
For videos explaining how to represent yourself at a final restraining order
hearing, please visit bit.ly/Y6S82W.
If you have questions or need legal help, call LSNJLAWSM, Legal Services of
New Jer sey’s state wide, toll-free le gal hot line, at 1-888-LSNJ-LAW
(1-888-576-5529), Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
4
Looking Out For Your Legal Rights / October 2014
© 2014 Legal Services of New Jersey
Can I amend my TRO more than once?
There is no limit to the number of
times that a plaintiff can amend before
trial. Some times, it is nec es sary to
amend a TRO more than once. Your
case will appear more credible, though,
if your first amendment is as detailed
and exact as possible.
Will my hearing date change because
I amended my TRO?
In the interest of fairness, the court
may postpone your hearing to ensure
that the defendant has time to prepare a
de fense to the new claims in your
amended TRO. Postponement is especially likely if the defendant is served with
an amended TRO on or near the trial
date. If you amend well ahead of your
trial date, postponement is less likely.
It’s my trial day, and I just realized
that my TRO needs to be amended.
Now what?
If your trial has not yet begun, tell the
sheriff’s officer or court clerk assigned
to your judge that you wish to amend.
You may be instructed to go to the Domestic Violence Unit, meet with a court
clerk, and appear before a hearing officer or judge, as described above. Your
trial date may be postponed to give the
defendant time to prepare a defense.
If your trial has already started, you
can request that your TRO be amended
through your testimony. Sometimes, circumstances may require you to add additional information or fix mistakes in
your TRO while you are telling the court
about what hap pened. Al though
amending through testimony is an option, you should always try to amend
ahead of time. Testimonial amendment
can delay the final outcome of your
hearing. If possible, you should review
your TRO for accuracy before beginning your trial to make sure that you
present the strongest case possible.
What if I do not amend my TRO?
Sometimes you may not want your
hearing date to be postponed further
because of work obligations or personal
reasons. If you prefer to keep your original hearing date, consider whether the
information on your TRO is specific
enough for the court to issue a final restraining order. If so, then going forward without amending is an option.
However, if there are major things
missed or described incorrectly, amendr
ment can strengthen your case.
By Victoria Nicholson, Staff Attorney, Legal Services of New Jersey
Where else can I turn for help if I can’t find
a lawyer and still have questions?
SM
Call LSNJLAW , Legal Services of New Jersey’s statewide, toll-free legal
hotline, at 1-888-LSNJ-LAW (1-888-576-5529) or apply online at
www.lsnjlawhotline.org. Hotline hours are Monday through Friday, 8
a.m. to 5:30 p.m. If you are not eligible for assistance from Legal Services, the hotline will refer you to other possible resources.
Looking Out For Your Legal Rights / October 2014
5
© 2014 Legal Services of New Jersey
Examples of Acts of Domestic Violence
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE is not limited to
physical abuse. It also includes emotional and sexual abuse. Some examples
of common forms of domestic violence
are listed below, but this is by no means a
complete list. Use this information to
help document the abuse for legal purposes, such as for restraining orders or
divorce, or to remind you of the realities
of your relationship with the abuser in
order to help you assess your safety.
Physical Abuse
Has the abuser ever:
¨ Spit at you?
¨ Thrown things at you?
¨ Pulled your hair?
¨ Bitten or scratched you?
¨ Burned you?
¨ Cut you?
¨ Pushed, shoved, or grabbed you?
¨ Kicked or thrown you down?
¨ Slapped you with an open hand?
¨ Punched you with a closed fist?
¨ Tried to choke/strangle you?
¨ Assaulted you with a weapon?
¨ Beaten you while you were pregnant?
¨ Been violent toward your children?
¨ Physically abused family pets?
Have you ever sought medical treatment for injuries caused by your abuser
during any of these incidents?
Has the phys i cal vi o lence got ten
worse or more frequent in the past year?
Sexual Abuse
Has the abuser ever:
6
¨ Forced you to have sex when you
did not want to?
¨ Forced you to perform unwanted
sexual acts, or to have sex with
other people, or to use objects?
¨ Forced you to have sex after abusing you physically or emotionally?
Has the abuse gotten worse or become more frequent in the past year?
Threats
Has the abuser ever:
¨ Threatened to hurt you?
¨ Threatened to kill you?
¨ Threatened to hurt or kill a member of your family?
¨ Threatened to hurt or kill a family
pet?
¨ Driven recklessly when you were
in the car, knowing that it scared
you?
¨ Threatened to flee with the children?
¨ Threatened to commit suicide, or
made a suicide attempt?
Has the abuser ever been treated for
a mental health condition?
Have the threats gotten worse or
more frequent in the past year?
Other Abusive Behavior
Has the abuser ever:
¨ Threatened you to prevent you
from leaving?
¨ Physically kept you from leaving
by doing such things as blocking
a doorway, taking your car keys,
disabling your car?
¨ Locked you in a room?
Looking Out For Your Legal Rights / October 2014
© 2014 Legal Services of New Jersey
Use this information to help document the abuse for legal purposes, such as
for restraining orders or divorce, or to remind you of the realities of your
relationship with the abuser in order to help you assess your safety.
¨ Forced you to go anywhere
against your will?
¨ Purposely or repeatedly followed
or stalked you by doing things
such as staking out your home or
place of employment?
¨ Come to your home uninvited, or
after being told not to?
¨ Broken into your home with the
intention of assaulting you or
stealing from you?
¨ Purposely or recklessly damaged
your property or possessions by
doing such things as punching
holes in the walls, ripping up
personal journals, tearing your
clothing?
¨ Harassed you by purposely and repeatedly annoying or alarming you
by making hang-up calls, calling
your home or place of employment, or deliberately preventing
you from sleeping?
¨ Stopped you from calling for help
by taking or disabling a phone?
Emotional Abuse
Has the abuser ever:
¨ Called you humiliating or demeaning names?
¨ Treated you like a household
servant?
¨ Withheld money, the checkbook,
credit cards?
¨ Tried to control your daily activities, such as where you go, what
Looking Out For Your Legal Rights / October 2014
you do, who your friends are?
¨ Isolated you from family and
friends?
Is the abuser especially possessive or
jealous? (For example, saying things such
as, “If I can’t have you, no one can.”)
Has the abuse gotten worse or become more frequent in the past year?
¨
¨
¨
¨
¨
¨
Substance Abuse
How often does the abuser drink
alcohol? Daily? Weekly? Once a
month or less?
Does the abuser’s alcohol use affect your daily life?
Does the abuser ever abuse prescription drugs?
Does the abuser use illegal drugs?
Did any of the abusive incidents
occur when your abuser was
drunk or high?
Has the substance abuse worsened in the past year?
If you answered yes to any of these
questions, you may need to get legal advice on how to deal with the situation.
Contact LSNJLAWSM, Legal Services of
New Jersey’s statewide, toll-free legal
hot line at 1-888-LSNJ-LAW (1-888576-5529). You may also apply online at
www.lsnjlawhotline.org. If you are not eligible for assistance from Legal Services,
the hotline will refer you to other possir
ble resources.
7
© 2014 Legal Services of New Jersey
The 14 Crimes of Domestic Violence
LIFE CHANGES dramatically for some-
one who is the victim of domestic violence. A domestic violence victim may
feel isolated, alone, and scared.
Help through the courts
Victims of domestic violence may get
help through the courts. A victim who
has been in a violent relationship and
feels unsafe may be able to take steps to
keep the abuser away by filing a restraining order. A judge may grant a restraining order if the victim proves that he or
she has been subjected to one of 14
crimes set forth in the New Jersey Preven tion of Do mes tic Vi o lence Act
(N.J.S.A 2C:33 et al.) and is in need of
the protections of that order.
The explanations below are only interpretations of New Jersey’s criminal
statutes. To better under stand each
crime, you may look up the New Jersey
A person who repeatedly does things that are
meant to scare or seriously annoy you may be
guilty of harassment.
8
statutes listed in parentheses by the
name of each crime. If you think you
have been a vic tim of any of these
crimes, you should contact an attorney
or your local domestic violence agency.
1. Harassment (N.J.S.A. 2C:33-4)
In order to commit the crime of harassment, a person must intend to harass
another person. An example of harassment is where someone communicates
with you at inconvenient hours or uses
rude and profane language. A person
may harass you by using email, regular
mail, phone calls, texting, face-to-face
communications, or any other way that
sends a message from the abuser to you.
The communication must annoy or
alarm you.
A person may also be guilty of harassment if that person contacts you in an offensive way. Offensive contact includes
acts that are annoying, insulting, or embarrassing to you, such as hitting, kicking, pushing, and touching. This type of
act may be considered to be harassment
whether or not you have been injured.
Threatening to do any of these acts may
also be considered harassment.
If some one does things that are
meant to scare or seriously annoy you,
and these actions are repeated, that person may also be guilty of harassment.
2. Assault (N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1)
The most common example of an assault is when an abuser hits a victim. An
abuser may harm a victim or try to harm
a victim. The harm may be done with or
without a deadly weapon. If an abuser
threatens to harm you, this may also be
Looking Out For Your Legal Rights / October 2014
© 2014 Legal Services of New Jersey
considered an assault. For example, an
abuser may knowingly have threatened
you with a gun, whether or not it was
loaded, and may not have cared that you
could have been hurt. In any of these
cases, an abuser may be guilty of assault.
In cases where you have actually been
harmed, you must feel a sensation of pain
for it to be an assault. It does not have to
be very painful—it can be as simple as the
sting felt when someone slaps you.
3. Terroristic threats (N.J.S.A. 2C:12-3)
An abuser who threatens to commit
any violent crime with the purpose of
ter ror iz ing you may be guilty of
terroristic threats. An abuser may also be
guilty of terroristic threats if the abuser
threatens to kill you or someone else
and you believe that the abuser can and
will do it. A conditional threat (“If you
do X, then I will kill you.”) may not meet
the standard for a terroristic threat.
4. Criminal mischief (N.J.S.A. 2C:17-3)
An abuser who breaks any of your belongings on purpose may be guilty of
criminal mischief. The property that the
abuser breaks must belong only to you.
It cannot be property that you and the
abuser own together. If an abuser tampers with your property in a way that puts
you or your belongings in danger, the
abuser may be guilty of criminal mischief. Common examples of criminal
mischief include someone keying your
car, punching a hole in the wall of your
home, or breaking your cell phone.
5. Criminal restraint (N.J.S.A. 2C:13-2)
An abuser who keeps you in a place
that puts you at risk of serious bodily injury or keeps you somewhere and will
Looking Out For Your Legal Rights / October 2014
not allow you to leave may be guilty of
criminal restraint. For example, if you
are locked in a room and the abuser begins attacking you, that is criminal restraint. Serious bodily injury means any
injury that could be deadly or cause
long-term disability. Criminal restraint
may also exist if you are subjected to a
life of servitude against your will.
6. False imprisonment
(N.J.S.A. 2C:13-3)
If an abuser is keeping you somewhere you do not want to be and will not
let you go, the abuser may be guilty of
false imprisonment. False imprisonment
is different from criminal restraint in that
false imprisonment does not require risk
of serious bodily injury. For example, if a
woman is restrained from leaving a particular area because of an abuser’s actions but is not injured in any way, the
abuser may be found guilty of false imprisonment, not criminal restraint.
7. Burglary (N.J.S.A. 2C:18-2)
Burglary may be committed in two
ways. If someone breaks into a house or
other secured building and has the intent to commit a crime inside, that person’s actions may be considered to be
burglary. If a person secretly hides out in
a house or other secured building without permission to be there with the intent to commit a crime inside that house
or building, that person may have committed an act of burglary.
8. Criminal sexual contact
(N.J.S.A. 2C:14-1, 2C:14-3)
A person who uses force or coercion
(such as bullying or threatening violence) to have sex ual con tact with
9
© 2014 Legal Services of New Jersey
ally or if the abuser ordered the victim to
commit the penetration.
Peeking in through windows to watch another person in a home when the person being watched did
not reasonably expect to be watched may be criminal trespass.
another person may be guilty of criminal sexual contact. Without freely given
consent to the sexual activity, the contact may be considered to be by force or
coercion. Criminal sexual contact may
also include situations where the abuser
physically overpowers the victim. Sexual
contact is defined as intentionally touching the victim’s thigh, groin, buttocks,
or breast without the victim’s consent.
The abuser must be doing this for personal sexual pleasure or to humiliate or
degrade the victim.
9. Sexual assault
(N.J.S.A. 2C:14-1, 2C:14-2)
Sexual assault is any instance where
an abuser uses force or coercion to sexually penetrate another person. Force or
coercion may mean a time where the victim does not provide freely given consent to the sexual activity but may also
include the abuser physically overpowering the victim. Sexual penetration
means vaginal sex, anal sex, oral sex, or
putting fingers or objects into the vagina
or anus. It does not matter if the penetration was done by the abuser person10
10. Kidnapping (N.J.S.A. 2C:13-1)
Kidnapping is when an abuser takes a
victim from where he or she is presently
located to another location. To commit a
kidnapping, it must be done by force,
threat, or deception. Kidnapping may be
defined as the act of an abuser confining
a victim as a hostage or for ransom. Kidnapping may also be defined as when an
abuser keeps a victim somewhere for a
long time to hurt or scare the victim.
11. Stalking
(N.J.S.A. 2C:12-10, 2C:12-10.1)
A person is a stalker if that person,
more than once, stares at another person for a long time, follows someone or
sends other people to follow someone,
interferes with the belongings of another person, harasses another person,
or sends threats in any way to another
person. The stalker must have done any
of these actions on purpose or must have
known that it was likely to make the victim feel scared or uncomfortable. A
stalker may also stalk another person in
order to scare you.
If an abuser is convicted of stalking in
criminal court, the victim may receive a
separate criminal restraining order. Parents may file a complaint for a restraining order based on stalking on behalf of
their children.
12. Lewdness (N.J.S.A. 2C:14-4)
Lewdness is when a person does something “flagrantly lewd and offensive” in
front of another person who would not
want to see the offensive act. A common
example of this is a person who exposes
Looking Out For Your Legal Rights / October 2014
© 2014 Legal Services of New Jersey
his or her private parts for their own gratification to a non-consenting person.
13. Criminal trespass
(N.J.S.A. 2C:18-3)
If someone enters or hides out in a
house or other building and does not
have permission to be there, that person
may be guilty of criminal trespass. The
person must also know that he or she
needed permission or did not have permission to be there.
Some places will not allow people to
enter. There might be a guard keeping
people out of a building or part of a
building, a sign telling people not to enter, or a fence or locked door blocking
people from entering. If a person ignores restrictions such as signs, locked
doors, fences, or a security guard and
enters anyway, that person may be guilty
of criminal trespass.
There are times when people do not
expect to have anyone watching them,
such as when they are sleeping or in the
bathroom. If someone is peeking in
through windows to watch another person in a home and the person being
watched did not reasonably expect to be
watched, the person peeking may also
be guilty of criminal trespass.
14. Homicide
(N.J.S.A. 2C:11-1 to 2C:11-4)
Homicide is the crime of one person
causing the death of another person.
Homicide will not be part of a final rer
straining order hearing.
By Troy Torres, Law Clerk, Legal Services of New Jersey's Domestic Violence Representation Project,
under the supervision of Monica C. Gural, DVRP Supervising Attorney
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month
OCTOBER IS Domestic Violence Awareness Month. If you know someone who is a victim of domestic violence, or if you need help for yourself, call the statewide domestic violence hotline at
the New Jersey Coalition for Battered Women, 1-800-572-SAFE (1-800-572-7233), for advice or a
referral to a local program. Many victims of domestic violence feel isolated and alone, but there is
expert help available. A phone call to the hotline can help victims become aware of options and
services within their local communities.
Legal Services of New Jersey’s Domestic Violence Representation Project (DVRP) provides legal
representation, referral, and advice to low-income New Jerseyans who
suffer abuse from a spouse or former spouse, present or former houseDOMESTIC VIOLENCE
hold member, or someone with whom they have been in a dating relationship or share a child, and cannot afford to pay for the services of a
private lawyer. To find out if you are eligible for help, call LSNJLAWSM,
Legal Services of New Jersey’s statewide, toll-free legal hotline, at
1-888-LSNJ-LAW (1-888-576-5529) or 732-572-9100 if you are calling
from outside of New Jersey. Hotline hours are Monday through Friday, 8
a.m. to 5:30 p.m. You may also apply online at www.lsnjlawhotline.org.
Legal Services of New Jersey publishes a handbook, Domestic Violence:
A Guide to the Legal Rights of Domestic Violence Victims in New Jersey, which is
available on our website, www.lsnjlaw.org. LSNJ also has a series of
self-help videos about restraining orders available on YouTube. You
may find them by going to www.youtube.com and searching for LSNJ
and restraining order.
Looking Out For Your Legal Rights / October 2014
A Guide to the
Legal Rights of
Domestic Violence Victims
In New Jersey
Written and Published by
Legal Services of New Jersey
11
© 2014 Legal Services of New Jersey
Looking Out For Your Legal Rights: flip over for English edition
Cuáles Son Sus
Derechos Legales
Octubre 2014
La vida de una persona
que es víctima de violencia
doméstica cambia
inmensamente. Es posible
que la victima se sienta
aislada, sola y asustada.
Página 1
Octubre es el mes para
enterarnos de lo que es la
violencia doméstica, en
inglés Domestic Violence
Awareness Month.
Octubre es el
mes para aprender
sobre la
violencia doméstica
Publicado por los Servicios Legales de Nueva Jersey
14 delitos catalogados como
violencia doméstica
LA VIDA DE UNA persona que es víctima de violencia
doméstica cambia inmensamente. Es posible que la
victima se sienta aislada, sola y asustada.
Los tribunales pueden ayudar a estas víctimas. Una
persona que haya estado involucrada en una relación
abusiva y que se sienta estar en peligro, podría tomar
medidas para alejar al agresor por medio de una orden
de restricción. Si la victima prueba que sufrió alguno de
los 14 delitos catalogados en la Ley de Prevención Contra la Violencia Doméstica en Nueva Jersey (N.J.S.A.
2C:33 et al.) y que necesita las protecciones de dicha
orden, el juez le podría conceder una orden de
restricción.
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El boletín de educación jurídica para los habitantes de Nueva Jersey
© 2014 Legal Services of New Jersey
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Las explicaciones que aparecen a
continuación
solamente
son
interpretaciones de los estatutos penales en
Nueva Jersey. Para entender mejor cada
uno de los delitos, busque el estatuto que
aparece mencionado, en paréntesis, bajo el
nombre del delito. Si cree que sufrió alguno
de estos, llame a un abogado o a la agencia
local para víctimas de violencia doméstica.
1. El hostigamiento
(N.J.S.A. 2C:33-4)
Para que se cometa el
delito de hostigamiento,
un individuo tiene que
tener la intención de
hostigar a otra persona.
Un ejemplo seria, cuando
alguien, repetidamente,
se pone en contacto con
usted
a
horas
inoportunas, o utiliza un
vocabulario obsceno.
Una per sona puede
hostigarle por medio del
correo electrónico o
postal, llamadas o
mensajes de texto ,
contacto en per sona o cualquier otro
medio de comunicación en el que el
agresor pueda enviarle un mensaje que le
moleste o alarme.
También se puede considerar como
hostigamiento si dicho individuo se pone
en contacto con usted de una forma
ofensiva, por ejemplo, para molestar,
insultar o avergonzar, dándole golpes,
patadas, empujones o tocándole. Se podría
considerar que hubo hostigamiento
aunque usted no resulte
lesionado, o si le
amenaza con llevar a
cabo dichos actos.
Si el propósito del
agresor es de molestarle
o asustarle con gravedad
y lo hace repetidamente,
el agresor también podrá
ser
cul pa ble
de
hostigamiento.
Una persona, que en repetidas ocasiones
hace cosas destinadas a asustarle o
molestarle con severidad, podría ser culpable de hostigamiento.
2. La agresión
(N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1)
El ejemplo más
común de una agresión
es cuando el victimario
golpea a la víctima. Éste
Cuáles Son Sus Derechos Legales
Con respecto a Looking Out
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Si tiene alguna sugerencia o comentario con respecto a Looking Out, nos gustaría oírlo. Envíe toda correspondencia a:
Editor, Looking Out
Legal Services of New Jersey
P.O Box 1357
Edison, NJ 08818-1357
publicaciones@lsnj.org
Números atrasados
Puede ver números atrasados en www.lsnj.org/espanol.
Este boletín de noticias es sólo una información general. Si tiene un problema jurídico, usted debería ver a
un abogado.
Cambio de dirección
Si se muda, envíenos su nueva dirección y una copia de la
etiqueta pegada al último ejemplar de Looking Out.
Una parte del costo de esta publicación se cubrió con
la ayuda proporcionada por el fondo IOLTA del
colegio de abogados de Nueva Jersey.
© 2014 Legal Services of New Jersey
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Cuáles Son Sus Derechos Legales / Octubre 2014
© 2014 Legal Services of New Jersey
puede lastimar a la víctima o tratar de
hacerlo, lo que puede suceder aunque no
sea con un arma mortífera. También se
puede definir como agresión si el agresor le
amenaza con hacerle daño. Por ejemplo,
cuando el agresor a sabiendas y sin
importarle que podría hacerle daño, le
amenaza con un arma de fuego, esté
cargada o no. En cualquiera de estos casos
el victimario podría ser cul pa ble de
agresión.
En el caso que resulte lesionado, usted
tiene que sentir dolor para que sea un acto
de agresión. No tiene que ser muy doloroso—puede ser un simple ardor como
aquel que se siente cuando alguien le da
una bofetada.
3. Las amenazas terroristas
(N.J.S.A. 2C:12-3)
Todo agresor que amenace con cometer
cualquier delito violento con el fin de
atemorizar a otra persona podría ser culpable de hacer amenazas terroristas. De igual
manera seria culpable de hacer amenazas
terroristas si el individuo amenaza con
matarle a usted o a otra persona y usted cree
que lo puede hacer y que lo hará. Una
amenaza con una condición, (“si haces esto,
te voy a matar”), quizás no cumpla con dicho
criterio.
4. Vandalismo (N.J.S.A. 2C:17-3)
El agresor puede ser culpable del delito
de vandalismo a la propiedad ajena cuando
éste daña, intencionadamente, sus
pertenencias. Estas pertenencias tienen que
ser suyas y no puede ser algo que le
pertenezca tanto a usted como al agresor.
También es culpable de dicho delito, si el
agresor fuese a manipular las pertenencias
de una manera, que las destruya o le ponga a
usted en peligro. Ejemplos de estas acciones
delictivas son rayarle el carro con una llave,
hacer un agujero en una pared de su casa de
un puño o destruir su teléfono celular.
Cuáles Son Sus Derechos Legales / Octubre 2014
El asomarse por la ventana de una vivienda para
ver a otra persona mientras esta no espera que le
observen, podría considerarse como una
violación de domicilio.
5. La retención ilícita (N.J.S.A. 2C:13-2)
Se puede culpar al agresor de cometer
una retención ilícita cuando éste encierra a
la víctima, poniéndola en peligro de
lesionarse o no le deja salir. Un ejemplo de
este delito es cuando una persona está
encerrada en un cuarto y el victimario
empieza a agredirle. Las lesiones físicas
graves son aquellas que podrían causar la
muerte o una discapacidad de larga
duración. También podría considerarse
como una restricción ilícita si se somete a
una per sona a llevar una vida de
servidumbre contra su voluntad.
6. La privación ilegítima de la libertad
(N.J.S.A. 2C:13-3)
Un individuo es culpable de cometer el
delito de privación ilegítima de la libertad si
éste le encierra en un lugar en el que usted
no desea estar y no le permite salir del
mismo. A diferencia de la retención ilícita,
no es un requisito que haya corrido el
riesgo de sufrir lesiones físicas graves. Por
ejemplo, si la acción del agresor no permite
que la persona pueda ir a otro lugar, sin embargo la víctima no resulta lesionada, es
posible que se declare al agresor culpable
del delito de privación ilegal de la libertad y
no del delito de retención ilícita.
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© 2014 Legal Services of New Jersey
7. El allanamiento con fines delictivos
(N.J.S.A. 2C:18-2)
Este delito se puede cometer de dos
maneras. Si se fuerza la entrada a una casa u
otro edificio, y se tiene la intención de
cometer un delito una vez que esté adentro,
esta acción se puede determinar como
allanamiento con fines delictivos. Si la persona, sin permiso, se esconde en una casa u
otro edificio y tiene la intención de cometer
un delito, es posible que sea culpable de un
allanamiento con fines delictivos.
8. El contacto sexual ilícito
(N.J.S.A. 2C:14-1, 2C:14-3)
Una persona puede ser culpable de este
delito si, para tener contacto sexual con
otra persona, lo hace por medio de fuerza o
coacción (tal como el acoso o amenazas de
violencia). De no haberse dado libremente
el consentimiento para el acto sexual, dicho
contacto se considerará ser forzado o
coaccionado. También se puede incluir las
situaciones en las que el agresor fuerza
físicamente a la víctima. El contacto sexual
se define cuando el agresor toca el muslo,
ingle, nalga o pecho de la víctima sin su
permiso. Su propósito tiene que ser para
darse placer sexual a si mismo o humillar y
degradar a la víctima.
9. La agresión sexual
(N.J.S.A. 2C:14-1, 2C:14-2)
La agresión sex ual se comete en
cualquier situación en la que el agresor
penetra a la otra persona, por medio de
fuerza o coacción. Se determina ser fuerza o
coacción cuando la víctima no da
libremente su consentimiento para que
suceda la acción sexual; también se puede
incluir cuando el agresor fuerza
físicamente a la víctima. La penetración sexual significa el sexo vaginal, anal u oral o al
introducir los dedos u otro objeto en la vagina o ano de una persona. Puede ser que el
4
agresor lo haya hecho o haya ordenado que
la víctima se lo haga a sí misma.
10. El secuestro (N.J.S.A. 2C:13-1)
El secuestro sucede cuando el agresor
lleva a la víctima a otro lugar. Para ello, lo
tiene que hacer a la fuerza, con amenazas o
engaño. Se puede definir como la
retención indebida de una persona para
exigir dinero por su rescate, o tomar como
rehén, y también cuando el agresor pone a
la víctima en un lugar por mucho tiempo,
con el propósito de herir o asustarla.
11. El acoso
(N.J.S.A. 2C:12-10, 2C:12-10.1)
El acosador es aquel que, más de una
vez, haya mirado fijamente a una persona
por mucho tiempo, persiguiéndola o
enviando a personas para que le sigan,
entrometiéndose con las pertenencias de
otro, importunando o enviándole
amenazas. El individuo tiene que haber
hecho estas cosas a sabiendas y saber que
esta acción causaría temor o inquietud en la
víctima. El acosador puede perseguir a otra
persona con el propósito de asustarle.
Si lo declaran culpable de acoso en un
tribunal penal, la víctima puede recibir una
orden de restricción penal por separado.
Un padre de familia puede entablar, a
nombre de un hijo menor de edad, una
demanda para pedir una orden de
restricción con base a que dicho menor está
siendo perseguido.
12. La lascivia (N.J.S.A. 2C:14-4)
La lascivia es cuando la persona hace un
acto “indecente y ofensivo con to tal
descaro” enfrente de una persona que no
desee ver dicho acto. Un ejemplo común de
esto es cuando una persona, para su propia
satisfacción, expone sus partes íntimas ante
otra per sona que no ha dado su
consentimiento.
Cuáles Son Sus Derechos Legales / Octubre 2014
© 2014 Legal Services of New Jersey
13. La violación de domicilio o
propiedad (N.J.S.A. 2C:18-3)
Si la persona entra o se oculta en una
casa u otro edificio sin permiso, es posible
que sea culpable del delito de violación de
domicilio o propiedad. La persona también
tiene que saber que necesita el permiso o
no tenía permiso para estar allí.
Algunos lugares no permiten la entrada.
Quizás haya un guardia, un letrero, una
cerca o una cerradura prohibiendo la
entrada al edificio entero o a una sección
del mismo. Si una persona hace caso omiso
de estas restricciones, y de toda forma entra
a dicho lugar, el individuo podría ser culpable del delito de violación de domicilio o
propiedad.
En algunas situaciones, uno no espera
que lo estén vigilando, como cuando uno
está en su habitación o en el baño. Si
alguien se asoma por la ventana para ver a
otra persona en su hogar, y esta no espera
que le observen, el autor del acto puede ser
cul pa ble del delito de violación de
domicilio o propiedad.
14. El homicidio
(N.J.S.A. 2C:11-1 to 2C:11-4)
El homicidio es la muerte causada a una
persona por otra. El homicidio no será
incluido en una audiencia para una orden
de restricción final.
La línea directa de LSNJLAWSM
Si necesita ayuda con un caso de
violencia doméstica, comuníquese con
LSNJLAWSM, la línea directa de asistencia
jurídica gratuita para todo el estado de los
Servicios Legales de Nueva Jer sey, al
1-888-LSNJ-LAW (1-888- 576-5529). La
línea directa proporciona representación
jurídica y asesoramiento para aquellas
víctimas que no pueden costearse un
abogado.
Manuales y vídeos de ayuda
Los Servicios Legales de Nueva Jersey
han publicado un manual titulado: La
violencia doméstica: Una guía de los derechos
legales en Nueva Jersey para las víctimas
de la violencia doméstica, el cual está
disponible en nuestro sitio Web
www.lsnjlaw.org/espanol. De igual
manera, LSNJ tiene una serie de vídeos
de auto ayuda para obtener una orden
de restricción, y estos están disponibles
en YouTube. Los encontrará al visitar
www.youtube.com busque LSNJ y restrainr
ing order.
Este artículo fue traducido del inglés por el servicio lingüístico en LSNJ
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Llame a LSNJLAWSM,la línea directa gratuita de asistencia
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enviará a otras posibles fuentes de información.
Cuáles Son Sus Derechos Legales / Octubre 2014
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