Andrew Olesnycky is one of very few former supervisors of domestic violence at a county prosecutor’s office who now provides legal services to individuals facing criminal or municipal charges, opposing the issuance of restraining orders, or seeking restraining orders. He not only has the trial skills and intimate knowledge of this complex area of law to provide the highest quality legal representation. Having handled hundreds of emotionally-charged domestic violence cases, Olesnycky has the experience to guide his clients through personal tragedy with the proper amount of respect and grace.
The New Jersey Prevention of Domestic Violence Act (the Domestic Violence Act) is a complex statute that utilizes civil and criminal penalties to provide domestic violence victims with the ability to protect themselves from intimate partner violence. The eradication of intimate partner violence and the protection of victims of ongoing domestic abuse is a noble and worthwhile goal of our society, but the Domestic Violence Act is so broadly written that, conduct not normally thought of as domestic violence very often can serve as the basis for extremely serious criminal and civil domestic violence penalties -carrying with them the ugly social stigma associated with serious domestic abuse.
For example, the Domestic Violence Act applies not only to intimate partners, but also those who share a residence, such as college students sharing a dorm room or off-campus house. A fistfight between college roommates, therefore, may trigger the mandatory arrest provision of the Domestic Violence Act, even if neither roommate wishes to press charges. If found guilty of a simply assault, one or both roommates could be forced to live with a criminal record branding them as domestic abusers. And if one of the roommates is charged with an aggravated assault under the Domestic Violence Act he or she would not share the same presumption of non-imprisonment as an ordinary offender nor have the ability to enter the Pre-Trial Intervention Program without a guilty plea…simply because of his or her status as the alleged victim’s roommate.
Similarly, while the term “domestic violence” brings to mind violent crime, many of the offenses that trigger the Domestic Violence Act are non-violent offenses. For example, the offense of “harassment” – essentially, annoying communications – can serve as the basis for issuing a restraining order under the Domestic Violence Act. This “temporary restraining order” may be issued by a judge upon the testimony of an alleged victim, and without an opportunity for the defendant to cross-examine the victim. Before any due process is afforded to the accused, the temporary restraining order can have the effect of removing the accused from his or her home, prohibiting contact with his or her children, and necessitating cash payments to the alleged victim. In some cases it also can result in the accused being suspended from work.
Whether you are accused of domestic violence or are yourself a domestic violence victim, the Law Offices of Robert Stahl can help you protect yourself from the serious consequences that accompany this strictly-regulated area of law.