Bills Offering More Protection to Domestic Violence Victims Win Assembly Judiciary Committee Approval

Last month the NJ Assembly Judiciary Committee approved three bills designed to help the New Jersey’s domestic violence victims. The bills address the issues of bail restrictions for restraining order violators, self-defense justification pleas, and lease and rental protections for domestic violence victims. (1)

Under the first bill, violators of restraining orders resulting from domestic violence incidents would be required to post the full amount of their bail, as opposed to the 10% currently required. The bail would need to be paid in cash or by bail or surety bond. In addition, bail would be increased to a minimum of $5,000 if the violation of the restraining order was criminal in nature and to a minimum of $2,500 if the violation amounted to a disorderly person offense. (2)

The second bill paves the way for a self-defense plea for victims of domestic violence. This bill would allow evidence of domestic violence restraining orders to be admitted and considered in cases where individuals protected by the orders used force to protect themselves against their abusers. (1)

The third bill would allow victims of domestic violence, including victims of stalking or sexual assault, to break a lease or rental agreement in order to escape a violent situation without incurring repercussions from future landlords. (3)

All three bills are pending consideration of the full Assembly. (1)

(1) http://www.nj.com/hudson/index.ssf/2010/10/assembly_judiciary_committee_o.html

(2) http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2010/10/nj_assembly_advances_legislati.html

(3) http://www.politickernj.com/42158/assembly-committees-consider-bills-help-domestic-violence-victims-unemployed-residents-farmers