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Anger Management in a Domestic Violence Case

Published: August 17, 2020

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Anger Accusations in New Jersey Restraining Orders

Anger Management for Restraining Orders NJ lawyer helpAn inability to control anger and rage can lead to serious consequences, especially if one has a family. In New Jersey, an uncontrolled outburst can result in criminal charges being filed, a restraining order being entered, and DCPP involvement in your personal life. Nevertheless, anger is a normal and healthy emotion. It is not an expression that needs to be buried and never released.  On the contrary, it is simply a feeling that needs to be managed appropriately. Likewise, not every person who feels anger or expresses their passion needs professional assistance. But, there are others who unfortunately cannot channel or regulate their emotions, which in turn, lead to critical mistakes. Allegations of anger issues, even when not based on reality, can often be used to support claims of domestic violence and to establish a history of violence between the parties involved in a restraining order case.

If you are on either side of a case like this, you are best advised to seek counsel from an experienced domestic violence and restraining order attorney who can discuss your case with you, explain how anger management and counseling may provide an avenue toward resolution, and walk you through the legal process ahead. At The Tormey Law Firm, our lawyers have successfully handled thousands of these cases throughout New Jersey and we are dedicated to protecting your interests. Contact us today (908)-336-5008 to review your case with a member of our team free of charge.

Warning Signs of Anger Management Issues

Some warning signals that may indicate you need may need assistance with managing your anger include:

  1. Physical violence, including shoving, striking, pushing down, or otherwise intimidating your spouse, partner, or children.
  2. Regularly engaging in or starting physical altercations
  3. Finding yourself arguing with other people very often, whether people you know or perfect strangers
  4. Constantly threatening others or threatening to damage property
  5. Being plagued by rage that you are frequently trying to contain
  6. Feeling hostile, irritated, or impatient all the time
  7. Negatively viewing things and situations on a regular basis
  8. Conduct that is scary to yourself or others
  9. Feeling out of control
  10. Becoming avoidant due to fear, guilt, sadness, or shame about your anger

If you believe you are an individual that may need help, do not hesitate to contact your health care physician or medical insurance provider.  Both can assist you with finding proper counseling and treatment for anger management. Otherwise, ignoring the issue may lead to serious and possibly irreversible legal consequences.   

Anger Problems Alleged in a Restraining Order

Anger and aggression, if not properly controlled, will unquestionably reveal themselves within the confines of the home. Consequently, thousands of individuals in the Garden State are regularly subjected to acts of domestic violence. Moreover, domestic violence comes in all social, ethic, and economic backgrounds. On top of that, it is not limited to physical violence. Despite the label, domestic violence comes in all types and forms, which include mental and emotional abuse. In that same vein, and contrary to what many believe, a restraining order can be issued even if the defendant never physically harmed the plaintiff.

In light of this problem, the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act was enacted with the primary goal of providing both emergent and long-term protection for victims. Among the wide array of forms of protection and aid the Act provides, anger management counseling is a form of relief the Court can order for a victim of domestic violence.  In fact, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:25-29, the Judge is empowered to order the defendant to: receive professional counseling and/or under a psychiatric evaluation.  Additionally, if such an order is entered, the defendant cannot petition the court to vacate the restraining order until he or she complies with the court’s directives.

With that in mind, undergoing anger management counseling is an excellent tool to resolve domestic disputes.  In addition to the required treatment, a restraining order can have very severe consequences.  A defendant will be placed on the Central Domestic Violence Registry, which is a national database that contains the names and information of domestic violent perpetrators. As a result, any time you travel through an airport or are seeking to enter another country, you will be detained and questioned by security. Furthermore, under both federal and state law, an individual named on a restraining order cannot legally possess a firearm.  Lastly, if a person violates the terms of the restraining order, he or she will be criminally charged with contempt. Thus, if a litigant is presented with the chance to resolve the matter that would lead to a dismissal, that person should take full advantage.

A very common way to resolve a domestic violence case is by entering into civil restraints. Civil restraints is a contract between the parties that mirrors the terms of a restraining order. In essence, it’s an agreement not to communicate with one another. This helps the plaintiff because it relieves the individual of the burden of going to trial, while at the same time, secures a document prohibiting the defendant from contacting him or her. On the other side, it serves the interests of the defendant because the restraining order is dismissed.  To help push the plaintiff towards such a resolution, the defendant can voluntarily agree to undergo anger management classes.

Acts of Rage for Criminal Domestic Violence Charges

Typically, when a restraining order is filed, a companion criminal complaint is also filed.  More so if the claim involves violence, and in fact, if the police respond to a person’s home and observe injuries, they are required to arrest the suspect. This may lead to criminal charges for assault, terroristic threats, criminal mischief, possessing a weapon for an unlawful purpose, and more. Assault charges can come in two forms, either simple assault or aggravated assault. Simple assault is a disorderly person offense and subjects the defendant to six-months in jail, one to five years on probation, and a fine up to $1,000. Aggravated assault is more serious and depending on the degree of the offense, may expose the individual to a maximum of ten years in prison, probation, and a $150,000 fine.

Similar to restraining orders, a criminal conviction can have life-altering implications. In addition to your loss of liberty, you may be deported, you may struggle to find employment, you cannot own a firearm, you cannot vote, you cannot serve as a juror, and sadly, you will forever be branded a criminal. Therefore, a dismissal in a criminal case is the principal and paramount goal and a defendant should do anything possible to achieve it, including anger management classes. It is common, especially for simple assault charges, for the municipal prosecutors to be open to dismissing the case if the defendant agrees to attend and complete counseling.  Accordingly, if such an offer is presented, almost every defendant should consider accepting.

Child Protective Services Investigating Claims of Out-of-Control Anger in Parents

In combination with a criminal complaint and restraining order, the police may contact the Division of Child Protection and Permanency if the underlying claims of domestic abuse occurred in front of children. This is because children, even if they are not actually harmed, are emotionally scarred from witnessing domestic violence. In turn, if the Division receives a report of potential child abuse or neglect, the agency must open an investigation within 24 hours. For this reason, following a restraining order and/or criminal complaint based on anger management problems, it is very likely you will be visited by an investigator from DCP&P.  The investigator will question both parents and also want to interview the children. Additionally, he or she will demand that you sign releases regarding your medical history and will also likely demand that each parent submit to an evaluation. In some circumstances, it may be beneficial to cooperate. An excellent way to accommodate the Division is to attend anger management counseling. This can actually become part of a permanency plan crafted by DCPP that can help you maintain custody of your children.

Questions about Anger Management in a New Jersey Domestic Violence Case?

If you have questions or are in need of legal counsel for a domestic violence case involving accusations of anger, the New Jersey lawyers at our firm are here to provide the answers and advocacy you need. Call us now at (908)-336-5008 or fill out our convenient online form and tell us how we can help. Confidential free consultations are available around the clock to best serve you.

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Filed under: Domestic Violence Case Issues

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Travis J. Tormey is a distinguished member of the legal community and a respected legal resource on domestic violence. He has been featured in a variety of prominent publications and media outlets, including CBS radio, Aol News, the Asbury Park Press,, and the Daily Record. Mr. Tormey has also been recognized as one of the the top criminal attorneys under 40 years of age by the National Trial Lawyers Association and the National Academy of Criminal Defense Attorneys. Whether representing victims or the wrongly accused, Travis remains passionately committed to protecting the rights of the innocent.

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