ASSEMBLY, No. 1197

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

217th LEGISLATURE

 

PRE-FILED FOR INTRODUCTION IN THE 2016 SESSION

 


 

Sponsored by:

Assemblywoman  GABRIELA M. MOSQUERA

District 4 (Camden and Gloucester)

Assemblyman  TROY SINGLETON

District 7 (Burlington)

Assemblyman  PAUL D. MORIARTY

District 4 (Camden and Gloucester)

Assemblywoman  PAMELA R. LAMPITT

District 6 (Burlington and Camden)

 

Co-Sponsored by:

Assemblyman Space

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Establishes new crime of domestic violence committed in the presence of a child.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     Introduced Pending Technical Review by Legislative Counsel.

  


An Act concerning domestic violence and supplementing Title 2C of the New Jersey Statutes.

 

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

     1.    a.  A person is guilty of the crime of committing an act of domestic violence in the presence of a child if the person commits an act of domestic violence defined in subsection a. of section 3 of P.L.1991, c.261 (C.2C:25-19) in the presence of a child to whom the actor or the victim is a parent, guardian, or resource family parent knowing that the child was present during the commission of the act.

     b.    As used in this section:

     “Child” means a person who is 16 years of age or younger.

     “In the presence of a child” means in the physical presence of a child or having knowledge that a child is present and may see or hear an act of domestic violence.

     c.     The crime of committing an act of domestic violence in the presence of a child is a crime of the fourth degree if the underlying offense is a disorderly persons offense or petty disorderly persons offense.  Otherwise, the crime of committing an act of domestic violence in the presence of a child is a crime one degree higher than the most serious underlying offense.

     d.    Notwithstanding the provisions of N.J.S.2C:1-8 or any other provision of law, a conviction for the crime of committing an act of domestic violence in the presence of a child shall not merge with a conviction for any underlying offense, nor shall any conviction for such underlying offense merge with a conviction for the crime of committing an act of domestic violence in the presence of a child.  The court shall impose separate sentences upon a conviction for the crime of committing an act of domestic violence in the presence of a child and a conviction for any underlying offense.

 

     2.    This act shall take effect immediately.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill would establish the new crime of committing an act of domestic violence in the presence of a child.

     Under current law, a person commits an act of domestic violence if the person commits one or more of acts of homicide, assault, terroristic threats, kidnapping, criminal restraint, false imprisonment, sexual assault, criminal sexual contact, lewdness, criminal mischief, burglary, criminal trespass, harassment, or stalking upon a person protected under the provisions of the “Prevention of Domestic Violence Act of 1991,” P.L.1991, c.261 (C.2C:25-17 et seq.).  In addition to the remedies available to a victim under the provisions of the “Prevention of Domestic Violence Act of 1991,” a person who commits an act of domestic violence may be subject to criminal prosecution for the act that constituted domestic violence.

     This bill would provide that when the act of domestic violence is committed in the presence of a child to whom the actor or the victim is a parent, guardian, or resource family parent, the person committing the act would be subject to criminal prosecution for both the underlying offense and for the separate crime of committing an act of domestic violence in the presence of a child.  However, the bill would not require the person be convicted of the underlying offense to be convicted of committing an act of domestic violence in the presence of a child.

     This bill would require that the person committing the act of domestic violence know the child was present during the commission of the act.  “In the presence of a child” would mean in the physical presence of a child or having knowledge that a child is present and may see or hear an act of domestic violence.  The bill would additionally require that the child be 16 years of age or younger.

     The crime of committing an act of domestic violence in the presence of a child would be a crime of the fourth degree if the underlying offense is a disorderly persons offense or petty disorderly persons offense; otherwise, it would be graded one degree higher than the most serious underlying offense.  If the offender is convicted of both the underlying offense and committing an act of domestic violence in the presence of a child, the convictions would not merge and a court would be required to impose a separate sentence for each conviction.

     A crime of the fourth degree is punishable by imprisonment for up to 18 months, up to a $10,000 fine, or both.  A crime of the third degree is punishable by imprisonment for three to five years, up to a $15,000 fine, or both.  A crime of the second degree is punishable by imprisonment for five to 10 years, up to a $150,000 fine, or both.  A crime of the first degree is punishable by imprisonment for 10 to 20 years, up to a $200,000 fine, or both.