Interviewer: Can’t someone look at a matter where a famous person is involved and say “Hey, the penalties are going to be the same no matter how hard someone gets hit”?
Lauren Scardella: There’s been a lot of controversy over the treatment that celebrities get. I don’t think that I personally have ever had a case where somebody was hit as hard as was recently seen in the news by a spouse or a loved one. But beyond that, here there was irrefutable video proof and a prosecutor kind of just said, “Huh, PTI is fine, it’s okay,” so perhaps there was a bit of special treatment given in that case as we see a lot of times with celebrities in the criminal justice system. Some notable exceptions aside, when a celebrity gets in trouble, it often seems like they get probation for pretty much anything.
Grabbing Somebody’s Arm and Causing a Bruise is a Disorderly Persons’ Offense in New Jersey
Interviewer: If someone just grabs maybe their spouse’s arm and their spouse is alarmed by that and says, “Hey, this is abuse because you grabbed my arm really hard,” is that going to be treated the same as someone knocking someone out?
Lauren Scardella: No. If you grab somebody on the arm and you cause a bruise, that is an injury. That’s a bodily injury but that’s going to be a simple assault versus some sort of aggravated assault. The aggravated assault, knocking someone out is definitely a second degree aggravated assault. Those two scenarios aren’t even in the same realm in terms of seriousness of the offense.
It is Not Advisable to Be In Contact with the Alleged Victim After a Restraining or No Contact Order has been Issued
Interviewer: Let’s say there’s sort of a situation involved in domestic violence and the person involved was trying to contact me via text, as a defendant, should I contact them back or what should I do in that situation?
Lauren Scardella: If there is no restraining order or no contact provision, then there is nothing illegal about contacting them back. If there is a restraining order or if there is a no contact provision as a condition of bail, then absolutely not. Ignore them, block them, change your phone number because if there’s a restraining order, contacting them back is at the very least a disorderly person’s offense which means you will get charged with a separate criminal complaint for contempt of a judicial order. If it’s a condition of bail, then the bail can be revoked and you can sit in jail or have a new bail set and have to bail out again. If the bail has been forfeited, you’ll lose all that money, so yes, the answer is if there are those conditions, don’t answer the text.