Heymann & Fletcher

New bill may help victims of domestic violence

New Jersey residents are by now aware that victims of certain crimes may face hardships through no fault of their own. Recent changes to requirements to obtain a drivers' license or a REAL ID, which is a new form of license recognized on a federal level, may leave victims of domestic violence in a pinch. Many victims feel they must seek safety in the form of shelters or by staying with a friend or family member. This can be a potential roadblock when it comes time to obtain a drivers' license or ID that requires a listed address. 

The state of New Jersey is considering a bill that would aid victims of domestic violence as they attempt to put their lives back together. In today's world, having a drivers' license or REAL ID is a necessary step in finding employment, renting a home, opening a bank account and other important tasks that require valid photo identification. For many victims, it may be frightening because they may fear an abuser will find this information and further harm will come to them. 

The proposed bill would allow issuing agencies to have special allowances in place so that victims can complete the process without risking their safety. Supporters reason that it is unfair for victims to be unable to obtain a license due to fear or safety issues. Victims of domestic violence already have much to overcome, and the state is looking to alleviate stress on a victim where applicable. 

Victims of domestic violence need to be aware that, in addition to special outreach programs and other forms of help, they have a right to take legal action against an abuser. A compassionate attorney can stand by a victim during each step of the legal process. Holding an abuser legally accountable for his or her crime can help a victim feel protected in the future and allow them to make a safe fresh start, free of further violence and suffering. 

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