New Jersey Assault Charges Defense Lawyers
Seasoned Criminal Defense Lawyers Build Strong Defense Strategies for Clients Accused of Assault in Essex County, Union County, Morris County, Middlesex County, Bergen County and Somerset County, NJ
Assault is a criminal offense that can arise under a variety of circumstances—a domestic dispute, a bar fight or even a heated disagreement between acquaintances can lead to the filing of assault charges in New Jersey. The fact that assault charges are relatively common in the state does not mean that they should not be taken seriously. Jail time is a possibility even where the charges were filed because of a consensual fight between adults and the prosecution and courts are permitted to consider all available evidence in determining the severity of the criminal charge that is appropriate in your case.
Our firm, Zegas Law, has successfully helped countless Morris County defendants negotiate reduced charges or even outright dismissal of assault charges under varying sets of circumstances. We have spent years developing our legal expertise both inside and outside of the courtroom so that we can effectively go to battle for you. Our skilled criminal defense lawyers know that prosecutors have significant discretion in grading assault cases and we work tirelessly to prevent prosecutorial overreach to get the best possible results for our clients. If you are facing assault charges in North Jersey, call or contact us today to see how we can help.
North Jersey Defense Lawyers Handle Both Simple and Aggravated Assault Charges
Under New Jersey law, assault can be either categorized as simple assault or aggravated assault. Simple assault is usually charged as a disorderly persons offense that can result in a maximum of six months in jail and up to $1,000 in fines. If the assault occurred during a consensual fight between two people, the charge is downgraded to a petty disorderly persons offense. However, simple assault can easily be elevated to third-degree aggravated assault charge if the victim is a law enforcement officer or public bus driver, for example. Legally, simple assault is:
- Attempting to cause, or purposely, knowingly or recklessly causing, bodily injury to someone else,
- Negligently or recklessly causing bodily injury to another with a deadly weapon, or
- Attempting to put another person in fear of imminent and serious bodily injury.
Unlike the way that most New Jersey criminal statutes are constructed, the law allows conviction for simple assault even if you didn’t intend or purposely cause the harm (for example, if you negligently or recklessly caused the harm) and even if you only attempted to cause the physical harm in some cases. Further, the courts impose a very low standard for what constitutes a “bodily injury”—causing even fleeting, temporary pain will be sufficient in most cases.
Assault charges can be elevated to aggravated assault charges based upon various factors, such as in cases where a deadly weapon was used or when the assault resulted in serious bodily injury. Aggravated assault charges are indictable (felony) level crimes, and can be punished as second, third or fourth-degree crimes depending upon the specific circumstances of the case. Factors that come into play in determining the level of available punishment include:
- The severity of the bodily injuries sustained by the victim,
- The identity of the victim (assault involving law enforcement officers tend to be prosecuted as more serious offenses),
- Your intent—if you knowingly or purposefully caused significant injury, the crime can be prosecuted as a more serious offense.
Detail-Oriented Defense Lawyers Evaluate Your Assault Charges from All Sides in North Jersey Cases
The circumstances surrounding the incident that gave rise to your assault charges are particularly important in these cases because your state of mind can be critical to prosecution’s ability to establish all elements of the assault charge at hand. While every case is unique, in building the most compelling defense possible, we can work to:
- Establish that you did not “knowingly” or “purposely” cause the harm that resulted,
- Show that it was not reasonable for the alleged victim to believe that you would cause them bodily injury,
- Prove that the assault stemmed from a consensual fight so that the charges should be downgraded,
- Establish self-defense or defense of another as a mitigating factor,
- Demonstrate that the injury involved was not severe enough to support the charges.
We conduct a detailed investigation of your case and closely analyze the prosecution’s evidence to determine which defense strategies may be successful in your case.
Schedule a Confidential Consultation with the Time-Tested Assault Defense Team at Zegas Law
At Zegas Law, we are committed to crafting the strongest and most effective defense strategy possible for every client we take on. Regardless of the severity of the injuries involved or the circumstances surrounding your assault charges, we are determined to put the full weight of our legal skill to work for you. If you or a loved one have been charged with assault in Essex County or North Jersey, call or contact our experienced assault defense lawyers today.
Frequently Asked Questions About Assault Charges in North Jersey
If the assault charges levied against you are at the second-degree felony level, you may be facing between five and ten years in prison, which comes with a presumption of incarceration—meaning that you will likely face time in jail even if you have never before been convicted of a crime. Aggravated assault at any level can also give rise to grounds for a restraining order in domestic assault cases, which can impact your freedom of movement and right to see your children, among other potential consequences.
Whether expungement is available depends upon whether you were charged with simple assault or aggravated assault, as well as how the case was resolved. Simple assault convictions can generally be expunged after five years have passed since your sentence was completed. Simple assault charges resolved through conditional discharge may be expunged after six months. Aggravated assault charges may not be eligible for expungement.