Legal Guide

How to Beat an Assault Charge In New Jersey

Assaults are considered severe crimes in New Jersey, where a simple assault charge can land you in jail for six months or attract thousands in fines, while aggravated assaults carry more severe penalties.

In New Jersey, assaults are classified as either simple assaults or aggravated assaults. Apart from a jail term and a fine, the offense can attract other penalties such as restitution, electronic monitoring, probation, and confiscation of firearms.  The type of penalty depends on the nature of the assault charge.

What is a simple assault?

According to New Jersey statutes, an assault is categorized as simple assault if:

  • It attempts to inflict fear of serious injury on someone
  • It involves negligence when handling a deadly weapon leading to unintended bodily harm to someone else
  • It inflicts or attempt to inflict physical harm on someone else

If you are involved in any of the above situations, the prosecution will file a simple assault against you based on disorderly person’s offense statutes.

What is an aggravated assault?

If the assault resulted in severe injuries to the plaintiff, it amounts to aggravated assault charges in New Jersey. Also, if you cause minor injuries or show the intention to cause minor injuries on someone while using a deadly weapon, it is also considered an aggravated assault. The New Jersey constitution defines a serious injury as an injury that causes the risk of death, severe bodily disfigurement, loss of bodily organs, or damage of body senses.

Unlike a simple assault, which is categorized as a disorderly person’s offense similar to a misdemeanor in other states, aggravated assault is classified as an indictable crime with many degrees depending on the circumstances. Indictable crimes in New Jersey are similar to felony crimes in other states.

What are possible penalties for aggravated assault?

Unlike simple assault charges that attract either a fine of $1000 or a six-month jail term, the New Jersey statutes for aggravated assault are complicated and, if not handled properly, can end up as a second-degree felony offense that carries a maximum of 10 years in state prison.

Can you beat an assault charge in New Jersey?

Facing an assault charge in New Jersey doesn’t mean an end for you, as the state statutes provide various defense options which, if coupled with loopholes in the prosecution’s case, can set you free or have a reduced penalty. The most common defenses include:

The Self Defense Law

New Jersey’s Self Defense Law permits the use of force when, for a reason, feeling threatened by another person who is using illegal force. The law allows you to protect yourself from physical harm, your property, or protect another person from harm.

Having an alibi

Having an alibi means that you can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you were somewhere else at the time of the offense.

Statute Limitations

The New Jersey statutes give two years, from the day of the assault, to file an assault charge failure to which the charge will be considered null and void.

Endnote

Regardless of the assault-type, it would help if you remembered that an assault charge leaves a permanent criminal record on your file. Criminal records might deny you opportunities such as housing, employment, and educational benefits. Nonetheless, with the right attorney by your side, you can beat an assault charge.


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