Assault Defense Attorneys in Middlesex County, New Jersey
It can be stressful and overwhelming when charged with assault. On top of that, you may be experiencing the consequences or worried about what the future holds. However, it's important to know you are not alone.
If you’re located in the New Jersey areas of Somerset, Morris, Passaic, Essex, and Bergen Counties, or anywhere else in the state, contact us immediately if you are facing an investigation or criminal charge relating to assault.
If you or a loved one is facing an assault charge or investigation in Middlesex County, New Jersey, contact us at Schwartz, Hanna, Olsen, & Taus, P.C. Our team of criminal defense attorneys has more than eight decades of combined experience in helping individuals who face criminal indictments exercise their rights and use every available legal option to secure the best result possible.
Defining Assault Under New Jersey Law
Common assault charges include assault and battery, assault with a deadly weapon, aggravated assault, or simple assault.
Each state has different ways of classifying crimes that inflict harm or threaten to inflict harm. On top of the classification, the crime might be deemed a misdemeanor or a felony. Misdemeanors generally have lighter sentencing possibilities, while felonies can lead to serious prison time. In New Jersey, simple assault is a misdemeanor, and aggravated assault is a felony. There is also assault by automobile under state law.
There are different charges covering assault in New Jersey, but they – except for assault by automobile – can be broken down into simple assault and aggravated assault. Simple assault is addressed in New Jersey Revised Statutes Section 2C:12-1, which lists three acts that comprise simple assault:
Attempting to cause or purposely, knowingly, or recklessly causing bodily injury to another; or
Negligently causing bodily injury to another with a deadly weapon; or
Attempting by physical menace to put another in fear of imminent serious bodily injury.
Aggravated assault is covered by New Jersey Revised Statutes Section 2C:12-1(b), and it is a rather complex explanation, outlining 11 ways a person can commit aggravated assault. “Cause or attempt to cause serious bodily injury” is a repeated phrase. Pointing a firearm at another person also falls under the category. Simple assault committed against a protected class – law enforcement officials, fire personnel, EMT/EMS responders, school teachers and employees, and others – also rises to the level of aggravated assault.
Assault by automobile is the subject of Section 2C:12-1(c). Assault by automobile occurs when a person drives recklessly and, as a result of that recklessness, causes injury to another. The charge will be determined by how seriously injured the other person is.
Now, it should be noted that for both simple assault and aggravated assault, actual physical contact does not necessarily have to occur. Just the threat of using violence can be considered assault.
Possible Penalties for Assault
New Jersey utilizes a tiered structure of penalties beginning with what is called either a disorderly person’s offense or a petty disorderly person’s offense, which are misdemeanors. Beyond misdemeanors are possible felony penalties known as crimes of the Second, Third, and Fourth Degree.
Simple assault is viewed as a disorderly person’s offense and can result in a jail term of up to six months and a fine of up to $1,000. A petty disorderly person’s offense is punishable by 30 days in jail and a fine of up to $500.
A Crime of the Second Degree is the most serious of the felonies and can result in 10 to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $150,000. This category is reserved for those who purposely or with extreme recklessness cause serious injury to another.
Third-degree felonies are punishable by 5 to 10 years behind bars and a fine of up to $15,000. Some crimes covered by this classification include aggravated assault against a protected class resulting in serious bodily harm, starting a fire, or setting off an explosion that causes injury to emergency personnel.
Fourth-degree crimes can land a person behind prison bars for 3 to 5 years with a potential fine of up to $10,000. Assault by automobile falls into this category, as does wielding a firearm or committing simple assault against a police officer, firefighter, first responder, or other public employee.
Possible Defenses to Assault
Self-defense is probably the most used or readily available defense, though if there are prosecution witnesses who can testify that it was not self-defense, this can be hard to employ. Another route is to prove that your rights were violated.
Perhaps police failed to obtain a search warrant when they came to your premises to look for evidence, or they failed to read your Miranda Rights before questioning you. If your rights were violated, it may be possible to get the case withdrawn.
Still, another avenue is to have your attorney present your side of the story to prosecutors in hopes of getting a lesser charge or even a dropped charge. There is also the possibility of a plea bargain.
Assault Defense Attorneys Serving Middlesex County, New Jersey
It’s vital to remember that you do not have to answer police or prosecutor questions without having an attorney present to advise you. So, if you are taken in for questioning, invoke your right to remain silent and contact us immediately. We can advise you during questioning and develop a strong defense strategy going forward to work for the best result possible. If you’re located in the New Jersey areas of Somerset, Morris, Passaic, Essex, and Bergen Counties, or anywhere else in the state, contact us immediately at Schwartz, Hanna, Olsen, & Taus, P.C. if you are facing an investigation or criminal charge relating to assault.