How to Beat a Simple Assault Charge

Have you been charged with a simple assault in New Jersey? When emotions heat up, simple assault can follow. Simple assault often occurs in episodes of domestic violence, when arguing with neighbors, or in instances of public intoxication.  If you have been charged with simple assault, you know that there’s nothing simple about beating this charge. You need to understand New Jersey criminal law and develop a legal strategy to defend against a simple assault charge. An experienced simple assault NJ criminal lawyer can help with your defense strategy. Here are a few things you should know about how to beat a simple assault charge in New Jersey: What is a simple assault in New Jersey? What is the punishment for simple assault in NJ? Are there defenses to simple assault? NJ Assault Law Simple assault in NJ occurs when a person (N.J.S.A . 2C:12‑1): Attempts to cause or purposely, knowingly or recklessly causes bodily injury to another;  or Negligently causes bodily injury to another with a deadly weapon;  or Attempts by physical menace to put another in fear of imminent serious bodily injury. This law means that you don’t even have to touch a person to get into legal trouble. If you threaten someone or cause them to fear serious bodily injury, you can be charged with assault.  Note that simple assault involves threatening serious bodily injury or attempting/causing bodily injury. So what’s the difference between serious bodily injury and bodily injury? The New Jersey Code of Criminal Justice ( Definitions, N.J.S.A. 2C:11-1) defines the two categories: Bodily injury means “physical pain, illness or any impairment of physical condition.” Serious bodily injury is “bodily injury which creates a substantial risk of death or which causes serious, permanent disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ.” There’s another assault category, aggravated assault, that applies to behavior that escalates past simple assault.  What Type of Charge is Simple Assault? New Jersey law classifies crimes as indictable crimes, disorderly persons offenses, and petty disorderly persons offenses. Simple assault is usually a disorderly persons offense. If both parties agreed to fight, the charge could be downgraded to a petty disorderly persons offense. A petty disorderly persons offense is the least serious New Jersey offense that carries a jail sentence.  A disorderly persons offense penalty is up to 6 months in jail and up to a $1000 fine. A petty disorderly persons offense is up to 30 days in jail and up to a $500 fine.  Even though simple assault charges do not carry lengthy jail time, they become part of your criminal record. Having a criminal record can affect housing and employment options, so it’s important to beat your simple assault charge. What are the Defenses to Simple Assault? A skilled criminal defense attorney can help you beat your simple assault charge. Defenses against a simple assault charge include: Dismiss as de minimus assault. Your attorney may argue that your simple assault was de minimis in nature. This legal term means trivial or lacking significance. The argument asserts that the assault was so inconsequential that the court should dismiss your case. Suppress the evidence. If the judge grants a motion to suppress evidence of your simple assault, this may eliminate proof that you are guilty. A judge may suppress evidence on grounds such as relevance and unfair prejudice. Reduce to a lesser charge. Your attorney might request a judge reduce your simple assault to a lesser charge, such as harassment. Downgrading to a municipal ordinance violation may reduce the penalties involved with your charge. Even if your simple assault defense attorney cannot beat your simple assault charge, your attorney can request a reduced penalty. For instance, your attorney may convince the judge to give you probation and a suspended sentence. Along with sentencing, the judge might impose a restraining order between the parties involved in the simple assault. Get Legal Advice on Your Simple Assault Charge A simple assault charge brings serious consequences. You could wind up in jail, pay a hefty fine, and carry a criminal record. You need expert legal advice to help you beat your simple assault charge. To learn how to beat a simple assault charge, call New Jersey criminal defense lawyer Anthony Vecchio. Anthony has defended thousands of New Jersey clients and offers expert legal strategy for your simple assault. Call Anthony for a free consultation and start building your defense against simple assault.

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how to drop domestic abuse charges in nj

Domestic violence is a serious crime in the eyes of New Jersey. When police are called to a domestic dispute, they can arrest an alleged abuser, even if the victim does not want them to. The police can also arrest an alleged abuser if there is no witness to testify against him. Once arrested, the prosecutor must decide whether to bring criminal charges. The victim is not required to take part in the arrest or conviction of an abuser. What happens if you or a loved one has been arrested for domestic violence? What can you do to help him or her? In this article, we’ll discuss how to drop domestic violence charges in New Jersey. Contact a criminal defense attorney for review of your case. Why Can’t You Just Drop Charges? Oftentimes people are in romantic relationships with their abusers. As a result, many victims try to protect the person who is abusing or terrorizing them. Some abusers bully or scare their victims into getting charges dismissed.   As a result, the prosecutor can bring charges against your partner or spouse even if you don’t agree to it. New Jersey does not need a victim to “file charges” against an abuser, so they do not give victims a right to “drop charges.” What Can You Do? The fact that the prosecutor can bring charges even if you don’t agree doesn’t mean that they will. Prosecutors like to get defendants to take a plea deal; the defendant agrees to plead guilty for a reduced charge or promise of a lighter sentence. But if a defendant rejects a plea deal, prosecutors must present their case to a jury. A prosecutor needs evidence that domestic violence occurred to get a conviction. A criminal defendant can take the Fifth instead of testifying against himself. Often, the only two people who saw the violence were the abuser and his victim, meaning you. So, what happens if you don’t want to testify against a partner or spouse? The state will send you a subpoena to force you to testify. If you refuse, then the judge can hold you in contempt. In other cases, the prosecutor might rely on other evidence, such as a 9-1-1 call. This can be used to prove that an attack occurred. To understand your options, you need to identify the evidence the state has: Request a copy of the police report. This should give you some sense of what evidence the prosecutor has. You’ll also find out if the defendant made any incriminating statements. If so, trying to fight the charges will be an uphill battle. Discuss your case with an attorney. There may be options. For example, you might have been intoxicated the night of the alleged domestic violence. Bringing this fact to trial could help undermine the evidence that violence took place. How Can an Attorney Help? If you were arrested for domestic violence, you need to understand your rights and know if a plea offer is a good deal. Not every domestic violence conviction leads to time in jail. A lawyer can review the evidence and help you decide what steps to take. If you are a victim or witness—say, the defendant’s girlfriend, boyfriend or spouse—you need to understand what will happen to you if the prosecutor brings charges. We cannot tell you to lie on the witness stand, but you might have options for making it hard to use you as a witness. In theory the prosecutor can bring charges without the victim’s cooperation. In practice, however, it can be tough for them to get a conviction when a victim doesn’t cooperate. Call Us to Schedule a Free Consultation Anthony J. Vecchio is an experienced criminal defense lawyer who has spent years working as a prosecutor. He now uses his talents to represent those unfairly accused of a crime. To get started, contact one of his offices today to schedule a case evaluation.

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what is simple assault

TV, films, and pop culture often cause lots of confusion with assault and other related crimes. This uncertainty and misinformation also results from the assault statute’s complicated language. If you need a simple explanation of simple assault, you’ve come to the right place. So, what is simple assault? This overview can give you important information about simple assault, along with legal support from your New Jersey criminal defense lawyer. Definition of Simple Assault in New Jersey There are many different charges that may come into play when you’re in a fight with another person, whether it is physical or not. You could be arrested for simple assault if: You attempted to hurt someone, but didn’t touch him or her; or, You put another person in fear because you created a threat of physical, harmful contact. The New Jersey assault statute is crucial to know because it describes exactly what a prosecutor must prove to convict you. The elements of simple assault are: Intent to threaten or cause fear of harm to another person, such as through words or gestures; Reasonable thought from the victim who thought that physical harm would result from your actions; and, Actual harm to the victim, which may be physical in nature but is not required to cause bodily harm. In some cases, it may be enough that the victim felt threatened based on the circumstances, your words, and your gestures. Distinctions Between Simple Assault and Other Crimes Most confusion about assault comes from the fact that many people associate it with the term “assault and battery.” There are two separate crimes in this scenario. Battery is unlawful, non-consensual contact that’s offensive or harmful to the victim. Assault may or may not involve physical contact, so it’s often linked to battery. Still, you can be arrested for assault without making any contact if your actions create a risk of harm. How is simple assault different from aggravated assault?. In New Jersey, the offense crosses over to aggravated assault if: You try to harm someone under circumstances implying a disregard for the value of human life; You cause or attempt to cause harm with a deadly weapon; Your recklessness with a deadly weapon causes harm to another person; or, You commit a crime that qualifies as simple assault, but your actions are directed at someone designated by statute. Examples include law enforcement, fire fighters, or school employees. Penalties for a Simple Assault Conviction In most cases, simple assault is a disorderly persons crime in New Jersey. As a misdemeanor, you face up to six months’ imprisonment and a $1,000 fine if you’re convicted. Under certain circumstances, you could be arrested for simple assault if you’re in a situation with “mutual combatants”, such as a bar fight. You could be sentenced to 30 days in jail for a conviction on this petty person’s offense. An Attorney Can Help with Potential Defenses to Simple Assault Charges There are strategies to fight charges in any criminal case, so it’s important to remember that an arrest is NOT a conviction. A prosecutor must prove that you’re guilty beyond a reasonable doubt to get a conviction. With the help of a criminal defense lawyer, you can attack the prosecution’s case and create that shred of doubt. There are also other defenses to fight simple assault charges in New Jersey:  You were acting in self-defense or to defend others. If the other person was trying to harm you, or hurt another person, the evidence may be enough to defeat the charges. You could present proof that you were acting to protect your own property.  Because prosecutors must prove intent, you could beat simple assault charges if there’s proof that you never meant to cause assault. Remember that these defenses cannot prevent conviction for simple assault unless they’re presented to the court. Police only need probable cause to arrest you, but prosecutors need proof beyond a reasonable doubt. When your case goes to trial, the only way to make sure the judge hears your defenses is to raise them by motion. If you don’t have a legal background, you may not know how to file: A motion to ban evidence that was unlawfully obtained by a violation of your constitutional right against unlawful search and seizure; A motion to compel information that the prosecutor is holding against your interests; or, Motions to dismiss the charges for insufficient evidence. A skilled attorney has experience in motion practice, which could lead to a dismissal of the charges or an acquittal. A lawyer can also work on a plea bargain, which could benefit first-time offenders. Consult with a New Jersey Criminal Defense Attorney Today Hopefully this summary gives you enough information to understand what simple assault is. However, you also need extensive experience and knowledge when it comes to legal representation in court. Our team can help with your case, so please contact the Law Offices of Anthony J. Vecchio, LLC to speak with one of our lawyers. We can schedule a consultation to meet with you at any of our five offices in New Jersey.

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Defense Attorney for Juvenile Assault Charges Assault, even aggravated assault, is a relatively common charge that juveniles are charged with in New Jersey. If your child has been questioned by police or arrested for an assault charge, speak with an experienced defense lawyer right away. I have defended juveniles against assault charges and worse throughout New Jersey. Simple Assault a. Simple assault. A person is guilty of assault if he: Attempts to cause or purposely, knowingly or recklessly causes bodily injury to another; or Negligently causes bodily injury to another with a deadly weapon; or Attempts by physical menace to put another in fear of imminent serious bodily injury. Simple assault is a disorderly persons offense. This applies unless committed in a fight or scuffle entered into by mutual consent, in which case it is a petty disorderly persons offense. Aggravated Assault b. Aggravated assault. A person is guilty of aggravated assault if he: Attempts to cause serious bodily injury to another, or causes such injury purposely or knowingly or under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life recklessly causes such injury; or Attempts to cause or purposely or knowingly causes bodily injury to another with a deadly weapon; or Recklessly causes bodily injury to another with a deadly weapon; or Knowingly under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life points a firearm, as defined in section … f., at or in the direction of another, whether or not the actor believes it to be loaded; or Commits a simple assault as defined in subsection a. (1), (2) or (3) of this section upon certain individuals listed below. Special Victims – Police & Emergency Services (a) Any law enforcement officer acting in the performance of his duties while in uniform or exhibiting evidence of his authority or because of his status as a law enforcement officer; or (b) Any paid or volunteer fireman acting in the performance of his duties while in uniform or otherwise clearly identifiable as being engaged in the performance of the duties of a fireman; or (c) Any person engaged in emergency first-aid or medical services acting in the performance of his duties while in uniform or otherwise clearly identifiable as being engaged in the performance of emergency first-aid or medical services; or School & DYFS Workers (d) Any school board member, school administrator, teacher, school bus driver or other employee of a public or nonpublic school or school board while clearly identifiable as being engaged in the performance of his duties or because of his status as a member or employee of a public or nonpublic school or school board or any school bus driver employed by an operator under contract to a public or nonpublic school or school board while clearly identifiable as being engaged in the performance of his duties or because of his status as a school bus driver; or (e) Any employee of the Division of Youth and Family Services while clearly identifiable as being engaged in the performance of his duties or because of his status as an employee of the division; or Against Judges (f) Any justice of the Supreme Court, judge of the Superior Court, judge of the Tax Court or municipal judge while clearly identifiable as being engaged in the performance of judicial duties or because of his status as a member of the judiciary; or Bus & Train Operators (g) Any operator of a motorbus or the operator’s supervisor or any employee of a rail passenger service while clearly identifiable as being engaged in the performance of his duties or because of his status as an operator of a motorbus or as the operator’s supervisor or as an employee of a rail passenger service; or Other Special Victims (h) Any Department of Corrections employee, county corrections officer, juvenile corrections officer, State juvenile facility employee, juvenile detention staff member, juvenile detention officer, probation officer or any sheriff, undersheriff, or sheriff’s officer acting in the performance of his duties while in uniform or exhibiting evidence of his authority; or (i) Any employee, including any person employed under contract, of a utility company as defined in section 2 of P.L.1971, c.224 or a cable television company subject to the provisions of the “Cable Television Act,” P.L.1972, c.186 et seq.) while clearly identifiable as being engaged in the performance of his duties in regard to connecting, disconnecting or repairing or attempting to connect, disconnect or repair any gas, electric or water utility, or cable television or telecommunication service; or Health Care Workers (j) Any health care worker employed by a licensed health care facility to provide direct patient care, any health care professional licensed or otherwise authorized pursuant to Title 26 or Title 45 of the Revised Statutes to practice a health care profession, except a direct care worker at a State or county psychiatric hospital or State developmental center or veterans’ memorial home, while clearly identifiable as being engaged in the duties of providing direct patient care or practicing the health care profession; or (k) Any direct care worker at a State or county psychiatric hospital or State developmental center or veterans’ memorial home, while clearly identifiable as being engaged in the duties of providing direct patient care or practicing the health care profession, provided that the actor is not a patient or resident at the facility who is classified by the facility as having a mental illness or developmental disability; or Other Special Circumstances Causes bodily injury to another person while fleeing or attempting to elude a law enforcement officer in violation of subsection b. of or while operating a motor vehicle in violation of subsection c. of.  Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, a person shall be strictly liable for a violation of this subsection upon proof of a violation of subsection b. of or while operating a motor vehicle in violation of subsection c. of  which resulted in bodily injury to another person; or Attempts to cause significant bodily injury to another or causes significant bodily...

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