Hackensack Simple Assault Defense Lawyers
With offices at 254 State Street in Hackensack, New Jersey
Any kind of physical altercation in New Jersey can result in serious criminal charges and severe penalties. Simple assault is a common form of violent crime, considered a disorderly persons offense, which is basically a criminal misdemeanor. If you are convicted of simple assault, you could be looking at jail time, as well as a permanent blemish on your criminal record. Do not take any chances when it comes to your freedom or your future. Contact an experienced attorney today.
Travis J. Tormey is an experienced criminal defense and drunk driving (DWI) attorney who represents clients charged with simple assault, aggravated assault, and disorderly conduct in New Jersey. Mr. Tormey appears regularly in courts throughout Bergen County, including Lodi, Hasbrouck Heights, and Montvale. He has handled criminal cases for years and focuses his practice solely on criminal defense and drunk driving defense. Mr. Tormey previously collaborated with the United States Attorney’s Office and worked closely with the gang task force, the white collar unit, and the sex crimes unit.
Contact Mr. Tormey’s Hackensack office anytime at (201)-330-4979 for a free consultation about your case and see below for additional information about simple assault charges in New Jersey.
Understanding Simple Assault Charges in New Jersey: An Overview
Simple Assault Charges in New Jersey: N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1(a)
Simple assault is a disorderly persons criminal offense in New Jersey. The crime is governed by N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1(a). The statute prohibits a person from purposely, knowingly, or recklessly causing bodily injury to someone else. It is also considered simple assault to attempt to inflict bodily injury, or to negligently cause bodily injury using a deadly weapon. Lastly, a person can commit simple assault when attempting to put another person in fear of serious physical injury by physical menace. The NJ criminal code sets forth the scenarios in which an individual can be charged with simple assault in New Jersey. According to the statute, a person is guilty of simple assault if they:
- Purposely, knowingly, or recklessly cause bodily injury to another person.
- Negligently cause bodily injury to another person while using a deadly weapon.
- Use physical menace to put another person in fear of imminent serious bodily injury.
Simple assault is typically classified as a disorderly persons offense, which means that the penalties can be severe. A disorderly persons offense is punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 and six months in the county jail. However, if the alleged simple assault was committed in a mutual fight or scuffle, it is a petty disorderly persons offense. These kinds of offenses are punishable by a $500 fine and up to 90 days in jail. Additionally, if the alleged simple assault was committed in a domestic violence incident, a restraining order may also be issued.
Petty Disorderly Persons Offense, Disorderly Persons Offense, or Indictable (Felony) Assault Charges in NJ
An assault can have a wide array of consequences depending on how the charge is graded. This is up to the police officers making the arrest. The lowest charge is a mutual fight which is a petty disorderly persons offense, the lowest level criminal charge in New Jersey. The second option is a simple assault which is a disorderly persons offense. A third option is a third degree aggravated assault felony charge which is punishable by 3-5 years in prison. The fourth option is a second degree aggravated assault which is punishable by 5-10 years in prison.
The degree of the charge will depend on the facts and circumstances of the incident, the nature and extent of the injuries to the alleged victim, whether or not a weapon was involved, etc. Just because an incident is charged a certain way, it doesn’t mean that the charges can not later be dropped down to a lower offense. The typical form of simple assault is the disorderly persons version. Nonetheless, a simple assault charge can be upgraded to aggravated assault, the felony version, if the victim of the assault is a police officer, prosecutor, judge, employee of a school, or similar public servant. It also becomes a more serious charge if simple assault happens in the presence of minors aged 16 or below, which is common at youth sporting events.
In some cases, a disorderly persons offense for simple assault can be negotiated to be reduced to a lesser offense, such as disorderly conduct. In other scenarios, an experienced lawyer can resolve a simple assault case by way of an agreement to anger management or similar counseling. There are also effective defenses that can be used to get these charges dismissed altogether, allowing the defendant to avoid a criminal conviction on their record.
Expunging a Simple Assault Offense in New Jersey
Depending on how the case is resolved, simple assault can be expunged after the applicable waiting period has been satisfied for those eligible. A typical disorderly persons offense conviction is usually eligible for expungement after 5 years, and you can expunge up to 5 of these offenses as long as you have no felony convictions on your record. Moreover, a simple assault charge may be expunged in 3 years if you can demonstrate compelling circumstances. If you do have a felony on your record, you can expunge simple assault plus up to 2 other disorderly persons offenses, if at least 5 years has passed since the last case sentence was completed. If the simple assault charge is dismissed, it becomes eligible for expungement immediately. Further, if the charge is dismissed through successful completion of a diversionary program, the arrest and documents associated with the case can be expunged 6 months following the program’s completion.
Call The Emerson Attorneys at The Tormey Law Firm to Discuss Your Simple Assault Case
For immediate assistance regarding your simple assault charges in New Jersey, contact our Bergen County office location at (201)-330-4979 or use our online contact form to schedule a free consultation. One of our experienced criminal defense attorneys will look over the details of your case and help you determine the best strategy going forward.