Bergen County Strangulation Defense Lawyers

Representing Clients Charged with Domestic Violence Assault by Strangulation in Hackensack and Northern New Jersey

Need a Lawyer for Strangulation Aggravated Assault Charge Bergen County NJ

Strangulation is a serious and often lethal action, which can occur in a variety of circumstances including domestic violence. The nature of strangulation is up close and personal. As such, it is unfortunately not uncommon to see this crime perpetrated within personal relationships and/or when passions are running high. It also requires persistent action and a choice to continue the act moment to moment, rather than other crimes of assault that may truly be a decision made in one single, fleeting moment. These are some of the reasons that strangulation is regarded by our society as a particularly disturbing act.

In New Jersey, the legislature has taken specific action to address the crime of strangulation, in light of its prevalence and dangerous role in domestic violence cases. If you are accused of strangulation in Bergen County, such as East Rutherford, Elmwood Park, Englewood, Fort Lee, Garfield, Lodi, Lyndhurst, Mahwah, Hackensack, or Paramus, it is critical that you equip yourself with a knowledgeable and skilled criminal defense lawyer. Our criminal defense attorneys are poised to defend your innocence and protect your rights against serious second degree aggravated assault by strangulation charges. Contact us today at (201)-330-4979 for a free consultation.

NJ Law Criminalizing Strangulation

Strangulation used to be charged under New Jersey’s general assault statutes. However, in 2021 New Jersey Governor Murphy signed into law an update that created a separate crime for non-fatal strangulation. Of course, strangulation that results in death is charged as murder. Due to the particularly disturbing and personal nature of strangulation, and its prevalence in domestic violence cases, New Jersey wished to create a separate statute for the crime of strangulation, rather than lumping it in with other types of assaults.

By separating strangulation from other assault crimes, the legislation aimed to raise awareness about the lethal nature and significant harm caused by strangulation. The separate statute also allows more severe penalties for strangulation and ensures that the cases are treated with the appropriate level of gravity by law enforcement, prosecutors, and the courts.

Legal Elements of a Strangulation Charge Under NJ Law N.J.S.S. 2C:12-1(b)(13)

Under N.J.S.S. 2C:12-1(b)(13), strangulation is a second degree indictable offense defined as purposely or knowingly preventing a person from breathing normally by putting pressure on their neck or throat or blocking their nose or mouth. In order to be found guilty, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant took those actions, that their actions impeded the normal breathing or blood circulation of the victims, and that the defendant’s actions were purposeful or knowing.

It is a common misconception that pressing charges against a defendant for strangulation and other domestic violence offenses is the victim’s choice. This is not correct. It is the prosecutor’s decision whether to bring charges. Particularly in severe domestic violence cases, there are many reasons why a victim may choose not to press charges, but the prosecution may continue with its case even if a victim is uncooperative.

New Jersey Bail Reform Laws Now Impact How Bail is Determined in Strangulation Cases

Hackensack Strangulation Defense Attorneys Bail reform laws were enacted in New Jersey in 2017, moving away from a monetary, cash bail system to focus on a risk-based analysis for determining which defendants should be released pending trial and which must be held in detention pending trial. Under the bail reform law, anyone charged with a domestic violence offense, including strangulation, must be held in detainment until a detention hearing.

Before a detention hearing, a probation officer will generate a Public Safety Assessment (PSA), which provides information about a defendant’s risk of flight or committing another offense if released pending trial.

At a defendant’s detection hearing, the PSA will be reviewed and the judge will consider the defendant’s prior criminal record and the nature of the charged offense, with special consideration on the violent nature of the present offense or prior offenses. The judge will also consider the defendant’s age, ties to the community, and whether they have failed to appear in court before.

In the case of strangulation, the particularly violent and life threatening nature of the act may suggest to the judge that there is a significant risk to the victim if the defendant were released. In research and reports leading to the enactment of a new criminal statute for strangulation, the offense was found to be one of the most significant predictors for a future homicide in the context of domestic violence. Still, a defendant is entitled to a detention hearing and a myriad of factors will be considered by the judge.

What Happens if I’m Convicted of Aggravated Assault Strangulation in NJ?

If convicted for strangulation in New Jersey, a second degree offense, a defendant will face serious sentencing penalties including fines of up to $150,000 and a prison sentence of 5 to 10 years.

It is also possible for those charged with strangulation to also be charged with attempted murder, if the prosecution believes it can prove that it was the defendant’s purpose to kill the victim. It is very likely that the court will also issue a restraining order against the defendant to protect the victim. A temporary restraining order (TRO) will first be issued and then, after a hearing, the order may be made final by the court.

Contact a Fort Lee Strangulation Attorney for Your Best Defense

If you are facing strangulation charges, your freedom, reputation, and future opportunities are on the line. Ensuring that you have an experienced and knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer by your side is critical to avoiding or reducing these potential consequences. At our Bergen County criminal defense firm, our attorneys can represent you at your detention hearing, arguing for your release from detention prior to your trial. We will conduct a thorough investigation into your case to determine what defenses, if any, may be applicable in your case.

Then, our criminal lawyers will determine if there is any opportunity to get the charges against you dismissed or reduced. Finally, if your case proceeds to litigation, we will represent you at trial, ensuring that the best possible defense is put forward, by submitting evidence that supports your side of the story, challenging any evidence submitted by the prosecution when applicable, calling witnesses to testify on your behalf, and cross-examining any witnesses presented by the prosecution.

For more information about your particular strangulation case and how we can help defend you against these serious second degree charges, we encourage you to contact us today at (201)-330-4979 to request a free consultation with our team of experienced and dedicated criminal defense lawyers. With local offices in Hackensack, we defend clients charged with aggravated assault by strangulation in Bergen County, including Ridgefield, Teaneck, Palisades Park, Wyckoff, Bergenfield, Cliffside Park, and Ridgewood.


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