Experienced Lawyer Providing Guidance for Clients Accused of Simple or Aggravated Assault Charges in Jersey City
An assault charge is generally defined as someone’s action against another person with the intention to do bodily harm. In New Jersey, the law distinguishes between two categories of assault: simple and aggravated. Both carry significant penalties for the accused party, but only aggravated assault is considered a felony.
Simple assault is considered a misdemeanor, also known as a disorderly person’s offense. It consists of harming someone on purpose or as a result of negligence or merely threatening to harm someone with the intent to intimidate. While it is the least serious of assault charges, simple assault is still considered a violent crime and can even result in fines, jail time, and a criminal record. A person found guilty of simple assault may be subject to up to 6 months in prison and a $1000 fine.
What is an Aggravated Assault Charge in Jersey City? How Much Time Can You Get?
In New Jersey, penalties for aggravated assault vary greatly depending on the circumstances in which the crime occurred and the extent of injuries or damages that resulted from it. It usually entails elements such as the use of a deadly weapon or commits any act that may be seen as a disregard for human life or causes serious injury to another person. Certain circumstances may cause a simple assault charge to become aggravated assault, such as threatening a police officer or attacking a school teacher.
Aggravated assault is a more serious violent offense and is considered a second, third, or fourth-degree felony with severe penalties. Those convicted in the second degree are subject to 5 to 10 years in prison and a fine of $150,000.00. The second degree is the most severe instance with the harshest penalties, followed by third degree (three to five years in prison and a maximum $15,000.00 fine) and fourth degree (up to 18 months in prison and a maximum $10,000.00 fine). In addition, being sentenced for aggravated assault means a permanent criminal record that may not be eligible for removal or expungement, as well as ineligibility for parole until 85 percent of the sentence has been served.
How Can an Aggravated Assault Charge be Dismissed?
Being charged with assault does not mean the accused person has been sentenced. For this reason, working with a knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer is the most important step you can take to try and reverse the aggravated assault charge into a misdemeanor, or reduce its severity when possible.
When dismissing the charge is impossible, a criminal defense attorney in Jersey City can explore the possibility of constructing a strategy using a self-defense justification. According to N.J.S.A. 2C:3-4, the use of a deadly weapon against an intruder to someone’s home is justifiable if the accused party believed that deadly force was necessary to protect him or herself and others from the trespasser. A similar strategy can be used to justify the defense of property.
When sentencing someone for aggravated assault, a judge may consider several factors, including whether this is the person’s first time committing a violent offense. If the defendant is a first-time offender, an attorney might be able to persuade the judge to issue a probation sentence rather than jail time, and may also be able to argue that the defendant may benefit from counseling or substance abuse treatment rather than spending time in prison.
What Should I Do If I Have Been Charged With Assault in New Jersey?
If you are dealing with law enforcement, you will want to avoid making matters worse. Cooperate with police, ask for your right to remain silent, and contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. At the Law Offices of Keith Hirschorn, P.C., our team is well-versed in all aspects of New Jersey Assault Laws and can help you navigate troubling times and protect your rights during the investigation and your case.
Our firm will carefully analyze the evidence and how it was gathered and dig deep into the circumstances of your case to build a strong legal defense. Assault crimes are usually prosecuted assertively throughout the state, so contacting a criminal defense lawyer immediately is key to maximizing your chances of a fair outcome. Call our Jersey City office at 201-798-4024 to learn about your options.