New Jersey Simple Assault charges are considered Disorderly Persons offenses (misdemeanors). You face up to six months in jail & a $1000.00 fine if you plead guilty or are found guilty. Your simple assault charges must be taken sincerely since a conviction for this crime would stay on your record for 5 years.
A simple assault conviction will affect your ability to get & maintain employment when your background check is conducted.
If you are facing simple assault charges, we understand that you are concerned & we will help you. But keep in mind that your situation could be much worse. You could be facing felony charges for aggravated assault. With simple assault charges you are out of felony danger and going to jail is highly unlikely.
Let’s get into NJ simple assault now!
A person is guilty of simple assault if the person:
(1) Attempts to cause or purposely, knowingly or recklessly causes bodily injury to another; or
(2) Negligently causes bodily injury to another with a deadly weapon;
(3) Attempts by physical menace to put another in fear of imminent serious bodily injury.
We represented a client in Hackensack, NJ charged with simple assault. They accused him of pushing another man in a bar. During our client’s free consultation he explained that he did not push anyone. He insisted that he was the victim. At our first NJ court appearance, we met with the prosecutor & explained our side of the story. As expected, the prosecutor requested proof of our self-defense claim. We appeared before the judge & requested a brief 30-day adjournment to conduct our own investigation. Through our investigation, we got video surveillance from the bar & our client was telling the truth. He was not the aggressor. We went back to court & after meeting with the prosecutor he agreed to dismiss the criminal charges.
In another case, our client was facing simple assault charges in Newark. Our client had been having trouble with his neighbor for years & one-day things escalated. They exchanged insults & our client slapped his neighbor. The whole incident was captured on a smartphone video. This time we could not assert self-defense. The case against was strong & our client was in the wrong. We successfully admitted our client into the conditional dismissal program. We kept him out of jail & his criminal charges were dismissed.
In our last example, one of our Jersey City clients lost his temper with a co-worker. His co-worker had been making fun of our client’s weight issues & our client lost it. He punched his co-worker in the chest. Since he did not act in self-defense, we could not get his criminal charges dismissed. However, we showed the prosecutor evidence that our client was provoked & we reached a plea deal where the simple assault charges would be downgraded. Again, we kept our client of jail & kept his record clean.
You will have to admit what you did under oath. This option will leave you with a criminal conviction. It will stay on your record for 5 years before it can be expunged. And it will show up a background check.
Plead Guilty to a Downgraded Charge
This is one aspect of plea bargaining. Instead of admitting that you committed a simple assault against someone, we will work out a deal with the prosecutor where you plea guilty to a lesser offense.
Go To Trial & Get Acquitted
This means that the Municipal court judge listened to all of the evidence & decided that you are not guilty of committing simple assault.
Go To Trial & Get Convicted
This means that the judge listened to all of the evidence & decided that you did commit simple assault.
Legal defenses to simple assault will vary according to the facts of your case. This type of crime is fact-sensitive & much depends on the evidence against you.
Simple Assault Defenses include
1. Self-Defense –
This defense boils down to “I was protecting myself”. You had no other choice but to commit a simple assault (punch, slap, push) because you were protecting yourself. As a society, we recognize that people are allowed to avoid harm & protect themselves.
2. Mistaken Identity Defense –
This involves a situation where you did not commit a simple assault at all. The police made a mistake and arrested the wrong person. You may have been at the bar or party, but another person committed the simple assault.
3. Alibi –
This is another situation where you did not commit simple assault because you were nowhere near the scene of the crime. We show the judge & prosecutor proof that you were somewhere else.
“Simple assault is a disorderly persons offense unless committed in a fight or scuffle entered into by mutual consent of the parties in which case it is a petty disorderly persons offense.”
Mutual combat is a good way to either get your charges downgraded or dismissed. Since you and the person you injured understood that you would be “fighting” then there is not a real victim. The “Mutual Combat” defense is commonly raised with high school and college kids.
If you plead guilty or are found guilty of Simple Assault, you can expunge the arrest and conviction after five years.
If you are acquitted at trial, you will not have a conviction. However, you will need to expunge the “arrest” record.
If you use the Conditional Dismissal program, you will need to wait one year to expunge your arrest record.
It is extremely important to expunge the record of your arrest because this will pop up on any & all background checks.
Although appeals can be expensive, it’s definitely worth the money to try.
If you feel that you didn’t get a fair trial or that certain evidence was irrelevant, an appeal is a way to go.
I highly recommend that you hire an aggressive, criminal lawyer to represent you for your appeal.
There are specific steps that must be taken to (intelligently) file an appeal.
Please do not try to do this alone, get help!
You or a loved one have been arrested. Understandably, you are terrified & have a lot of questions. You’ve heard about plea bargains & probation, but the process is overwhelming. You want a local attorney near you to represent you.
Mr. Peyrouton is from Ridgewood & handles all types of criminal matters in New Jersey complex as well as nearby cities. The New Jersey Law Journal recently published one of his articles on the subject of criminal law.
Regardless of the criminal charges you are facing, we are here to defend & protect you. Whether you are facing a restraining order, drug charge, theft charge, or aggravated assault charge, we are here to help you. Even a DWI case can really complicate your life.
If we can’t get your charges dismissed, we can either get them downgraded or place you in a diversionary program. The point is, our criminal defense lawyers will fight tirelessly to get you the best result possible. Take advantage of our free consultation to see how we can help.
Below, you will find a few of our practice areas.
Our Hackensack criminal lawyers represent clients in Bergen County & nearby counties & cities.
There are plenty of excellent Hackensack criminal lawyers in our area. Most, if not all of them, offer free, 20-minute, consultations. However, our free consultations do not have a time limit. You will never feel rushed.
The best way for us to help you is to patiently listen to your side of the story. Your version of events will serve as the basis for your legal defense. It is during these initial meetings that your memory of the event is fresh in your mind. Why would we rush you during such an important aspect of your case?
We understand that your choice of attorney could mean the difference between your freedom and spending years behind bars.
When you hire an attorney, you are entering a long-term relationship. For this reason, it is important that you feel comfortable with the team of Hackensack criminal lawyers that will represent you.