Assault and Battery
A criminal conviction may carry a stigma. It may affect your ability to get a job, a home, a professional degree, and a license, and it may undermine your social reputation. As violent crimes, assault and battery are taken seriously. However, you should not assume that a conviction is inevitable if you have been charged. There may be strong defenses available. An experienced New Jersey criminal defense attorney may be able to get your charge reduced or dismissed or obtain a lighter sentence. At the Grimes Law Firm, we have the experience to negotiate with prosecutors and take your case to trial if appropriate.Fighting a Charge of Assault and Battery
In New Jersey, simple assault is charged when the prosecutor believes that someone tried to cause or knowingly, recklessly, or intentionally caused an injury to someone else, when someone tried to make someone else afraid of an imminent injury, or when someone negligently caused an injury to someone else with a deadly weapon. Simple assault is a misdemeanor or disorderly person offense. A conviction not involving a mutual fight carries up to six months in jail. However, when an assault happens during a fight involving mutual consent, it is considered a petty disorderly persons offense.
Aggravated assault usually carries a more significant penalty. Prosecutors charge this crime when they believe that someone has recklessly caused a bodily injury to someone else with a deadly weapon, tried to cause or purposefully caused a bodily injury to someone else with a deadly weapon, or recklessly pointed a firearm at someone else. There are some other situations in which aggravated assault is charged because of the status of the victim or the circumstances of the assault and battery. For example, a simple assault on a law enforcement officer is charged as an aggravated assault. You may face up to 10 years in prison for certain aggravated assaults. The length of your prison term will depend on the level of aggravated assault of which you were convicted.
However, there may be times when someone is charged with simple assault, even though they were just defending against someone else's attack or involved in a mutual fight. Under New Jersey Statutes section 2C-3-4(a), using force upon or toward another person is justifiable if the person reasonably believes that this force is immediately necessary for the purpose of protecting themselves against unlawful force by another person.
Basically, self-defense applies if you reasonably believe that force is necessary to protect yourself. However, there are occasions on which the law requires you to retreat because self-defense is not justifiable. This is called a duty to retreat. Whatever force you use in self-defense needs to be proportional to the force being used to threaten you by the other person. For example, if you are punched by someone not carrying a weapon and fire a gun at that person, this is not proportional.
Under New Jersey law, it is also considered justifiable to use force to defend someone else who is in actual imminent danger of serious physical injuries or death. However, you must have had a good reason to believe that force was necessary to protect the other person.Retain an Experienced New Jersey Lawyer When Facing Prosecution
Assault and battery charges are taken seriously in New Jersey. It is crucial to retain an attorney who can evaluate the facts to determine an appropriate defense strategy. At the Grimes Law Firm, we provide knowledgeable representation to criminal defendants in Neshanic Station and elsewhere in Somerset County, as well as throughout the tri-state area. Contact us online or call us at (908) 371-1066 to schedule a free consultation. We also can assist people who need a DUI lawyer or representation in fighting other types of criminal charges.