Winslow NJ Simple Assault Lawyers
Criminal Defense Attorney for NJ 2C:12-1(a) Charges in Camden County, New Jersey
The term “simple assault” is deceiving. As anyone who has been charged with simple assault knows, these cases are far from simple. In New Jersey, simple assault refers to an assault charge that is less severe than aggravated assault. While aggravated assault is an indictable felony, handled at the Superior Court level, simple assault is classified as a disorderly persons offense, which is adjudicated at the local municipal court in the municipality in which the alleged offense occurred. Charges for simple assault can arise in a variety of situations, in public places such as bars, restaurants, and stadiums, or at home in the context of domestic violence. A typical simple assault charge is punishable by a criminal charge on your record, a fine of up to $1,000, and up to 6 months to be served in the county jail. When simple assault occurs in an alleged domestic dispute, these criminal charges may also be accompanied by a temporary restraining order, which requires a separate proceeding in New Jersey family court. Regardless of the circumstances that gave rise to your charges, it is crucial to protect your rights, your reputation, and your innocence.
Attorney William Fay has dedicated his life to defending clients facing New Jersey criminal charges, including simple assault, terroristic threats, unlawful possession of a weapon, and sexual assault. Recognized for his extensive knowledge and experience, Mr. Fay has fought tirelessly to deliver superior results for clients in courts in Camden, Voorhees, Haddonfield, Cherry Hill, Waterford, Oaklyn, Runnemeade and Haddon Township. He uses his prior service on behalf of the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office. The outcomes that he is able to secure for his clients illustrate the skill and ferociousness with which he approaches the law, attacking the State’s case to achieve the best possible outcomes. To discuss your case with Mr. Fay today, contact his offices at 609-832-3202 for a cost-free consultation.
What does Simple Assault Mean in Cherry Hill NJ?
New Jersey law describes the charge of simple assault in section N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1(a) of the New Jersey Criminal Code. With regard to simple assault, the statute provides the following:
A person is guilty of a simple assault if he or she:
(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; or
(3) Attempts by physical menace to put another in fear of imminent serious bodily injury.
Notice, there are several important terms contained within this statute. First, a person can be charged with simple assault even if he or she does not actually cause bodily injury. The mere attempt to cause bodily injury, or to put someone in fear of such injury, can provide grounds for a simple assault charge. In addition, simple assault can be committed purposely, knowingly, recklessly, or negligently. Let’s examine each of these terms in more detail.
A person commits an act “purposely” when he or she has the intention of achieving a specific outcome, meaning that he or she wants the result to occur. A person commits an act “knowingly” when he or she is aware that the conduct will likely result in a specific outcome. A person commits an act “recklessly” by disregarding the risk that the conduct will likely result in a specific outcome. For instance, when a person drives recklessly, he or she disregards the likelihood of causing a car accident. Lastly, a person acts “negligently” by committing conduct when they should have been aware of the risk of producing a certain outcome.
Remember, it is important for you to understand that you can be charged with simple assault even if you do not actually follow through on the assault. That’s because the criminal statute also stipulates that a mere attempt to cause bodily injury to someone else is subject to the same provisions and penalties as an action that actually causes bodily injury when the standard is “purposely,” “knowingly,” or “recklessly.”
What are the Penalties for Simple Assault in New Jersey?
As mentioned above, simple assault is a disorderly persons offense, which is similar to a criminal misdemeanor. As such, a conviction for simple assault may result in a sentence to serve up to 6 months in the county jail, a maximum fine of $1,000, and a charge on the defendant’s criminal record. If simple assault is committed in the context of domestic violence, a guilty verdict will also prevent the defendant from obtaining a permit to purchase a firearm in New Jersey for the remainder of his or her life.
What is Considered a Deadly Weapon in a Simple Assault Case?
New Jersey law defines what a weapon is in section NJSA 2C:11-1(c). According to this broad definition, a deadly weapon can mean virtually any item, firearm, device, material, substance, or instrument capable of causing serious bodily injury or death, or which by the manner it is fashioned indicates that it is capable of producing such death or injury. Notice that under simple assault law in New Jersey, you need only cause bodily injury negligently with a deadly weapon to be found guilty of simple assault.
Will I be Arrested for Simple Assault?
If you are going to be charged with simple assault, you will be arrested and taken to the police station where the charges will be filed. What happens after that, however, depends on whether your case involves straight simple assault or there is a domestic violence aspect. New Jersey law now requires a detention hearing for individuals charged with simple assault in domestic abuse scenarios. This means that a judge needs to review the circumstances surrounding your 2C:12-1(a) charge, you must undergo a public safety assessment, and the prosecutor has the option to file a motion requesting your continued detention until your case concludes. This can obviously compound the criminal penalties you are already facing, as you may be held in jail if it is determined that you are a flight risk, pose a danger to the alleged victim or the public, or that no set of conditions will assure the safety of the community and your appearance in court. If you are facing an upcoming detention hearing for an assault charge, criminal defense attorney William Fay can fight for your release and your rights through the duration of the case. Make sure to contact our office to speak with a lawyer.
What If I’m Facing a Simple Assault Charge for the First Time?
If this is the first time you have been charged with simple assault or any other crime in New Jersey, you may be able to avoid a jail sentence with the assistance of a skilled criminal defense attorney. Even if you plead guilty to the charges, the judge may opt to sentence you to probation or issue a suspended sentence so that you can stay out of jail. Moreover, a lot of simple assault charges can be pleaded down to lesser offenses like disorderly conduct or criminal mischief, depending on the circumstances of the case and the willingness of the prosecutor to offer reduced charges in exchange for a guilty plea.
Keep in mind, however, that if your simple assault resulted in serious injuries being suffered by the victim, it might not matter that it was your first offense – the prosecution may seek maximum penalties regardless of your lack of any prior criminal history. Additionally, if your assault case involved the use of a firearm, you may be subject to enhanced or additional criminal charges for a weapons offense and could face prison time.
Can Simple Assault be Expunged in NJ?
It is possible to remove a simple assault conviction from your record through what is known as an expungement. When a person’s conviction or arrest record is expunged, it means that the record is sealed so that it is no longer accessible by the public. The expungement process allows anyone who has been convicted of a disorderly persons offense like simple assault to have their arrest, charge, conviction, and related records and other information rendered inaccessible after a period of time has passed since the date of conviction or since any jail/probationary sentence was completed. Sometimes, disorderly persons offense convictions can even be expunged earlier by showing compelling circumstances.
If you are seeking to expunge a simple assault offense, it is in your best interests to speak with an attorney to see about your eligibility and the steps that will be necessary in expunging your case. A lawyer who regularly handles expungements at our firm can walk you through the entire process and take care of everything involved in expunging your record on your behalf. Simply contact us to discuss your unique situation and learn more.
Contact a Pennsauken NJ Simple Assault Attorney for a Free Consultation
If you or someone you love has been charged with simple assault in Camden County or elsewhere in South Jersey, your best defense is a proactive one. Contact our firm at 609-832-3202 for additional information and a cost-free consultation.