Working with a Criminal Defense Attorney: How to Defend Yourself Against a Simple Assault Charge

Although a simple assault charge sounds minor, it is not the case. In New Jersey, any kind of assault is considered serious and a simple assault charge can have the victim staying in jail and paying fines. Also, penalties can include probation, electronic monitoring, and restitution to the victim. In fact, the accused can lose their right to own or possess firearms. 

If you have been charged with a simple assault, there are ways to get it reduced or dismissed. But for this to happen, you need the assistance of a skilled New Jersey criminal defense attorney. Your lawyer can review your case and help you understand how to fight the charges filed against you. 

What Constitutes a Simple Assault?

Under New Jersey statutes, a simple assault includes inflicting or trying to inflict bodily harm to another person, negligently causing injury by using a deadly weapon, and trying to put a person in fear of severe injury. 

Simple Assault vs Aggravated Assault

Compared to aggravated assault, a simple assault is less serious. For an assault to be considered an aggravated type, it involves a person causing or trying to cause serious bodily injury to another. Simple assault is a misdemeanor while aggravated assault is an indictable crime with a lot of degrees, making it a felony. In general, aggravated assault carries more serious penalties than simple assault. 

Simple Assault Penalties

If a person is convicted of simple assault, they can be in jail for up to six months and pay up to $1, 000 in fines. Also, the convicted will have a permanent criminal record, making it harder for them to get employment secure housing, and take advantage of certain academic opportunities. These consequences are not easy to live with, so those who are facing a simple assault charge must retain an attorney to design a defense strategy for them.

Potential Defenses to Use

A defense attorney will use the appropriate defense strategy to fight the simple assault charge you are facing. These include arguing that the assault happened because of self-defense. Your attorney will have to prove that you were in immediate danger and should protect yourself from the illegal force used against you. Also, you should prove that you were somewhere else when the crime was committed. Another defense your attorney can use is the possible expiration of the statute of limitations. In addition, your attorney can challenge the filing of the charges if it was done beyond the statute of limitations. 

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