Assault Defense Attorneys in Guttenberg, New Jersey
Guttenberg’s annual number of violent crimes is slightly higher than average in New Jersey, and the crime of assault is included in this tally. However, the term “assault” refers to both violent attacks known as aggravated assaults, as well as less serious crimes referred to as simple assaults. The difference between the two is that aggravated assaults are indictable (felony) offenses requiring tougher penalties upon conviction, whereas simple assaults are disorderly persons offenses that permit less sanctions. If you or a loved one has been accused of assault in Guttenberg, New Jersey, it is imperative that you become aware of which type of assault charge applies in your case and the associated implications. As local assault attorneys defending clients in Guttenberg, we provide information concerning the various offenses of assault, the courts you must attend, and the penal exposure attached to each. To speak with an experienced Guttenberg criminal lawyer for clients charged with assault, call (201) 793-8018 today. Consultations are free and our lawyers are happy to provide answers and dedicated defense representation if you enlist our help.
Assault Charges in Guttenberg, New Jersey
Generally, the term “assault” is used to refer to conduct that causes injury to another. To be charged with assault, it must be alleged that you purposely, knowing, or recklessly caused physical harm to another, or that you pointed a firearm at the person. The law recognizes the differences among assault offenses by grading the offenses according to the seriousness of the injuries and associated circumstances. Typically, the degree of injury or harm dictates the grading of the crime. Injuries that are serious or significant result in felony charges being filed for aggravated assault, while injuries that merely cause some discomfort are usually simple assaults (disorderly persons offenses). For instance, punching someone on the arm or grabbing their wrist causes minimal pain and the resulting charge is usually simple assault, a criminal misdemeanor. Conversely, if you slice someone with your pocketknife resulting in a trip to the ER and 10 stitches, you will typically be charged with aggravated assault, as the injury is serious.
Charged with Aggravated Assault in Guttenberg NJ
Aggravated assaults are crimes in which someone suffers significant or serious bodily injury. In cases of aggravated assault, a loss or impairment of any of the senses is considered a serious injury. As you may have read about, a man was recently found in Guttenberg along 70th Street between Broadway and Hudson Avenue. He had been beaten, left for dead, and lay unconscious and was later transported to Palisades Medical Center. Shortly thereafter, the police located two teens who were allegedly responsible for the attack and charged them with indictable crimes of aggravated assault. The man later died because of the injuries and the charges were likely upgraded as a result. This type of assault, one that causes an individual to become unconscious, is much different than one that involves minor cuts, abrasions, or bruises. In this example, the gentleman on 70th Street was unconscious and had to be taken to the hospital. The loss of consciousness and other injuries were the basis of the charges for aggravated assault. If there is no real injury or the injury is minor, the charge will typically be lowered to a simple assault. However, in some instances, you will be charged with aggravated assault even when there is no injury or when the harm is consistent with simple assault.
For example, if you commit an act of simple assault upon a police officer, teacher, or other official, you will be charged with felony aggravated assault, regardless of the seriousness of the injury. The law allows for the charge to be upgraded to a felony because of the alleged victim’s status of employment. In other words, the law seeks to protect those in positions of authority from harm by upgrading lower-level offenses to felony offenses. Similarly, you can be charged with aggravated assault for pointing a firearm in the direction of another person, regardless of whether it is loaded. This offense, if proven, could require you to serve time in state prison if convicted. Additionally, for these offenses, you will be charged, arrested, and possibly held in jail unless and until the court decides to release you. These charges require you to appear before a judge after your arrest and may further require a detention hearing. When aggravated assault charges are filed in Guttenberg, these cases are heard in Hudson County Superior Court.
Facing Guttenberg Simple Assault Charges
For offenses that are not as severe, you will head to Municipal Court upon being charged with simple assault, a disorderly persons offense. If you have been charged with a minor assault in Guttenberg in particular, you will be summoned to Guttenberg Municipal Court. Additionally, when domestic violence is involved, the judge can hold you in county jail until your case is heard and decided. Generally, simple assault cases that do not involve domestic violence are not subject to detention hearings and, instead, the defendant will receive a summons that lists the next court date. In domestic violence cases, however, it is important to speak with an attorney about how he or she can help get you out of jail while your case is pending. The release can be accomplished by negotiating conditions, such as having no contact with the alleged victim, not returning to the scene of violence, or by obtaining treatment. It can also be done through successfully arguing that you are not a flight risk and pose no danger to the victim or the community. Please feel free to visit our page dedicated to detention hearings in domestic violence cases for more information.
Fines and Punishments for Assault Offenses in Guttenberg NJ
The grading of assault offenses and jail terms permitted as a result of the charges depend on the criteria met by the specific case. Specifically, a second degree crime requires significant bodily injury and exposes you to 5-10 years in State Prison if convicted. Probation is not generally allowed if convicted of this offense and the judge has few sentencing options aside from a minimum term in prison. Under the NERA (No Early Release Act), you may be required to serve 85% of your sentence before you can be paroled. Moreover, the fine that can be imposed is $150,000.
As for a third degree crime, this offense requires serious bodily injury or assault on law enforcement, and allows 3-5 years in state prison upon a finding of guilt. Of note, the judge is not required to send you to prison if you have no other convictions. They can, however, direct you to be remanded to the county jail for 364 days. A county jail sentence entails a term of probation as well. The authorized fine is as much as $15,000. Beyond that, you can be charged with a fourth degree crime for assault if you pointed a firearm at anyone, whether loaded or not. If convicted, you are exposed to imprisonment for up to 18 months and may be ordered to pay $10,000 in fines.
Finally, for disorderly persons simple assault charges, the presiding Judge is authorized to sentence you to up to 6 months in jail and require a term of probation. In many cases, such as those involving domestic violence, the court will order you to obtain a domestic abuse evaluation and anger management to address any underlying issues.
Call Guttenberg Assault Lawyers for Answers Today
In a Guttenberg assault case, there are always ways that our attorneys can help. From reviewing the evidence, to navigating the court, we know what to do. To discuss your case with a criminal lawyer defending clients in Guttenberg, contact us today at (201) 793-8018. We are here to provide you with a free consultation.