Simple assault is commonly charged against people who unwittingly find themselves in precarious situations. This is even more true in places that are more densely populated than others and locations that have more commercial attractions, naturally lending themselves to gregarious behavior. North Bergen, while maintaining a small-town vibe, is one of the most densely populated towns in the state of New Jersey. The location across the Hudson, the population, and the fact that it is an urban enterprise zone attracts visitors. With the various bars and restaurants along Bergenline Avenue, it is often the site of arrests for those charged with simple assault, not to mention the domestic disputes, sporting events, and escalated arguments that may give rise to a North Bergen simple assault charge.
Known as “Havana on the Hudson” for its majority of Spanish speaking residents and the large influx of Cuban emigres, North Bergen, located on the Hudson Palisades, is New Jersey’s hilliest and highest in population density, nearly 65,000 residents within its 5 square miles. Its main commercial and transit path, Bergenline Avenue, is the longest avenue in the state, featuring hundreds of retail stores along the expanse of the township, portions of which feature halved sales tax as one of 32 Urban Enterprise Zones to stimulate the economy.
Home to the James J. Braddock North Hudson County Park, named after the early twentieth century North Bergen boxer who made boxing history as an unlikely heavy weight championship, and the 34-story Stonehenge apartment building towering over the Palisades, North Bergen, Hudson County, borders Bergen County to the north and the Hudson River across from Manhattan, New York. Visitors enjoy a diverse population and geography as the town borders water on the Hudson Waterfront Walkway and Bulls Ferry to the Racetrack section along Bergenline and Kennedy, to the Palisades’ rocky cliff fronts. Connected to the rest of New Jersey and New York by Route 495, which connects to the New Jersey Turnpike, Route 3 and U.S. Route 1/9 on the west, and 501 and CR505 on the east, this small town sees a massive influx of people across two states. It also sees a consistent and formidable amount of crime. As such, the city ranks 67% on the crime index, with 100 being the safest.
If you have been charged with simple assault in North Bergen, you need a zealous advocate. The fact is that, if charged with simple assault, you can remain in jail until your case is tried, you will have a criminal offense on your record (and potentially a conviction), and you may be sentenced to 6 months in the county jail, among other serious penalties. This can happen even if you never set out to commit a simple assault against anyone. With this in mind, it is imperative to seek knowledgeable legal counsel from an experienced North Bergen criminal defense attorney who can help assess your individual case and determine the best course of action to reach the optimal outcome. Contact our dedicated team of North Bergen simple assault lawyers at Proetta & Oliver for a free consultation today and get the answers you need when facing a simple assault charge. You can reach us 24/7 online or by calling (201) 793-8018.
Facing North Bergen Simple Assault Charges
Simple assault is an offense that is routinely charged because it encompasses a wide array of prohibited conduct. Most people charged with simple assault never set out to harm anyone. Sometimes, simple assault charges arise when no one experiences any injury. However, as situations arise, things happen and before you know it, you are in handcuffs and in jail waiting to see a judge. But, to be found guilty of simple assault, the state must prove that you violated the law under N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1(a).
Causing bodily injury
Simple assault under N.J.A.A. 2C:12-1 is broken down into three categories. First, the statute makes it an offense to cause or attempt to cause bodily injury to another. Bodily injury simple means that the other person experienced some type of pain. The act of simple assault can occur either purposely, knowingly, or recklessly. This means that the state must prove that you intentionally caused injury to another, that you knew you would cause harm or, that you ignored the risk that you could cause harm. This provision does not require that you harm someone. Instead, it only requires someone to testify as to your actions and that you intended harm. Your intentions are often proven or attempted to be proven through acts and observations of those present at the time of the alleged offense. This is perhaps the most commonly charged provision of simple assault, as it covers conduct that has not even caused an injury to anyone.
For example, bar fights routinely act as a springboard for simple assault claims. As people drink, their inhibitions lessen, their courage increases, and often angers flare. All it takes is one person to make a remark to another and before you know it, someone takes a swing. Even if the person throwing the punch misses, they can be charged with the offense of simple assault because they “attempted to cause harm.”
Negligently causing injury with a deadly weapon
Under section two of the statute, if you negligently cause injury to another person with a deadly weapon you can be found guilty of simple assault. Generally, the injury caused was an accident and not something you intended. Say, for instance, you have a knife and you throw it down and it hits someone in the foot but you did not mean to hurt them. You could be charged with simple assault if there was any injury. Essentially, the law makes it an offense to disregard the risk of hurting someone with a weapon.
Putting someone in fear of imminent bodily injury
The third and last provision of the simple assault statute allows the police to charge you with simple assault if you attempt to put someone else in fear of injury by some type of conduct. For example, if you pick up a baseball bat and begin swinging it around and come close to hitting someone, or act as though you will hurt someone, you can be charged. The court will take into consideration what the other person felt when the conduct occurred, as well as your intentions.
If the police make a complaint for simple assault under an of the above provisions, you may be held in jail until the case comes before the court, depending on the circumstances.
Consequences of a North Bergen Simple Assault Offense
In most cases, simple assault is charged as a disorderly persons offense and not a felony. In New Jersey, crimes are charged as either indictable/felony offenses, disorderly persons offenses (misdemeanors) or petty disorderly persons offenses. Unlike felony offenses, you cannot be sentenced to state prison for a disorderly persons offense. However, if convicted, you can be sentenced to county jail for 180 days and be ordered to pay up to $1000 in fines. Additionally, you must pay a $75 Safe Neighborhood Fund Fee, a $50-$100 Victims of Crime Compensation Association (VCCA) fee, $33 in court costs, up to $25 per month to be supervised on probation, restitution for any out of pocket expenses suffered by the alleged victim, and, if the case involves domestic violence, another $100 domestic violence surcharge.
A simple assault charge will also remain on your criminal record unless expunged, which means that it will be visible to employers who perform background checks. Furthermore, if the charge involves domestic violence, the alleged victim may seek a final restraining order to prohibit you from contact with him or her, as well as family members or others named as “protected persons” in the restraining order against you.
When a person is accused of simple assault in North Bergen, the charges will be heard in North Bergen Municipal Court, at 4225 Bergen Turnpike, North Bergen, NJ 07047 at a time and date set forth by the court for your first appearance.
Charged with Simple Assault in a North Bergen Domestic Violence Case
Perhaps the most devastating revelation a person may have about being arrested for simple assault if associated with domestic violence is the fact that you will be lodged in jail upon being charged. No amount of bail can be posted to get you or your loved one out immediately. Since bail reform in 2017, police and prosecutors are required to put you in jail until the court can assess your risk to the community. In most cases, you are held for 24 hours while the assessment is pending and thereafter, the prosecutor can file a detention motion to permanently detain you until the resolution of your simple assault case.
In cases involving domestic violence, the prosecutor has the option to make a motion to detain you even if the alleged victim does not want to prosecute or does not obtain a restraining order. Most detention hearings involving simple assault stem from an alleged act of domestic violence. Simple assault is considered a violent offense even though no real injury may be present. As such, the court and the prosecutor have an interest in protecting the alleged victim and may choose to hold you. Either way, you will be given your first appearance date and the court will advise you of your municipal court date, at which the merits of the case can be argued.
Having an attorney at this stage may prove critical to your release. If you are facing a bail hearing after being charged with simple assault in North Bergen, our skillful attorneys can advocate on your behalf, present the facts to the judge, and vigorously argue for your immediate release.
Consult a North Bergen NJ Simple Assault Defense Lawyer Today
Simple assault may not be the most serious charge under the law, but the impacts of an arrest and conviction can be devastating. When you have a simple assault case in North Bergen, New Jersey, the arrest, potential detention, and continued prosecution can wreak havoc on your personal and financial life. If you or a loved one have been arrested for simple assault in North Bergen, contact our local criminal law office immediately for a free consultation. Our criminal defense lawyers can be contacted anytime at (201) 793-8018 if you need help with a North Bergen simple assault case. You can also fill out our convenient online form to request to speak with a lawyer free of charge.