Common Questions about Simple Assault in New Jersey
October 18, 2019
If you have been charged with simple assault in New Jersey, you likely have a number of questions. Will you go to jail if you get convicted? If so, for how long? Will you have to remain in jail until your trial? What happens if the alleged victim of the assault does not want to proceed? Here, we offer answers to these common questions and explain what you should know about simple assault charges in New Jersey. If you have been arrested, you should speak with legal counsel about the circumstances of your specific case to position yourself for the best result. Call our highly experienced Union County criminal defense attorneys at (908) 838-0150 to learn more and we can provide tailored answers based on the unique facts of your case. We offer free consultations 24/7, so feel free to contact us anytime if you are facing a simple assault charge.
Will I be Kept in Jail during a Simple Assault Case?
In short, if you are charged with simple assault, you will probably not be kept in jail until your case is resolved. Assuming that you are not accused of domestic violence by a spouse, child, boyfriend or girlfriend, or other person in a defined domestic relationship with you, you likely will be released after arrest and booking, and given a court date for your first appearance. Simple assault in New Jersey is generally charged as a disorderly persons offense, as opposed to an indictable offense, so you will not typically be held in pretrial detention on that charge. Simple assault can even be charged as a lower-grade petty disorderly persons offense if you were arrested after getting into a mutual fight with another person. However, there is a significant exception to this rule, which applies to cases involving domestic violence.
Under New Jersey’s Bail Reform Law, only a defined set of eligible defendants are typically required to remain in jail until their trial. These eligible defendants have normally been charged with indictable offenses, also known as felony charges, or with non-indictable offenses that involve domestic violence. If you have been charged with simple assault in a domestic dispute or another domestic violence situation, you must be detained for at least 48 hours pending a detention hearing. The prosecutor in your case has the option to file a motion to keep you in detention because you are a risk to the alleged victim. At that point, the judge at your bail hearing may decide that you should remain in jail until the case is resolved. You should absolutely have a defense lawyer representing you at your detention hearing, as you are at risk of being held for the duration of your simple assault case.
Will I go to Jail for Simple Assault?
If you have been charged with simple assault, there is a potential jail sentence attached to this offense under New Jersey law. However, simple assault does not carry a mandatory minimum term of incarceration, which means that you may not have have to serve time in jail. The maximum jail term you can receive after a disorderly persons offense conviction for simple assault is six months, while the maximum term for a petty disorderly persons offense conviction is 30 days. If convicted or you plead guilty to simple assault, judges consider your criminal history, the facts of your offense, and a number of other details in determining whether to sentence you to jail, community service, or some other punishment. Remember, you do not have to simply accept the possible sentence when facing simple assault charges. You have the right to obtain a criminal defense attorney who can defend your innocence and pursue all of your available options to avoid jail time. You may be able to enroll in anger management, be put on probation, have the charges downgraded, or even get your simple assault case dismissed outright to prevent serving any time in the county jail.
What if the Alleged Victim Doesn’t Want to Move Forward with the Case?
In certain situations, the person identified in your police report as the victim of an assault may not wish to press charges or testify against you. Maybe you got involved in a fistfight between individuals who wanted to settle their disputes privately and the other party tells the police that they are not interested in testifying against you. Or perhaps the supposed victim says it was simply an argument between the two of you and there’s no reason for police to get involved. Unfortunately, the case does not simply go away at that point. In the criminal justice system, the state brings criminal charges against you, not another person. It is up to a prosecutor to decide whether or not to press charges against you and proceed with your case. However, a skilled defense lawyer may be able to use the other person’s unwillingness to cooperate with the prosecution or testify against you to get your case dismissed. Our attorneys have done this for numerous clients in New Jersey. Contact us to learn more and see if this may be an option for you.
Should I Hire a Lawyer for a Simple Assault Charge in Union NJ?
Whether you have been charged with simple assault after getting into a bar fight, being accused of assault in a domestic dispute, or allegedly being involved in another type of physical altercation, our criminal defense lawyers are thoroughly prepared to defend your case. Call (908) 838-0150 or send us a message for a free consultation and begin devising your defense strategy today. From our local offices in Cranford, we defend clients in all areas of Union County and surrounding towns, including Linden, Clark, Elizabeth, Scotch Plains, Westfield, Berkeley Heights, Summit, Short Hills, and New Providence.