Atlantic City Assault Defense Lawyers
In Atlantic City and throughout New Jersey, a person who intentionally causes bodily harm to someone else can be charged with assault. Assault is not a simple charge as there are many ways a defendant can be charged with assault. Generally, assault is either simple or aggravated. Simple assault is typically a somewhat lesser offense and is often charged as a disorderly persons offense. Aggravated assault is much more severe and is charged as a more serious violent crime.
If you are charged with assault, you will need an experienced criminal defense attorney who can analyze your charges and determine the best defense strategy for your case. For some, this may mean fighting the charges in court. For others, this may involve negotiating a plea agreement. How you handle your case is very important because the difference in sentencing for simple and aggravated assault is quite significant. Simple assault is often penalized with a brief stay in jail of 6 months at most. Aggravated assault could be punished with years in state prison.
If you are charged with assault, you should discuss your case with our experienced Atlantic City assault defense lawyers. Our team has the experience and skills to fight your charges and protect your rights. Arrange a free consultation with our staff by calling the Law Offices of John J. Zarych at (609) 616-4956.
Simple and Aggravated Assault Charges in Atlantic City
Assault charges are either charged as simple assault or aggravated assault. Simple assault may be charged when a person purposefully causes bodily harm or injury to someone else. It may also be charged if the harm is caused through negligence but involves a deadly weapon. For example, a person playing around with a gun that accidentally goes off and shoots someone may be charged with simple assault. Physical menace or intimidation that puts someone in fear of bodily harm may also be simple assault.
Aggravated assault is more severe and the bodily harm is often much more serious. The circumstances surrounding aggravated assault may be similar to those for simple assault. However, a defendant guilty of aggravated assault will have caused the victim much more serious bodily harm. Aggravated assault could also be charged if the defendant acted so recklessly that their behavior demonstrates indifference to human life. Aggravated assault may also be charged when specific victims are assaulted, including law enforcement officers, teachers, firefighters, emergency responders, and others.
Consult with our team of Atlantic City assault defense lawyers about your charges. It is not uncommon for defendants to be charged with aggravated assault only for their charges to be later downgraded to simple assault. Our team can also help you understand the nature of your charges and the possible penalties that lie ahead.
Penalties for Assault Charges in Atlantic City
Aggravated assault is considered much more dire than simple assault, so it is punished far more harshly. Simple assault is often charged as a disorderly persons offense. This offense is similar to a misdemeanor that may be charged in other states. Disorderly persons offenses are punishable by no more than 6 months in jail. In cases where the simple assault occurred due to a fight that both parties mutually entered, the charges may only be for a petty disorderly persons offense. Such charges are punishable by no more than 30 days in jail.
Aggravated assault charges are charged as crimes, which are akin to felonies in other jurisdictions. Depending on the nature of your aggravated assault charges, you could be facing charges for a fourth, third, or second-degree crime. For fourth-degree aggravated assault, you may be punished by a prison term of no more than 18 months. For a third-degree crime, you could go to prison for at least 3 years but no more than 5. Finally, you may be penalized for a second-degree crime with a prison term of at least 5 years but no longer than 10.
Speak with our Atlantic City assault defense attorneys right away about your charges.
Defenses for Assault Charges in Atlantic City
Assault is a violent offense that often requires a purposeful and knowing intent. The charges are also determined by the level of harm caused to the alleged victim. Exactly how the assault occurred will also play a role in determining your charges. Our Atlantic City assault defense lawyers can review your case and help you craft the most effective defense strategy possible.
You may defend yourself against assault charges by arguing the harm to the victim or the circumstances surrounding the alleged assault. For example, if you harmed the alleged victim only because you felt threatened and acted in self-defense, you may have grounds to fight your charges. You can also argue your own intent involved in the offense.
Negotiating a Plea Agreement for Assault Charges in Atlantic City
In many cases, defendants are first charged with aggravated assault and as more evidence becomes known, the charges are reduced to simple assault. For example, you could be charged with aggravated assault for beating someone up in a bar. However, if it is later revealed that the victim entered that fight willingly, your charges could be reduced.
Many assault charges are reduced through plea agreements. In these cases, prosecutors agree to reduce assault charges in exchange for a guilty plea from the defendant. To negotiate a plea agreement, we do not have to definitively establish any facts. Instead, we can show the prosecutors how their evidence does not support your charges, but instead supports lesser charges.
Our Atlantic City assault defense lawyers can use the details of your case to negotiate a more favorable plea agreement. Serving a sentence for simple assault is much better than serving one for aggravated assault.
Contact Our Atlantic City Assault Defense Attorneys for a Legal Consultation
If you or someone you know has been charged with simple or aggravated assault, you must speak with a lawyer as quickly as possible. Our team of Atlantic City assault defense attorneys will work towards the best possible outcome for your case. Schedule a free consultation by calling the Law Offices of John J. Zarych at (609) 616-4956.