New Jersey residents remain under a stay-at-home order, and the state’s courts have all but closed in order to maintain social distancing during the coronavirus outbreak. So, if you are arrested for assault in New Jersey, what do these two facts mean for your criminal case?
You Will Still Be Prosecuted for Assault
First, to be absolutely clear, you will still be prosecuted for assault. While the courts may have suspended most proceedings, this does not mean that prosecutors are simply going to ignore arrests during the coronavirus outbreak. Simple assault is a disorderly persons offense in New Jersey, and aggravated assault can be prosecuted as either a second, third or fourth-degree indictable offense. This means that you could be facing anywhere from six months to 10 years of incarceration, plus a fine of $1,000 to $150,000.
You May Also Be Prosecuted for Violating New Jersey’s Stay-at-Home Order
Second, you could also be prosecuted for violating New Jersey’s stay-at-home order. If you were away from home when you were arrested, then you were most likely in violation of the order. While New Jersey police are certainly not citing everyone who violates the order, if you are already being arrested for another offense, the police could decide to charge you with violating the order as well.
According to the New Jersey Law Journal, state Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal has said that prosecutors in New Jersey, “are strictly enforcing the Governor’s Executive Orders during this public health emergency, and those who refuse to comply will face serious legal consequences. . . . Those consequences include potential criminal charges ranging from a disorderly persons offense to second-, third- and fourth-degree indictable offenses.” While charges for indictable offenses will most likely be reserved for cases in which individuals put multiple people at risk, even a disorderly persons charge carries the potential for six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.
Your Case Will Go to Trial . . . Eventually
Finally, unless you negotiate a plea deal, at some point in the future your assault case will go to trial. When it does, you need to have your trial defense ready. There are multiple potential defenses to simple assault and aggravated assault in New Jersey, and you will need to engage an experienced criminal defense lawyer to determine what defenses you have available. Depending on the circumstances involved, potential defenses to assault in New Jersey criminal court include:
- Diminished capacity or insanity
- Inadequate proof
- Self-defense or defense of others
- Unconstitutional search or seizure
- Other violations of your constitutional rights
Speak with a New Jersey Criminal Defense Lawyer in Confidence
The New Jersey criminal defense lawyers at Helmer, Conley & Kasselman, P.A. represent individuals statewide in simple assault and aggravated assault cases. With centuries of combined legal experience, our lawyers can help you avoid unnecessary consequences. If you need legal representation, call 877-435-6371 or contact us online for a free and confidential consultation today.
Over 20 attorneys at HCK have extensive criminal defense experience as they were former assistant prosecutors and/or police officers for a combined total of over 600 years of law enforcement experience. You can find out more about them on our website, and you can call Managing Partner Ron Helmer on his cell phone at 609 685-0665.