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New Jersey Criminal Battery Lawyer

Battery is a serious criminal accusation. If convicted of battery in New Jersey state court, you can face substantial fines, long-term imprisonment, and other penalties. If you have been accused of domestic battery, the consequences of a conviction could be even more severe. To protect yourself, you need to have a strategic defense, and this starts with hiring a New Jersey criminal battery lawyer to represent you.

What Constitutes Battery in New Jersey?

The crime of battery is generally defined as making harmful physical contact with another person. This can involve punching, slapping, kicking, pushing, throwing objects or any other form of physical contact that results in bodily injury to the victim.

Technically, battery is a form of assault under New Jersey law. New Jersey does not have a separate battery statute like many other states. So, when talking about the crime of battery, it is necessary to focus on the relevant provisions of the state’s assault law. This appears in Section 2C:12-1 of the New Jersey Statutes.

Under Section 2C:12-1, acts of battery that can lead to criminal prosecution include:

  • Purposely, knowingly or recklessly causing bodily injury to another
  • Purposely, knowingly or, under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life, recklessly causing serious bodily injury
  • Negligently causing bodily injury with a deadly weapon
  • Purposely, knowingly or recklessly causing bodily injury with a deadly weapon
  • Causing bodily injury while fleeing or attempting to elude law enforcement or while driving a stolen vehicle

What Constitutes Domestic Battery in New Jersey?

New Jersey takes cases of domestic violence very seriously. Unfortunately, even facing accusations can have immediate consequences, and protecting your name, reputation and freedom can be extremely difficult. But, an experienced New Jersey domestic battery lawyer can help, and seeking legal guidance right away will give you the best chance of avoiding unnecessary consequences.

In New Jersey, the crime of domestic battery is defined as committing an act of battery against a “protected person.” Under the New Jersey Prevention of Domestic Violence Act (PDVA), protected persons include:

  • Current and former spouses and domestic partners
  • Current and former boyfriends and girlfriends
  • Other adults who live in (or used to live in) the alleged attacker’s household
  • Emancipated minors who live in (or used to live in) the alleged attacker’s household
  • Parents of shared children and individuals with whom the alleged attacker expects to have a child if the alleged attacker or victim is pregnant

What are the Penalties for Battery and Domestic Battery?

Fines and Imprisonment for Criminal Battery

Like most crimes, the penalties for battery and domestic battery depend on the circumstances involved. Under Section 2C:12-1, battery can be charged as a petty disorderly persons offense, a disorderly persons offense, or a fourth, third or second-degree indictable crime. The penalties for these crimes are as follows:

  • Battery is a petty disorderly persons offense when it involves a “fight or scuffle entered into by mutual consent.” In these cases, defendants can face up to a $500 fine and 30 days in jail.
  • Battery is a disorderly persons offense in cases involving bodily injury (as opposed to serious bodily injury) unless the case also involves a deadly weapon. When charged as a disorderly persons offense, battery carries up to a $1,000 fine and six months in jail.
  • Battery is a fourth-degree indictable crime in cases involving reckless conduct resulting in serious bodily injury or bodily injury caused by a deadly weapon. When prosecuted as a fourth-degree indictable crime, battery carries up to a $10,000 fine and 18 months in prison.
  • Battery is a third-degree indictable crime when it involves purposely or knowingly causing bodily injury with a deadly weapon. Third-degree indictable crimes carry up to a $15,000 fine and three to five years in prison.
  • Battery is a second-degree indictable crime when the defendant is accused of causing serious bodily injury purposely, knowingly, or under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life. It is also a second-degree crime if choking is involved and in cases involving attempts to avoid law enforcement or the use of a stolen vehicle. Second-degree crimes carry up to a $150,000 fine and 5 to 10 years in prison. A conviction for a second-degree aggravated assault requires that 85% of the prison sentence be served before a person can be paroled. Also, three years of special parole must be served after the person is released from prison.

These are the general rules for the most common types of battery charges. There are exceptions, and various factors can reduce or elevate the penalties that are on the table in a battery case in New Jersey. A New Jersey criminal battery lawyer at Helmer, Conley & Kasselman, P.A. can tell you the specific penalties you are facing in your battery case.

Additional Consequences in Domestic Battery Cases

In addition to these penalties, individuals who are convicted of domestic battery can face other serious consequences. For example, the judge may enter a restraining order against you that:

  • Prohibits you from entering your own home
  • Prohibits you from visiting the alleged victim’s home, school or work
  • Prohibits you from possessing guns or other weapons
  • Prohibits you from engaging in various activities
  • Requires you to undergo psychiatric evaluation and treatment
  • Requires you to undergo alcohol and/or drug evaluation and treatment
  • Requires you to pay the alleged victim’s legal fees
  • Prevents you from acting as a coach for kids in sports or even church activities
  • Prevents you or terminates you from working in certain professions (e.g. nursing), or results in suspension (e.g. attorneys) from your profession.
  • Prevents you from traveling to some countries (e.g. Canada) or some locations (e.g. military bases)
  • Prevents you from obtaining security clearance or causes you to lose it.

If you get convicted of domestic battery in New Jersey, you could also be deemed an “unfit” parent, which could mean losing your custody or visitation rights. A domestic battery charge can negatively impact your rights in other family-related legal matters as well.

When Should I Hire a New Jersey Domestic Battery Lawyer?

Since facing accusations of domestic violence can have immediate consequences, you should hire a New Jersey domestic battery lawyer right away. There are several ways to fight battery charges — including presenting evidence that you have been falsely accused. Self-defense, defense of others, and other defenses may be available to you as well, and an experienced New Jersey domestic battery lawyer will thoroughly examine the facts of your case to determine what defenses to make on your behalf.

Talk to a New Jersey Criminal or Domestic Battery Lawyer in Confidence

If you are facing a battery charge in New Jersey, you need experienced legal representation. To speak with a New Jersey criminal or domestic battery lawyer in confidence as soon as possible, call 877-435-6371 or send us your contact information online now.


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