Table of Contents
- Assault & Threat Charges in Passaic County, New Jersey
- About JFM Criminal Defense Firm
- How a Passaic County Assault Defense Attorney Can Help
- Types of Assault Charges
- What Are Assault and Battery and Their Penalties?
- What Happens When Someone Presses Charges Against You for Assault?
- Things That Can Help to Dismiss Your Assault Charges
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Contact Us Now for Help with an Assault or Threat Charge in Passaic County
Whether it started from a careless statement, an angry comment, or just a misunderstanding, a threat or assault in Passaic County, New Jersey, is a criminal offense that carries serious consequences. If convicted, you could face thousands of dollars in fines and surcharges, plus prison time or probation and a mark on your public record for the rest of your life.
What’s more, if the situation that started the dispute involved domestic circumstances or a law enforcement officer — or if it included the use of a weapon or serious bodily injury — a simple assault charge quickly can escalate to aggravated assault. This can carry a penalty if convicted, ranging from a restraining order to years in prison.
At the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall, our experienced and talented Paterson criminal defense lawyers have a track record of success in representing clients facing criminal charges including assault and aggravated assault in Passaic County. Our legal team has more than 200 years of combined experience handling assault cases, domestic violence charges, and restraining orders.
Our attorneys are dedicated solely to criminal defense and standing up for those facing criminal charges. Some of our lawyers are former county and municipal prosecutors and public defenders who have served as Director of the Major Crimes Bureau, Special Operations, Domestic Violence Unit, Guns Task Force, and even an entire Trial Division. They use the insight gained from those former positions to help represent clients more effectively.
The attorneys at the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall know how to advise you when you’re facing assault or threat charges in Passaic County. We have experience fighting threat and assault charges in communities such as Paterson, Passaic, Clifton, Wayne, West Milford, Bloomingdale, and Little Falls.
We’re here to help you. If you would like the opportunity to speak to a Paterson assault defense attorney, call us today or contact us online. We are available 24/7 to help you, and initial consultations are always free and confidential.
Assault & Threat Charges in Passaic County, New Jersey
Assault and threat charges cover a wide span of offenses in the New Jersey Criminal Code. They range from a shove in a bar, to domestic clashes and disagreements between neighbors, to stalking, making terroristic threats, and volatile physical altercations.
In Passaic County, many threat and assault charges are categorized as second-degree criminal offenses that can result in a prison sentence of 5 to 10 years and a fine of up to $150,000. New Jersey also has a sentencing requirement called the No Early Release Act (NERA), which guarantees that people convicted of certain offenses will serve at least 85% of their sentence before becoming eligible for parole if they have no separate plea agreement. These offenses include second-degree aggravated assault, or N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1(b), and disarming a law enforcement officer, or N.J.S.A. 2C:12-11(b).
We find that because of this penalty, some prosecutors are reluctant to agree to a plea bargain to a lesser offense. However, assault charges do carry several defenses. For instance, you may have acted in self-defense if you had reason to feel that you were in danger. You may not have foreseen that your actions would cause injury. Depending on the situation, a second-degree assault charge may be reduced to third-degree assault, carrying a penalty of 1 to 5 years in prison.
Our Paterson defense attorneys have the decades of experience to review the facts and design a sound defense strategy.
The assault and threat violations that our Passaic County defense attorneys handle on behalf of our clients include:
Disorderly Conduct (N.J.S.A. 2C:33-2) – This encompasses “improper behavior” or offensive language in public, meaning it affects a public place or a substantial group of people, such as in a school, place of business, entertainment venue, highway or apartment house. It can result in up to six months in the Passaic County Jail and a fine up to $1,000.
Simple Assault (N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1) – This is New Jersey’s most basic assault charge. One person attempts to cause, or purposely, recklessly, or knowingly causes, bodily injury to another, or uses physical menace to put another person in fear of such injury. This also can result in a fine of up to $1,000 and up to six months in the Passaic County Jail.
- Battery – Similar to simple assault, battery involves physical contact with a person to cause harm. Fighting is considered battery.
- Aggravated Assault – This is probably the second most prevalent form of indictable crime heard in Passaic County Superior Court. It can involve serious bodily injury, a deadly weapon, pointing a firearm or laser device, using a vehicle as a weapon, assaulting a law enforcement officer, or assaulting someone at a school or community sporting event. Depending on the degree, a conviction can result in a prison sentence of 5 to 18 years in prison and fines from $10,000 to $150,000.
- Assault by Auto
- Death by Auto
- Resisting Arrest
- Obstructing the Administration of Law (N.J.S.A. 2C:29-1) – This involves hindering law enforcement in any fashion, such as providing police with a false name. It can result in up to 18 months in a county jail and a fine that can exceed $1,000.
- Disarming a Police Officer
- Eluding (N.J.S.A. 2C:29-2b) – This includes failing to stop immediately at a law enforcement officer’s request. It can result in 3 to 10 years in prison and fines of up to $150,000, plus a driver’s license suspension for a period of time.
- Reckless Endangerment
- Leaving the Scene of an Accident Involving Serious Injury
- Juvenile Assault
- Robbery/Armed Robbery
- Domestic Assault or Violation of a Restraining Order
- Harassment (N.J.S.A. 2C:33-4) – This is behavior through communications, physical contact, or repetition that alarms or seriously annoys another person. It can result in a fine of $500 to $10,000, depending on degree, as well as prison time.
- Stalking (N.J.S.A. 2C:12-10) – This covers repeated conduct that causes another person unreasonable fear or emotional distress. Depending on degree, a stalking conviction carries a penalty of up to five years in prison and a maximum fine of $15,000.
- Terroristic Threats (N.J.S.A. 2C:12-3) – This involves threatening a crime of violence with specific elements, such as causing evacuation of a building and being in reckless disregard of the risk of causing such terror or inconvenience. It carries a penalty of three to five years in a prison and up to $15,000 in fines.
About Our Passaic County Criminal Defense Firm
Our legal team at the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall believes in a strong defense for all individuals who face criminal charges, including assault and threat charges. We’ve practiced law on both sides of the aisle and use this insider knowledge to help our clients accused of assault and threat crimes in Passaic County.
If you or a family member is suspected of, accused of, or has been charged with an assault or threat crime anywhere in Passaic County, please call us today to discuss your situation and learn about your legal options. Our Passaic County criminal defense lawyers also are available by e-mail.
Our initial consultations are always free, and we’re glad to answer your questions.
How a Passaic County Assault Defense Attorney Can Help
Our defense attorneys have extensive experience in defending individuals who have been charged with assault. If you try to defend yourself in court, you risk losing the protection that is provided to you through the law. It is critical to have an experienced criminal defense attorney who knows the N.J. criminal code and can evaluate and apply all legal defenses against an assault charge.
The job of an assault defense lawyer is to protect your rights. The Passaic County assault defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall understand the types of evidence to seek to strengthen your case. We are highly skilled negotiators with experience in all levels of assault charges. We will do our very best to find a solution for your assault case.
Types of Assault Charges
There are two types of assault in New Jersey: simple assault and aggravated assault. Simple assault is a Disorderly Persons Offense, which carries up to six months in jail as a penalty. Aggravated assault can be either a second-degree, third-degree, or fourth-degree charge.
What Are Assault and Battery and Their Penalties?
The offenses of assault and battery are usually linked. However, many states treat them as two different crimes. An assault occurs when an individual threatens another with imminent bodily harm. A battery occurs when reckless or intentional harm is done to another with or without the use of a deadly weapon. Battery requires offensive physical contact with someone or with an extension of the person, such as their glasses or clothing.
In New Jersey, there are a number of categories for assault. If you commit battery in New Jersey, you will also face an assault charge.
Simple assault is the most basic assault charge in New Jersey and is classified as a disorderly persons offense. A disorderly persons, or misdemeanor, charge can carry up to 6 months in jail and up to a $1,000 fine. An aggravated assault charge can carry up to a 10-year prison sentence and up to a $150,000 fine, if convicted.
What Happens When Someone Presses Charges Against You for Assault?
Many assault charges filed in New Jersey begin with a call to the police by either a family member or significant other. This is known as Domestic Violence. Many times, the alleged altercation has ended by the time police arrive. The police will separate the parties and file an assault charge. This is sometimes done against the victim’s wishes. Even if the victim does not want to press charges, the police will.
If the police see any type of injury to an individual, they are obligated to press charges. Many people assume that the victim can just go to court and ask the judge to drop the charges. This is not true in a criminal case. If you have been charged with assault by the police in Passaic County, only an officer, prosecutor, or judge can drop the charges, and they will not do so without evidence.
Things That Can Help to Dismiss Your Assault Charges
Since it’s the State of New Jersey that brings assault charges against you, not another person, it is up to the prosecutors to decide whether to press charges and go forward with your case.
A skilled and experienced New Jersey criminal defense attorney may be able to use the other person’s unwillingness to cooperate with the prosecution or testify against you to get your case dismissed. The lawyers at the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall have accomplished this for numerous clients throughout Passaic County.
Frequently Asked Questions
At the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall, we get a lot of questions from clients about assault cases. Listed below are a few of the most frequently asked questions. If you have any questions about your particular assault case, contact the knowledgeable Passaic County criminal defense lawyers at the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall.
Criminal threats, or terroristic threats, refer to a situation when an individual intentionally makes a threat of violence. The threat can be made in person, over the phone, or via text or the internet. The threat can be aimed toward a person, a group of people, or it could be a building or a form of transportation, like an airplane or train. Those who make these very serious threats are assumed to have the ability to carry them out.
The best thing you can do if you are facing terroristic threat charges is to hire an experienced New Jersey terroristic threat lawyer. Our attorneys understand the nature of these charges and will work tirelessly to defend you. While everyone has a different defense strategy depending on the facts and circumstances of the alleged crime, your lawyer will most likely seek to prove one or more of the following:
- You did not actually threaten someone.
- You did not intend any harm.
- The statement was made in jest.
- The statement was made in the heat of the moment or out of frustration.
Your lawyer will thoroughly investigate all aspects of your terroristic threat case. An attorney will gather and analyze all pertinent evidence that is being used against you. Your lawyer will try to discredit any evidence that is not in your favor and work to prove that the police should not have charged you given the circumstances at the time of the alleged crime.
As with many other criminal charges, the prosecutor must prove a number of elements to demonstrate that you have committed the crime of communicating threats. The State must show that the threat was communicated. The means by which communicated threats are carried out can vary. The threat may be written, spoken, or communicated by other means that would cause a reasonable person to believe the threat is likely to be carried out.
While communicating threat charges are easy to file, they are often possible to beat with the help of a skilled New Jersey criminal defense attorney. At the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall, we handle cases involving communication of threats throughout Passaic County. We know how the system works and how to best defend you if you are facing a communicating threats charge.
You can argue self-defense, such as in a bar fight or a road rage incident. If you and someone get into any type of altercation and you show that you reasonably feared for your safety, and you needed to act in self-defense to protect yourself, you can beat the charge.
It’s important to note that self-defense is circumstantial. The judge and jury will consider a range of factors, including the size of the alleged victim, and whether weapons, alcohol, or other individuals were involved. An experienced criminal defense attorney can work to paint a picture for the judge to show that, based on the circumstances, you had reason to use self-defense.
According to New Jersey law, verbal threats fall under three different categories:
- Disorderly Conduct – According to the law, any time someone is offended by another’s “offensively coarse or abusive language” it can be considered disorderly conduct. This carries a fine of $500 and up to 30 days in jail.
- Harassment – A verbal threat can be considered harassment if it involves physical contact and injury. Unlike disorderly conduct, harassment involves physical contact.
- Maintaining a Nuisance – This typically means one individual or entity can cause a problem for a significant segment of the population. For example, you pass by a construction site every day, and each day, the construction workers at the site yell harmful things at you. Let’s say the harassment continues even after you report the nuisance to the workers’ employer. This means the construction company, or whichever business employs the workers, could be held liable for their employees’ behavior.
Contact Us Now for Help with an Assault or Threat Charge in Passaic County
If you have been charged with assault or threat, contact the Passaic County criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall today. We have been defending people accused of assault in Passaic County for decades. No matter the level of the charge you are facing, the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall is prepared to put together a defense with the goal of reducing your charges, minimizing fees and penalties, or even getting your charges dropped altogether.
Contact us today to schedule a free and confidential consultation.