Assault Charges with Plastic Surgery Downgraded to Ordinance


Our simple assault lawyers recently defended a client who had been arrested after getting into a fight with another patron at a bar after the two women exchanged words in the ladies bathroom. According to the police report the argument came to a head and got physical with our client getting the better of her opponent in the fight. However, this was probably the worst thing that could have happened because even though it was our client’s standpoint that the other woman started the fight, she didn’t have any injuries, while the other woman had a laceration under her eye and more scratches on his nose and neck. The police were not there to witness it so they conducted an investigation by interviewing both women and witnesses. During the interviews our client did admit that it was a verbal argument that became physical and that she did grab the other woman’s neck and causing her injuries. Based on our client’s statement to police and the visible injuries to the other woman, our client was arrested for simple assault under 2c:12-1a, which is a disorderly persons offense.

Based on the charges, the case was sent to municipal court for prosecution. This was a great sign since they did not upgrade the charges to an aggravated assault based on the injuries. However, after going to court for the initial appearance, it became obvious that the alleged victim was out for blood and very adamant that our client get prosecuted to the fullest extent under the law because she claimed that she needed plastic surgery for the laceration under her eye that she had allegedly suffered during the fight. After it became obvious that we could not reason with the alleged victim we had the case set down for a final status and subpoenaed the officer involved. Based on our discussions with the police officer and the prosecutor we were able to ascertain that there was no independent evidence that our client was the actual aggressor in the fight and if it went to trial it would simply be a “she said, she said”. Therefore, based on the lack of proofs to prosecute the case successfully, we were able to have the charges downgraded to a local town ordinance with a just fine. The great news is that an ordinance does not result in a criminal conviction and we were able to further protect our client by convincing the judge to grant a civil reservation so that our client’s plea cannot be used against her in any civil proceedings if the victim tries suing her. If you or your family member has been involved in an incident like the one above, feel free to give us a call today at (732) 659-9600 to discuss your options and what we may be able to do for you during a free consultation.

State v. K.L. decided November 16, 2017

With more than a decade of experience defending clients against criminal charges, founding partner William A. Proetta has successfully handled and tried thousands of cases, from DWI to murder. As a New Jersey native, he has focused his career on helping people in the area where he grew up, serving Middlesex, Ocean, Hudson, and Union counties.