West New York Assault Attorney
Charged With Assault in West New York NJ?
In West New York, New Jersey, a charge of assault will be heard in either the local Municipal Court or county Superior Court. The location of court depends on the severity of the charge and particularly, whether it is an indictable crime N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1(b), disorderly persons offense N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1(a), or other lesser-included offense. The penalties for each offense can be severe, no matter whether you are in West New York or anywhere else in the State of New Jersey when assault charges have been filed against you. While hiring any licensed attorney is permissible, it is preferable for those accused of crimes to hire criminal defense attorneys familiar with both West New York Municipal Court, as well Hudson County Superior Court. The prosecutors in these courts can quickly spot an attorney who is not familiar with the criminal system or the key players in these local courts. Our lawyers have been defending clients charged with assaults and other acts of violence in West New York and Hudson County for over a decade. With countless happy clients along the way, we are committed to delivering the best results in your case and making sure you are kept informed and engaged in the process every step of the way. To talk through your case and your options, contact a dedicated West New York assault lawyer at William Proetta Criminal Law today at (201) 793-8018. We offer around the clock free consultations.
Assault Charges in West New York NJ
West New York Aggravated Assault Lawyer – N.J.S.A. 2c:12-1(B)
An aggravated assault is a felony level offense (indictable crime). The degree of crime that you have been charged with can be a second, third, or fourth degree. The level of the crime is usually listed on the complaint, which sets forth the details of the allegations as well. Any level indictable crime creates an avenue for the court to impose a term of state prison upon conviction. The degree of the crime dictates the prison term range, as well as any discretion the judge may have in sentencing you. In cases involving aggravated assault, the incarceration term can be as much as 10 years and as little as 18 months. The following is a basic guide to examples of felony level assault charges and their potential punishments:
- Second degree aggravated assault: Examples include assaults in which serious bodily injury is inflicted or instances during which persons elude police in motor vehicles and put others at substantial risk of harm as a result.
- Third degree aggravated assault: Third degree assaults are the most commonly charged aggravated assault crimes and may include conduct in which the accused: 1) causes injury with a deadly weapon, 2) commits assault upon a law enforcement officer/health care worker/pubic official/teacher/emergency services worker, 3) intentionally points a firearm at law enforcement or knowingly points an imitation firearm at law enforcement, 4) uses a laser device against an officer, 5) drives drunk and causes serious bodily injury or drives aggressively, thereby causing an injury, 6) or strangles or obstructs the airway of another person during an act of domestic violence, or assaults anyone who is a qualified victim under the prevention of domestic violence act.
- Fourth degree aggravated assault: A fourth degree assault can occur when the accused: 1) causes an injury with a deadly weapon while acting recklessly, 2) points a firearm at another regardless of it being loaded, or 3) causes bodily injury as a result of driving a motor vehicle recklessly.
West New York Simple Assault Attorney – N.J.S.A. 2c:12-1(a)
A simple assault is a disorderly persons offense and considered much less troublesome than an indictable crime, but this can be misleading. While the penalties are relatively lower and the court cannot sentence you to any more than 6 months in jail nor more than a $1,000 fine, this will be reflected on your criminal record. Having an assault related conviction in your past can present serious problems later in life when people inquire about your criminal history or lack thereof. This is especially true when having immigration issues, seeking college admissions, applying for jobs and loans, or trying to secure housing.
Will I Go to Jail for Assault in West New York NJ?
The potential prison ranges and additional penalties for assault charges are as follows:
- Second degree assault: finding of guilt allows a sentence of 5-10 years in prison and in some cases, 85% is required to be served before parole (NERA). Fines of $150,000 and restitution may be ordered as well;
- Third degree crimes of assault: a sentence of 3-5 years in prison, $15,000 in fines, and restitution can be ordered, but the judge may also order probation without jail time or as much as 364 days in the county detention facility.
- Fourth degree assault charge: upon conviction, you can be given probation up to 18 months in prison, as well as a $10,000 fine.
- Disorderly persons assault offense: repercussions can include up to 6 months in county jail and a maximum fine of $1,000.
Lesser Included Offenses and Options for West New York Assault Cases
Occasionally, some offenses are considered to be “lesser included” offenses of other higher-level criminal charges. At a very basic level, a lesser-included offense means that a person has committed similar acts of criminal conduct that are less egregious than their more serious counterparts. The degree of the lesser-included offense can be one degree lower, or several. The lesser included may even bring a charge down from a felony (indictable) to a misdemeanor (disorderly persons offense). The practical impact of being found guilty, or pleading guilty to a lesser included offense often spells the difference between state prison or not going to jail at all. The level of the offense and nature of the conduct directly corresponds to the severity of the punishment. This can be a very complicated area of the law and if not handled correctly in aggravated assault cases, you can be penalized with prison for anywhere from 5 to 10 years.
Logically, it is better to be found guilty of a fourth degree felony assault charge, as opposed to a second degree. The Judge has wider latitude when sentencing a person for a lower level offense, as does the prosecutor in negotiating a plea deal. As such, at a trial or during plea negotiations, knowledgeable criminal defense lawyers may ask the judge to include a jury charge of a lesser included offense for lower degree assault charges. It is unlikely that an inexperienced attorney will understand the nuances of requesting lesser included offenses of assault, underscoring the need to find the most well-equipped criminal lawyer to handle your assault defense, whether it be in West New York or somewhere else in New Jersey. In a case charging second degree aggravated assault, it is possible in certain situations to ask for jury charges/instructions including simple assault, third, or even fourth degree crimes if the statute permits. This could make a tremendous difference in the outcome and the effect upon you and those that love you.
If the facts permit, and reasonable assertion can be made, you could avoid conviction on a second degree crime and only be found guilty of a simple assault. Arguing for lesser-included crime and making the appellate record takes experience. If your attorney does not argue for the lower level offenses after a jury trial, you are not guaranteed another chance. For aggravated assault cases, determinations will be made in Hudson County Superior Court. If we are successful in arguing for a lesser included offense or downgrade, you could get by with a much lesser sentence, and you may even be a viable candidate for such dismissal programs as Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI). Also, the case could be downgraded to a disorderly persons offense or even dealt with in West New York Municipal Court. A dismissal outright may also be achievable if the facts and circumstances so warrant.
West New York NJ Assault Defense Attorney – Call Today
Knowing everything that can be done to defend your assault case is the best way to protect yourself. For additional information and a free consultation with an experienced lawyer handling assault charges in West New York and Hudson County as a whole, call (201) 793-8018 or send us a message now.