Are you facing assault charges in Mercer County? No matter what happened that led to your arrest, you should know there are many ways to successfully fight these charges. An experienced Mercer County assault defense lawyer can craft a strong case arguing for the charges against you to be dropped or reduced. Your attorney will be your advocate every step of the way, fiercely fighting for the best possible outcome for you.
At Keith Oliver Criminal Law, we have years of experience defending the rights of our New Jersey neighbors across a wide variety of criminal cases. Contact our firm today to discuss your case with us in a free and confidential consultation.
Types of Assault Charges Our Mercer County Law Firm Can Help With
At Keith Oliver Criminal Law, our Mercer County assault defense attorneys handle a wide range of cases involving:
- Simple assault – Under NJ Statute Section 2C:12-1, simple assault is defined as attempting to cause bodily injury to another person; purposely, knowingly, or recklessly causing bodily injury to another person; negligently causing bodily injury to another with a deadly weapon; or attempting to cause another person to fear imminent harm through “physical menace.”
- Aggravated assault – There are many different criminal actions that meet the definition of aggravated assault in New Jersey. Generally speaking, aggravated assault occurs when someone attempts to cause serious bodily injury to another person; purposely or knowingly causes serious bodily injury to another person while acting with “extreme indifference”; or recklessly causes bodily injury to another person with a deadly weapon.
- Sexual assault – Sexual assault occurs when a person engages in unlawful sexual penetration of another person through physical force or coercion or under other specific circumstances, such as with a person less than 13 years old, with a person who is at least 13 but younger than 16 and who is no more than four years younger than the alleged offender, or with a person who is at least 16 but less than 18 who is related to or subject to supervision by the alleged offender.
- Assault of an officer – Assault of an officer occurs when a person commits simple or aggravated assault against a law enforcement officer, firefighter, emergency medical worker, school staff member, government employee, correctional officer, or healthcare worker.
- Assault with an auto – Assault by auto or vessel occurs when a person operates a motor vehicle or vessel in a reckless manner that causes another person bodily injury or serious bodily injury.
How a Mercer County Assault Defense Attorney Can Make a Difference for You
New Jersey assault laws can be difficult to understand, so it’s best to work with a skilled defense attorney if you find yourself facing charges. At Keith Oliver Criminal Law, our seasoned defense lawyers can help you by:
- Identifying valuable evidence – Our attorneys can investigate the scene of the alleged assault, interview witnesses, and examine relevant documentation to uncover useful evidence for your defense.
- Evaluating police officer conduct – Our lawyers know how the police are supposed to conduct themselves and can identify irregularities in arrest, search, or seizure procedures.
- Navigating the criminal justice system – Our skilled attorneys understand how the local judicial system operates, and we often maintain lasting relationships with prosecutors and law enforcement, which can be incredibly useful when building a case or negotiating a deal.
- Protecting your rights and future – Our attorneys can offer you seasoned legal advice, help you understand what to expect from the legal process, and work hard to have the charges against you reduced or even dismissed entirely. We go above and beyond to protect your freedom and your future.
What Are the Penalties for an Assault Conviction in New Jersey?
Unlike most states, New Jersey does not categorize crimes as either misdemeanors or felonies. Instead, minor crimes are prosecuted as “disorderly persons offenses” or “petty disorderly persons offenses.” More serious offenses are known as “indictable crimes.” Indictable crimes are further separated into different “degrees,” ranging from less serious fourth-degree crimes to the most serious first-degree crimes.
Depending on the circumstances, assault can be prosecuted as either a disorderly persons offense or an indictable offense in New Jersey. For instance, simple assault is typically considered a disorderly persons offense. If an assault was the result of a consensual fight, however, it may be charged as a petty disorderly persons offense. At the other end of the spectrum, aggravated assault is considered an indictable crime ranging from the first to the fourth degree, depending on the nature of the assault and the alleged victim.
Penalties for various types of criminal charges in New Jersey include:
- Petty disorderly persons offenses – Up to 30 days jail time and $500 in fines
- Disorderly persons offenses – Up to six months jail time and $1,000 in fines
- Fourth-degree crimes – Up to 18 months jail time and $10,000 in fines
- Third-degree crimes – Three to five years prison time and up to $15,000 in fines
- Second-degree crimes – Five to 10 years prison time and up to $150,000 in fines
- First-degree crimes – 10 to 20 years prison time and up to $200,000 in fines, though sentences and fines may be longer and greater for certain crimes
What Are the Common Defenses in Assault Cases?
When you trust Keith Oliver Criminal Law to handle your case, a knowledgeable lawyer will work to establish a strong foundation for your defense. Potential avenues your attorney will explore include:
- Mistaken identity – You were erroneously identified as another individual who is actually responsible for the assault, either based on an honest mistake or unlawful profiling based on protected characteristics.
- Faulty evidence – Law enforcement or prosecutors based the charges on evidence that is false, faulty, or fabricated.
- Unreliable witnesses – Witnesses who have been called to testify against you are unreliable or provided false information.
- Police misconduct – The officers who arrested you are guilty of misconduct, such as an illegal arrest, search, or seizure.
- Self-defense – You only injured another person because you were trying to defend yourself or your property from someone else.
- Defense of another – You only injured another person because you were trying to protect someone else, such as a minor who couldn’t defend themselves.
- Consensual fighting – You injured another person during a physical fight that you both agreed to take part in.
- Accidental assault – You injured another person as the result of an accident, such as tripping and falling into someone else.
Where Do I Go to Court for an Assault Case in Mercer County?
The location where you may need to appear in court in Mercer County will depend on the nature of the assault charges against you. If you are facing disorderly persons offense charges for simple assault, you will need to go to the nearest municipal court. However, if you are facing charges for an indictable crime, your case will be transferred to the Mercer County Superior Court in Trenton, N.J.
How to Post Bail for Assault Charges in Mercer County, New Jersey
New Jersey courts have switched away from a cash bail system to a risk assessment system. Under this new system, it’s no longer possible to simply have a friend or family member show up at a local station and post money for your release.
Instead, if you are charged with a Complaint-Warrant, you are subject to New Jersey’s Bail Reform Act. Under this act, you must be transferred from a local police station to the Mercer County Jail for 24 to 48 hours for a risk assessment conducted by pretrial services.
After your risk assessment is completed, the prosecution will review your results and determine whether you are eligible for bail release. If you are considered high risk, the prosecution may file a motion for detention, and a judge will conduct a hearing to decide whether to release or detain you pending trial.
Your Defense Comes First: Get Help from a Mercer County Assault Lawyer Now
The criminal defense attorneys of Keith Oliver Criminal Law fight for the best interests of clients throughout Mercer County and the surrounding New Jersey areas. If you are facing assault charges in New Jersey, contact us today to learn more about your legal options in a free and confidential case review.