Have you been arrested on an assault charge in Monmouth County? Many assault crimes carry stiff penalties, including serious jail time, significant fines, and the long-term consequences of having a criminal record. But remember: An arrest does not automatically lead to a conviction. A Monmouth County assault defense lawyer from Keith Oliver Criminal Law can help you fight the charges against you and move forward with your life.
Our firm offers personalized attention to every person who comes through our doors. Our trusted Monmouth County criminal defense attorneys listen to your story, discuss your options, and craft a defense aimed at achieving the best possible outcome. We have a long track record of successfully handling assault crime cases ─ securing dismissals, acquittals, and other beneficial resolutions for our clients.
Reach out to Keith Oliver Criminal Law today for a free case review with a knowledgeable Monmouth County assault defense lawyer.
Our Firm Defends Against All Types of Assault Charges
At Keith Oliver Criminal Law, our skilled criminal defense attorneys represent clients facing charges such as:
- Simple assault – The offense of simple assault occurs when a person causes or attempts to cause bodily injury to another, negligently causes bodily injury with a deadly weapon, or puts another person in fear of imminent serious injury.
- Aggravated assault – Aggravated assault may be charged when someone causes or attempts to cause serious injury with extreme indifference, recklessly causes injury with a deadly weapon, or assaults a first responder or school bus driver while they are on duty.
- Sexual assault – A person may be charged with sexual assault for an act of sexual penetration, usually involving force or coercion applied on the victim, a minor victim, or a victim whom the perpetrator had disciplinary or supervisory control over.
- Aggravated sexual assault – Aggravated sexual assault is charged for acts of sexual penetration involving severe physical injury to the victim, the use of a weapon or the assistance of one or more individuals, or involving a victim suffering from a mental or physical incapacity, a victim under the age of 13, a victim who is in a familial relationship with the perpetrator, or a victim who is subject to supervisory or disciplinary control by the perpetrator.
- Criminal sexual contact – The offense of criminal sexual contact involves intentionally touching the intimate parts of a victim, or a perpetrator touching their own intimate parts, for the sexual humiliation of the victim or the sexual arousal or gratification of the perpetrator.
- Assault on an officer – Even a simple assault on a law enforcement officer while they are on duty can lead to a charge of aggravated assault.
- Assault by auto – Assault by auto can be charged when a person recklessly operates a vehicle and causes injury to another person or causes injury to another while operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Domestic violence – Convictions for assault crimes in the context of domestic violence can have much broader consequences. Our firm can help you understand what to expect when you have been accused of domestic violence assault.
How a Monmouth County Assault Defense Attorney Can Help You
When you are facing prosecution for assault in Monmouth County, let an experienced defense attorney from Keith Oliver Criminal Law help you protect your interests by:
- Sitting down with you to go over the details of your charges and ensure you know what to expect during your case
- Independently investigating the underlying facts and circumstances of your charges to recover all potentially useful evidence
- Identifying potential defenses available to you
- Challenging the prosecution’s case by filing motions to exclude evidence or to dismiss your charges for insufficient evidence
- Leveraging our working relationships with county prosecutors to try to reach a plea agreement that helps you avoid the maximum penalties from a conviction
- Arguing your case at trial to assert your innocence and contest your charges
Understanding the Penalties for an Assault Conviction
The penalties for an assault conviction under New Jersey law can vary greatly depending on the severity of the offense. Simple assault crimes are usually charged as disorderly persons offenses or petty disorderly persons offenses, also known as misdemeanors in other states. Other types of assault are typically charged as indictable crimes, also called felonies in other states.
Potential sentencing ranges for assault convictions in New Jersey include:
- Petty disorderly persons offense: Up to 30 days in county jail, plus a possible fine of up to $500
- Disorderly persons offense: Up to six months in county jail and a potential fine of up to $1,000
- Fourth-degree crime: Up to 18 months in state prison and a possible maximum fine of $10,000
- Third-degree crime: Three to five years’ imprisonment, plus a potential fine of up to $15,000
- Second-degree crime: Five to 10 years in prison, plus the possibility of a fine of up to $150,000
- First-degree crime: Up to 20 years in prison, plus a maximum possible fine of $200,000
Courts can also impose terms of probation in addition to or in lieu of incarceration, as well as the requirement to pay court costs or restitution to the victim. Sexual assault convictions also usually result in the requirement to register as a sex offender and may subject a defendant to community supervision for life.
There Are a Range of Defenses in Assault Cases
Being charged with assault does not necessarily mean you are going to be convicted. Depending on the facts and circumstances of your case, you may have defenses available to you to contest your charges and obtain a dismissal or acquittal in your case. Common defenses to assault charges include:
- Self-defense – Your use of force may be deemed legally justified when you reasonably believe that such force is needed to protect yourself against unlawful force used by another person. The level of force you use to defend yourself must also be proportional to the threat you face.
- Defense of others – You may also lawfully act in defense of others when you reasonably perceive a threat posed by one person to the safety of another.
- Defense of property – You may be legally justified in using force to defend your home or residence from being unlawfully invaded by others.
- Consent – Charges of physical or sexual assault may be dismissed or defeated where you can show that the purported victim consented to the act.
- Duress – You may have a duress defense if you can show that you were forced to assault another person due to a third party’s threat to cause severe injury to you.
- Alibi – You can defeat assault charges by proving that you were somewhere else when the assault took place.
- Mistaken identity – You can also defend yourself against assault charges by proving that the perpetrator was actually someone else.
- Insufficient evidence – A lack of sufficient evidence may also lead to a dismissal or acquittal in your case, particularly where the state lacks sufficient evidence to prove each element of your charge beyond a reasonable doubt.
How to Post Bail on Assault Charges in Monmouth County
New Jersey has basically abandoned the traditional cash/bond bail system and moved toward a risk assessment system. That means that the days of showing up at the precinct and posting a cash bail are long gone.
If the individual is charged on a Complaint-Warrant, then the individual must be taken to the Monmouth County Jail for at least 24 to 48 hours so that a risk assessment can be conducted.
Once pretrial services conducts its risk assessment, the individual will be scheduled for a Central Judicial Processing Hearing (CJP). It is at this hearing that the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office will need to make a determination of whether they will consent to the individual being released on bail conditions or whether they will be seeking to keep the individual detained, without bail, pending trial.
If they are seeking to keep an individual detained, a formal detention hearing must be conducted. At this hearing, the judge will hear arguments from both the prosecution and defense counsel, and they will make the ultimate decision about whether to release or detain the individual.
What Does a Judge Look at When Determining Bail on Assault Cases in N.J.?
At a detention hearing, the judge will need to make a determination of whether to release an individual on bail conditions. It will be the prosecution’s burden to establish by clear and convincing evidence that there are no amount of conditions that can be imposed that could adequately protect the following:
- That the defendant will not appear in court as required
- That the defendant will pose a danger to any other person or the community
- That the defendant will obstruct or attempt to obstruct justice or threaten, injure, or intimidate (or attempt to threaten, injure, or intimidate) a prospective witness or juror
If the judge agrees to release the individual, the judge must then determine what level of monitoring the individual will be released upon. The judge will also need to determine what conditions they will be released upon. The level of monitoring will typically set forth how frequently the individual must check in with pretrial services. Here is a breakdown of the three levels:
- Level One – Report telephonically once a month
- Level Two – Report telephonically once a month and report once a month in-person
- Level Three – Report telephonically once every other week and report in-person once every other week
- Level Three Plus – Electronic monitoring or home detention, report telephonically once every other week, and report in-person once every other week
Talk to a Monmouth County Assault Lawyer Now
Don’t leave your fate to chance when facing assault charges in the New Jersey criminal justice system. Get the legal help you need to defend your freedom. Contact Keith Oliver Criminal Law today for a free, confidential consultation with a Monmouth County assault defense lawyer.