Assault and Battery Attorney
Charges for assault and battery in New Jersey should be taken very seriously as there are potentially harsh consequences for a conviction. Defendants who are convicted of assault and battery can spend significant time in jail, on strict probation, and/or may have to pay substantial fines. In addition, an assault and battery conviction in criminal court can be used against them if an injured victim files a lawsuit in civil court. For these reasons and more, anyone facing assault and battery charges should seek help from a highly experienced NJ defense lawyer as soon as possible. An attorney can help you from the moment of your arrest to ensure that your rights are protected and to guide you through every step of the criminal justice process.
Assault Charges vs. Battery Charges
Often, people assume that assault and battery are one single offense, mostly because they are almost always discussed together. In fact, many states treat assault and battery as one charge. In New Jersey, however, these are two separate charges that may apply in different situations. The difference between these crimes can be confusing, so it is important to have an attorney who thoroughly understands the differences between these cases so that you can have the most effective defense possible.
When you think of assault and battery, you likely first think of a fight. However, assault charges can stem from many different situations, some of which that may not even involve physical contact. Assault can refer to simply intentionally putting someone in fear that serious bodily injury was imminent. This can include swinging a bat toward someone or driving toward them in a parking lot without actually hitting them. Assault and aggravated assault charges also can apply in instances of bodily injury, however, so you can face assault charges if you are accused of actually making contact and causing harm, as well as causing fear.
Battery, on the other hand, requires physical contact. Battery charges can actually arise out of any touching that causes any harm—either physical harm or offense to another person. For example, punching someone can constitute battery, though so can grabbing their collar in an offensive manner. Battery can also include touching something that is considered to be an extension of someone, such as grabbing a bag they are holding. While battery is technically its own crime in New Jersey, it falls under the assault statute and most prosecutors will issue aggravated assault charges if bodily injury occurred or certain circumstances existed.
For example, assault can be considered to be “aggravated” if you allegedly possessed a deadly weapon (even an unloaded gun) or if the assault was against certain individuals including police officers or other government employees. Aggravated assault is a crime in the 2nd degree and a conviction comes with a potential sentence of 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $150,000.
Defense for Assault & Battery Charges
While there are several defenses that may be available in your assault and battery case, the most common defense against this type of charge is that of self-defense. Claiming self-defense can be complex and, even if you truly believe you had no choice but to defend yourself, you still have to prove certain legal elements to mount a successful self-defense claim. Note that, in some circumstances, self-defense can be extended to the defense of your home or defense of others. Some of the important elements of self-defense include the following:
- The other individual initiated the violence or threats or significantly escalated the level of violence or threats.
- You reasonably believed that you had no option to retreat from the situation that would allow you or others to escape harm.
- You reasonably believed that force was necessary to protect yourself from imminent harm.
- The amount of force you used was in relative proportion to the force used or threatened against you.
Under NJ law, you have the right to defend yourself or others, though that right is not unlimited. For example, if someone threatens a punch, you cannot legally shoot and kill them. A defense attorney can evaluate whether self-defense applies in your case.
Consult with a Qualified New Jersey Assault & Battery Defense Lawyer
Assault and battery are serious charges in NJ. Attorney Ronald Brandmayr knows how to present a successful self-defense claim, when possible, and to identify any other possible defense that may apply in your case. . If you have been arrested, please call the Law Office of Ronald J. Brandmayr, Jr. at 732-409-5195 today.