Legal Blog

Have you been Charged with Simple Assault In Jersey Shore?

Author Clark & Noonan, LLC
Posted March 12, 2021
Category Criminal Defense

Whether you have been charged with Simple assault in Wall, Belmar, Asbury Park, Manasquan, Bradley Beach, Spring Lake Heights, or any other New Jersey shore town, you are facing significant criminal consequences.  If convicted, a Municipal Court Judge could sentence you up to 6 months in jail and fine you up to 1000 dollars.

Additionally, if the Simple Assault is considered an act of domestic violence, you may be prohibited from obtaining a firearm’s purchaser’s identification card and may be required to forfeit any firearms you own.  More importantly, a criminal conviction on your record can have lasting consequences for both your education and employment.

Stop Worrying and Call Clark & Noonan today at 732-333-3011

At  Clark & Noonan we specialize in Simple Assault cases on the New Jersey Shore.  Our certified criminal trial attorney and former prosecutors have handled thousands of these types of cases in and around the New Jersey Shore for well over 30 years.  We consistently have New Jersey simple assault cases dismissed, amended to lesser non-criminal offenses or our clients found not guilty after a trial.

Unlike other alleged criminal defense firms, our experience includes going to trial on hundreds of felony and misdemeanor (disorderly person offenses) cases like simple assault cases.  We do not get taken advantage of in plea negotiations because prosecutors know we will take the case to trial if our client doesn’t get a favorable outcome.

Any firm can claim they have experience.  But not every firm can claim they have an experience that matters.  At Clark & Noonan we will make sure any police misconduct is challenged and we will make sure your Constitutional rights were not violated.  We have the knowledge necessary to exploit factual mistakes in the police report, establish defenses that can lead to your acquittal, and reach a result that will leave you feeling relieved.  Do not try and do this alone.

Whether you are charged with Simple assault in Wall, Belmar, Lake Como, Bradley Beach, Manasquan, Spring Lake heights, or any other New Jersey Shore town in Monmouth or Ocean Counties you need the best representation available.  At Clark & Noonan, we will protect your rights and your record.  Call for a free consultation and case assessment today at 732-333-3011.

Simple Assault in New Jersey: NJSA 2C: 12-1a

Simple Assault in New Jersey is a disorderly person offense (other States refer to it as a misdemeanor offense) and covers a wide range of conduct including acts that are “on purpose” as well as acts that are considered reckless.  Believe it or not, the charge of Fighting is also covered under the assault statute and is a petty disorderly person’s offense with the maximum penalty of 30 days in jail.

Whether it is a disorderly person’s offense or a petty disorderly person the charges are considered criminal offenses and could have a profound effect on your criminal record.  As stated above, the attorneys at Clark, Clark, and Noonan have over 30 years of experience handling assault charges both as prosecutors and defense attorneys and we will help safeguard your rights and clean record.

Simple Assault – Definition

The law in New Jersey is located at NJSA 2C:12-1a and states as follows:

Simple assault.  A person is guilty of assault if he:

(1)     Attempts to cause or purposely, knowingly or recklessly causes   bodily injury to another; or

(2)     Negligently causes bodily injury to another with a deadly weapon; or

(3)     Attempts by physical menace to put another in fear of imminent serious bodily injury.

Simple assault is a disorderly persons offense unless committed in a fight or scuffle entered into by mutual consent, in which case it is a petty disorderly persons offense.

Bodily injury is defined in a separate statute as physical pain, illness or any impairment of physical condition.  NJSA 2C: 11-1

Charged with Simple Assault – You May Have a Defense

The Warrant or Summons the police have signed against you for Simple assault is nothing more than a charging document that requires you to go to court. It is not evidence of a criminal offense or crime. Whether you have been charged in Wall, Belmar, Lake Como, Manasquan, Bradley Beach, Spring Lake Heights or Asbury Park, you may have a number of valid defenses in this case which could lead to your charges being dismissed.  Contact our experienced attorneys and former prosecutors to discuss your case at 732-333-3011 for a free consultation with an attorney at Clark, Clark, and Noonan.

Self Defense – You Are Allowed to Defend Yourself

In New Jersey, no one has the right to assault, punch, hit, kick, shove or use any other type of physical violence against you.  You are not obligated to stand by and just let someone hurt you.  You have the right to defend yourself and use force upon the other person to protect yourself.  At Clark & Noonan, LLC, we have become experts in asserting self-defense in many of our cases where our clients were either protecting themselves or others from actual or imminent physical injury.

Most of the time, the police were not present when the assault took place and are at the mercy of eyewitnesses and alleged victims who may have reasons to lie about what actually happened.  Unfortunately, if the police see signs of any physical injury to someone who claims they are a victim then they are obligated to make an arrest even if you acted in self-defense. Do not worry, your day in court will come and the attorneys at Clark, Clark and Noonan will establish your claim of self-defense.

If you acted in self-defense, there is a good chance your case will be dismissed after trial or during plea negotiations. Your self-defense claim may also lead to the prosecutor downgrading your charge or allowing you to enter a diversionary program on a lesser charge which ultimately will lead to a dismissal of your New Jersey Shore Simple assault charge.  Call Clark & Noonan today to discuss all your potential defenses in our free consultation and case assessment at 732-333-3011.

Use of Force in Self-Protection

The technical name for self-defense in New Jersey is “Use of Force in Self-Protection” and is located at NJSA 2C: 3-4. The law reads as follows:

  1. Use of force justifiable for protection of the person. Subject to the provisions of this section and of section 2C:3-9, the use of force upon or towards another person is justifiable when the actor reasonably believes that such force is immediately necessary for the purpose of protecting himself against the use of unlawful force by such other person on the present occasion.

Although New Jersey allows you to defend yourself against physical force when immediately necessary, there are limitation to the use of force in self-protection.  First, you cannot use force against a police officer in order to resist an arrest regardless of whether or not you think it is a lawful arrest.  Secondly, a person using force in self-defense cannot use more force than that which he reasonably believes is necessary to repel the attack.

Again, at Clark & Noonan, we have handled thousands of criminal and municipal cases.  We are in the best position to determine which defenses are available to you and whether or not we should assert self-defense. Call Clark & Noonan today to discuss all your potential defenses in our free consultation and case assessment at 732-333-3011.

What if I Don’t Have a Defense? – Do Not Worry the State Has the Burden of Proof

You may have been charged with Simple assault in Wall, Belmar, Lake Como, Manasquan, Bradley Beach, Spring Lake Heights, Asbury Park or some other New Jersey Shore town and are now extremely worried because you do not believe your actions were in self-defense.  You may ask “does that mean I have to just plead guilty?”  The short answer is “no”.

As a defendant in a criminal case, you do not in any way have the burden to prove the case.  In other words, you are presumed innocent and it is the State – the prosecutor –  who has to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.  The prosecutor has to subpoena witnesses for testimony and present evidence before the judge to prove each and every element of the offense against you beyond a reasonable doubt.  If he presents insufficient evidence or if the Judge has a “reasonable doubt” as to your guilt then he must find you “not guilty.”

At Clark & Noonan, we know when the State’s case is weak and we know when the State will have difficulty proving its case. We also know when the State’s witnesses may lack credibility and we are able to exploit the witnesses’ credibility issues at trial. Sometimes, it is simply enough to argue that the State has not met its burden of proof even if you, possibly, committed the criminal offense of simple assault.

In any event, we have been extremely successful in getting our clients cases dismissed or amended to a non-criminal offense just by arguing to the prosecutor and the Court that the evidence against you is weak or the witnesses relied upon by the prosecutor are not credible.

At Clark, Clark, and Noonan, our criminal defense lawyers have the meaningful experience and pro-active defense strategies that will put you in the best position to safeguard your rights and protect your future from a criminal record.  Call us today for a free consultation and case assessment at 732-333-3011.