Domestic violence is a serious problem in our country and one that should be aggressively addressed. People can be falsely accused, however, resulting in harsh consequences that can change lives forever. If you have been charged with assault or are facing a restraining order brought against you by a person you are alleged to have assaulted, you need to understand exactly what you’re up against.
Under New Jersey law, there are two basic charges you could face for assault in Camden County: simple assault and aggravated assault. Generally speaking, simple assault is a disorderly persons offense that carries the possibility of up to six months in jail and a maximum fine of $1,000, if you are convicted.
Aggravated assault is a much more serious charge, and is an indictable offense in Camden County. Aggravated assault charges can range from second to fourth degree crimes, and a conviction means a prison sentence of 18 months to 10 years, as well as anywhere from $10,000 to $150,000 in fines.
Whether you are facing a simple assault charge or an aggravated assault charge, it’s important to understand that you can be convicted even if you didn’t actually harm or intend to harm the alleged victim. The authorities can charge you with assault in the following situations:
Assault charges can cover a wide variety of actions and many people are shocked when they learn that they are being charged with assault.
Domestic disputes often result in allegations of abuse and may lead to a charge of simple assault or aggravated assault. In addition to the abuse allegation, the alleged victim may then pursue a restraining order.
A restraining order is a legal decree that prohibits one person from having contact with another person. It typically prohibits someone from coming within a certain distance of the alleged victim. Additionally, the order can also prohibit any contact with the victim whatsoever, either directly or through an intermediary (other than the police or the court). A restraining order can also contain other restrictive provisions, including requiring the accused to move out of his or her home, as well as dictating how and when the accused can see his or her children.
Domestic violence includes a broader spectrum of relationships than just husband and wife. Under the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act in New Jersey, it is possible for the following people to seek a restraining order against you:
Needless to say, a restraining order could seriously impact your day-to-day life. If you’re facing a restraining order, speak with a Camden County restraining order lawyer as soon as possible.
If you are charged with assault and the alleged victim is seeking a restraining order, it is important to understand that the assault charge and the restraining order will be handled by two independent legal processes. This means that you have to defend yourself in both proceedings, held in separate courts with different judges:
Do not assume that the restraining order will be resolved if you prevail in your criminal case, or vice versa. Both actions will require a separate defense.
Once you are charged with assault in a criminal case, you could follow two basic courses of action: (1) attempt to resolve the case by entering into a plea agreement with the prosecutor, or (2) proceed to trial where the prosecutor will have to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
The restraining order process is quite different. Here is a broad overview of how the restraining order process works:
The restraining order process differs from a criminal proceeding in a few significant ways:
An aggravated assault charge is serious - you are potentially facing years in prison and thousands of dollars in fines if convicted. While the consequences of a restraining order may not be as serious, it could drastically change your life. You may be prohibited from going places you typically frequent, you may have to move, or your ability to see your children may be severely restricted. If a FRO is entered, you will also be prevented from legally owning a firearm in the state of New Jersey.
You will suffer serious consequences if you neglect either of these cases. Unfortunately, both proceedings are complex and confusing for those not familiar with the laws surrounding them. A simple misstep can jeopardize your case and ultimately your rights. If you’ve been charged with assault and are facing a restraining order, you need a criminal defense attorney who understands the significance of both proceedings and can defend you in each one.
If you’ve been charged with assault and are facing a restraining order, your life and your future are at stake. Don’t face these challenges alone - talk to a Camden County criminal defense lawyer who will fight for your rights and get you a fair result. New Jersey criminal defense attorney Lauren Wimmer has experience fighting assault charges in both criminal court and restraining order hearings. For a free consultation, call us at 215-712-1212 to discuss your case and how we can help. Contact Wimmer Criminal Defense Law at 215-712-1212 to schedule a free consultation today.