I represented a client today in Florham Park Municipal court who was charged with simple assault arising out of an alleged domestic violence incident. Here, the police were called after a domestic dispute and the wife was charged with simple assault for allegedly assaulting her husband during an argument. The State’s only witness was the husband who did not want to pursue any charges against his wife. In some cases, the police officer witnesses the act that gives rise to the complaint (such as an assault or terroristic threat). In those cases, the police officer can testify to his or her observations. On the other hand, in a case like this, the police are called after the fact and the officers did not witness any unlawful actions. As a result, for the State to prove the alleged assault charges in this case, the victim must testify because any statements the alleged victim previously made to law enforcement are known as “hearsay” and are not admissible at trial. Consequently, because the husband was not willing to testify, I was able to get the case dismissed after a 90 day “cooling off” period. Because there were no other incidents between the parties during the 90 day period, the charges were dismissed at the end of the 90 days. Finally, sometimes in domestic violence cases the judge requires the defendant to undergo an anger management evaluation and comply with any recommendations of the evaluator. This was not necessary in this case.
My client has no criminal record as a result of the dismissal. The only record is of the arrest (because she was fingerprinted and processed). If she chooses, she can hire me to file an expungment to have the arrest removed from her record as well. There is no waiting period to file an expungement when the case is dismissed entirely.