Travis J. Tormey and the Tormey Law Firm recently represented a client who had been charged with aggravated assault in Rutherford, NJ. The assault charge was initially classified as a third degree criminal offense. This meant that the crime was an indictable, felony-level offense. Moreover, the potential penalties included a sentence of 3–5 years in New Jersey State Prison.
This case was unique because the charges were filed by a civilian, not a police officer. These kinds of charges are typically referred to as “civilian complaints.” The civilian complaint in the case stemmed from a domestic violence incident which occurred roughly a year and a half earlier. Once the complaint was officially filed, the case was sent to Hackensack NJ so that the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office could review the complaint and determine whether charges should proceed. The prosecutor’s office looked at the file and arrived at an important decision: aggravated assault was not the appropriate charge. Instead, the charge was classified as simple assault. Since simple assault is a disorderly persons offense, the client’s case was remanded to Rutherford Municipal Court.
Travis Tormey then appeared in Rutherford Municipal Court to represent the client. Mr. Tormey immediately filed a motion to dismiss the charges. Mr. Tormey told the court that the reclassification of the offense by the prosecutor’s office meant that the statute of limitations in the case had expired. In New Jersey, aggravated assault has a 5-year statute of limitations. However, the statute of limitations for simple assault is only 1 year. As a result, Mr. Tormey argued, the civilian complaint was not filed in time. When the judge agreed with Mr. Tormey, the case was dismissed. Our client was thrilled with the result. This was a fantastic outcome for the client and a major success for the Tormey Law Firm.