The Morris County NJ criminal defense team at the Tormey Law Firm just won an important case and helped a client beat aggravated assault charges.
Our client faced severe penalties if convicted, including 5-10 years in New Jersey State Prison, heavy monetary fines, and a criminal record. The charges, and the possible penalties, stemmed from an incident in Morristown, NJ. According to Morris County prosecutors, the suspect caused serious injury to another man during a fight on a Morristown street.
No Early Release Act in New Jersey
Additionally, since aggravated assault is classified as a violent crime under the No Early Release Act (NERA), the client faced a mandatory period of parole ineligibility. This meant that he would be required to serve at least 85 percent of any prison sentence before becoming eligible for release on parole.
The NERA also stipulates that there is a presumption of incarceration for violent offenders. So even if you do not have a prior criminal record, a conviction for a second degree felony in NJ will mean that you are likely headed to prison.
Fighting Aggravated Assault Charges in Morris County, NJ
In the case of the client accused of committing an aggravated assault on a Morristown NJ street, the Morris County prosecutor initially offered a plea deal that would have required the client to plead guilty to aggravated assault. In exchange for the client pleading guilty, prosecutors would have recommended a sentence of probation. However, that plea agreement would have resulted in the client having a criminal conviction on his permanent record.
Fortunately, the experienced criminal defense lawyers at the Tormey Law Firm were able to successfully get out client admitted into the Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI) program. PTI is a diversionary program that allows a defendant to avoid prison and keep their record clear of a criminal conviction.
As set forth by N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1(b) of the New Jersey Criminal Code, a person is guilty of second degree aggravated assault if he attempts to cause serious bodily injury to another, or causes such injury purposely or knowingly or under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life recklessly causes such injury. However, aggravated assault is considered a third degree felony if a person attempts to cause significant bodily injury to another or causes significant bodily injury purposely or knowingly.
Under the NJ Criminal Code, the main distinction between a second degree charge of aggravated assault and a third degree charge of aggravated assault is the extent of the victim’s injuries. The key distinction is between “serious” injuries and “significant” injuries. N.J.S.A. 2C:11-1(b) defines “serious bodily injury” as bodily injury which creates a substantial risk of death or which causes serious, permanent disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ. N.J.S.A. 2C:11-1(d) defines “significant bodily injury” as bodily injury which creates a temporary loss of the function of any bodily member or organ or temporary loss of any one of the five senses.
In the case of the Morristown client, the criminal defense team at the Tormey Law Firm meticulously analyzed the discovery evidence and the victim’s medical records to determine whether the victim actually suffered serious bodily injury. The criminal lawyers also engaged a skilled private investigator to compile information on all of the relevant parties. After numerous conversations with the prosecutors, our attorneys got prosecutors to reduce the second degree aggravated assault charges to third degree aggravated assault charges. The prosecution also agreed to allow our client to enter into Pre-Trial Intervention.
This was a fantastic result for the client. He walked away from the legal process with a chance to keep his criminal record clean. If you or a loved one has been criminally charged with aggravated assault or any other violent crime, contact the assault defense attorneys at the Tormey Law Firm today to discuss the charges, defense strategies, and how our criminal defense team can help you win your case.