For the most part, getting into some kind of fight or altercation can come with criminal charges. However, New Jersey state law does recognize that sometimes someone is just defending themselves. If you acted in self-defense and still ended up facing criminal charges, you need to do everything that you can to prevent a conviction. A Bergen County, New Jersey assault lawyer from our law firm can help you with your defensive strategy.
When Can I Say I Acted in Self-Defense?
There are many situations in which you can say that you acted in self-defense. It all comes down to having a “reasonable belief” that you needed to act in order to:
- Defend yourself
- Defend others
The “reasonable” part of reasonable belief is quite important. It means that most people, if put in your situation, would think the same thing. They would see that the aggressor was acting violently towards you and that you had to respond with appropriate force as a result. This can be the key to a claim that you were acting in self-defense.
It is also important to note that New Jersey is a state that gives you a “duty to retreat.” What this means is that you must try to get out of a dangerous situation before you respond with force. If you are trapped, your actions can be considered self-defense.
Does New Jersey Have Castle Doctrine Laws?
New Jersey is not a state with “castle doctrine” laws, but you are allowed to act in defense of your home and property if there is an intruder. You can respond with deadly force if:
- The intruder has threatened deadly force
- You have given the intruder a chance to surrender
- You have a reasonable belief that you or someone else was in serious danger
Your attorney can help you build a case and show that your actions were in self-defense.
Could I Face Criminal Charges for Acting in Self-Defense?
Even if you say that you were acting in self-defense, it is possible that the state will charge you with a crime, like assault. Such a charge can result in a fine of $1,000 and up to six months in jail. Depending on the situation, your charge could even be upgraded to an aggravated assault charge with even more severe penalties.
So if you are going to say that you were acting in self-defense, you are going to have to be convincing.
Should I Hire a Criminal Defense Lawyer?
Building a convincing defense can be easier with the help of an experienced criminal defense lawyer. An attorney from our firm can gather evidence, talk to witnesses, and do anything else needed to reinforce your claims that you were simply defending yourself. We will do our best to help you poke holes in the state’s case against you and save you from the harshest punishments.
Call and Schedule Your Consultation
If you are facing criminal charges, you need to act now. Contact the Law Office of E. Gregory M. Cannarozzi and schedule a consultation with our legal team today. The sooner you begin working on a defensive strategy, the better.