In some instances, a defendant can assert an affirmative defense to a criminal charge that will allow the defendant to avoid a conviction. For example, a defendant charged with assault may be able to argue that he or she was acting in self-defense, and therefore had a valid reason for committing the acts out of which the charge arose. Recently, a New Jersey appellate court discussed when a defendant is entitled to a jury instruction on self-defense in a case in which the defendant appealed his assault conviction. If you are accused of committing assault, it is prudent to speak with a knowledgeable New Jersey criminal defense attorney regarding whether you may be able to set forth affirmative defenses to protect your interests.
Facts Regarding the Alleged Assault
Allegedly, the defendant and three other individuals engaged in a physical altercation in March 2016. Specifically, the defendant, a man, went to the home of the first woman, along with the second woman. When they arrived, the second woman asked the first woman if she was involved in a sexual relationship with the defendant, and the two women began to fight, after which a man who was in the first woman’s house became involved in the altercation. The defendant then advised the man not to touch the second woman, punched the man, and struck the man with a hammer.
Reportedly, the defendant was charged with aggravated assault, assault with a deadly weapon, and weapons charges. Following a jury trial, the defendant was convicted of simple assault and unlawful possession of a weapon and sentenced to two years’ probation. He then appealed on multiple grounds, including the assertion that the trial court erred in refusing to instruct the jury regarding self-defense.