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Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 23529
Experience:  Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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hi. my ex-fiancee strangled me until i lost consciousness

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hi. my ex-fiancee strangled me until i lost consciousness in june 2009. he was arrested and charged with 2nd degree aggravated assault. the judge set his bail/bond at $100K which he met after 10 days of being in prison. he previously served 4 years in federal prison for drug related charges (manufacture, distribution, aiding and abetting, tax evastion). i have a final restraining order against him. i had a prior TRO against him for domestic violence for hitting me in the chest and for lying/cheating which i dropped because he told me he would ruin my reputation and make my life miserable if i pressed charges. there was a previous time i attempted to get a TRO but it was declined.

during the FRO hearing, he plead to harrassment leading to domestic violence with the stipulation that the plea would not be used in the criminal case. He now may try to plea bargain this case if it goes to court. we live in new jersey. what can he plea bargain to? it doesn't make sense to me?
New Jersey law is a bit different many other states in that their statutes do not distinguish between misdemeanors and felonies. There will a criminal offense, a degree level for that offense, and then several different penalty possibilities based on that degree level.

Aggravated Assault in New Jersey is Section § 2C:12-1(b) of the New Jersey Statutes. It's a crime of the Second degree if he pleads to aggravated assault under section (b)(1) and (b)(6) of the statute, but can be a third degree crime if he is allowed to plead under (b)(2), (b)(7), (b)(9), (b)(10). Under (b)(3) and (b)(4) it's a crime of the 4th degree, and so on.

So to answer your question, in a plea bargain, your ex-fiance could possibly be allowed to plead guilt to a level of aggravated assault that would carry a lesser penalty than the second degree offense. I say "possibly" for a reason. These charges are very serious, the facts are ugly. Your injuries are severe and your husband has a criminal history. I would not expect that that a domestic violence prosecutor will be inclined to do him any big favors.

He wants to leave the country probably because he knows that and because any plea offer will involve jail. In general the possible jail sentences are as follows:

Second Degree Felony: 5-10 years of prison
Third Degree: 1-5 years of prison

He won't get a minimum offer. You were wise to alert the state that he hopes to leave the country. They can grab his passport or, failing that, flag his name so that if he tries to flee the jurisdiction of the court, he'll be picked up and returned to NJ. He is the defendant on a criminal case and cannot miss his court date without risking rearrest and the loss of his bond.


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This thread will not close and you can always use it to get clarification.This is informational only and is NOT legal advice.
Zoey_ JD and 3 other Criminal Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 7 years ago.

Thank you very much for this comprehensive and compassionate answer to my question. It was very complicated and emotional for me to put together, but Fran managed to wend her way through my question and gave me the answers, and comfort, I was hoping for. I think this service is fantastic. Unfortunately, I had asked a question once before and the attorney I got had only been practicing for one year and the answer showed this. However, I decided to give it a go again, and this time Fran had 17+ years experience and more than adequately answered my question. Thank you so much. I hope my case turns out well. I wish there were a way I could contact her to let her know 'afterward' so I can tell her how it turned out. But I know that isn't possible.

Sincerely grateful

Thank you for the accept and the bonus. Obviously, prosecutors don't take their instruction from their complainants, but from what I see, your case deserves to be prosecuted to the fullest extent and, as a career defense lawyer, I can tell you that I wouldn't expect a favorable plea offer to come your ex's way.

You can always recontact JustAnswer and post a thread with "for FranL" in the subject heading if you have additional questions or just want to let me know how this came out.

Good luck. My best wishes go with you.

Fran