Legal Question in Criminal Law in New Jersey

Self Defense

My family and I were being harrassed from other people in our apartment building because we busted one of them for child pornography. They made it so my whole family was afraid to even come out of our apartment. The police would do nothing but say ''stay away from them'' even when told we know that they are going to attack us.One night,one guy finaly jumped me from behind held me in a choke hold and continuously punched me in my left temple.We struggled and fell to the ground when he was about to hit me again.I felt my life was in serious danger, so I struck him twice in the face. Despite the fact that we have statements from witnesses(even from ones against me)stating the he attacked me, they want to put me in jail for 5 to 10 years. He only had a puffed up eye and fractured his shoulder from when we fell. I have no record and never have been in a fight. Yet my lawyer tells me I was wrong for defending myself and should have let him hit,and only should have blocked the punches,although that was impossible. All evidense is against the attacker, they are still tying to prosecute me for only defending my life. When I ask my lawyer about it being my right to defend my life, he said ''yeah only in certain cases. Is this true?

Asked on 4/09/05, 10:26 am

3 Answers from Attorneys

Ronald Aronds Law Office of Ronald Aronds, LLC
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Re: Self Defense

You say that you live in PA, but that the question relates to NJ law. I will assume based on this that you are being prosecuted in the NJ courts then. You have the right to defend yourself, but only by using the amount of force reasonable under the circumstances.Based solely on the facts as you presented them to me, it does not sound like you should even be prosecuted at all since what you describe is an attempt to retreat from an ongoing assault against you.Obviously the police must have viewed things differently or else you wouldn't be facing such a serious charge as you are. I answer this only in general because you already have a lawyer and I cannot give you specific legal advice when you already have a lawyer. You should talk to him in more detail about the facts of your case as the police presented them to the prosecutor and grand jury. Good luck.

Sincerely yours, -Ronald Aronds, Esq.

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4/12/05, 12:13 pm
Gary Moore Gary Moore Attorney At Law
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Re: Self Defense

Self defense means that you are entitled to use the amount of force which is reasonable under the circumstances. If you can safely retreat you are expected to retreat. If safe retreat is not a reasonable expectation under all the circumstances you can use that amount of force which is reasonable under all the circumstances. Deadly force can be met with deadly force. A physical assault can be repulsed by the use of reasonably necessary physical force.

I hope this answers your question. If you have any further questions you may call me.

Gary Moore, Esquire

Hackensack, New Jersey

80 273 7933

www.garymooreattorneyatlaw.com

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4/09/05, 11:30 am
Marc V. Taiani AAAL - Allegheny Attorneys At Law
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Re: Self Defense

you should retain an attorney who deals in Criminal law, if your current attorney does not find someone else. As it relates to your fact pattern, the police would not be prosecuting you unless they had evidence that you went above and beyond using reasonable force to defend yourself. My advice is to discuss these questions that you have with your legal counsel or find another attorney.

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4/16/05, 4:25 pm

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