top of page

Simple Assualt

Criminal Defense Attorney Joanne M. Stella has extensive courtroom experience representing those charged with assault. Simple assault in New Hampshire can be charged for any “unprivileged physical contact” and a new law allows a separate charge for “Domestic Assault” if the crime occurs between two people who are dating, live together or are family members. Assault charges can be for anything from an aggressive poke in the chest to a punch a in the face. I have even seen an assault charge for throwing water in someone’s face.


Assault is almost always charged as a criminal offense with a potential for a jail sentence, probation and fines if convicted. If you are charged with assault and have a defense such as “self-defense”, “defense of others”, or “completing harms”, it is imperative that you get legal representation. Criminal Defense Attorney Joanne M. Stella has the knowledge and experience to raise all legal defenses on your behalf.


After an arrest for assault you are often given a bail order that does not allow you to have contact with the people involved in the case. Often times the order prevents you from contacting people you are friends with and sometimes even someone like a roommate or girlfriend. Social media connections can cause you to inadvertently contact someone by posting something in a place where they also have access. Sometimes people are tempted to get around the no contact provisions by using methods such as snapchat under the assumption that the technology will preserve the secrecy. However, often times the technology is not full-proof and the police will obtain screen shots, and computer histories showing all kinds of conversations subsequent to the assault and that information is usually not good for the defendant. Also, the police can then file additional charges for violating the conditions of bail which required no contact with the victim or witnesses.


The bail order will also indicate a court date. The first court date in a criminal case is usually the arraignment, and not the trial date. An arraignment is a preliminary hearing where the Judge will review the case to make sure the defendant is aware of the charge against him or her and allow them to enter an initial plea. Most people enter a not guilty plea at arraignment which preserves all their rights to later have a trial or negotiate a plea bargain. If you plead guilty at arraignment the judge will find you guilty and sentence you that day. It is almost impossible to undue a guilty plea. If you plead “not guilty” the court will assign a trial date that is usually a month or two away. (Pleading “not guilty” is like saying “Not ready yet” and simply puts off the final decision.) You will have that additional time to decide what to do. It is best to seek legal representation before the arraignment, but you can also plead “not guilty” and contact Criminal Defense Attorney Joanne M. Stella after the arraignment for a free consultation.


Assault charges require a rigorous defense and careful handling of all the issues involved. Remember if you are a UNH student there is also the possibility of the charge affecting your status as a student. Criminal Defense Attorney Joanne M. Stella has the combined experience of over 20 years defending those accused of crimes and almost as many years representing thousands of UNH students.

bottom of page