Simple assault is a disorderly persons offense. It carries a maximum penalty of 180 days jail, about $125 in assessments and court costs. There can be one year or more of probation. On a first offense no jail is the norm, no probation, just a fine. Your record is the issue. You already have an arrest record. If convicted, even of a downgraded ordinance, you will have to wait before you can petition to remove this entry, 2 years on an ordinance 5 years on a DP. However, if your gf is on board the prosecutor and Judge can be persuaded to dismiss. Call with more information.
You check in with the court clerk. The prosecutor will then call your case, tell you what you're charged with, the maximum penalty if you're convicted and how you plead. Be sure to plead not guilty. Then they will ask if you wish to speak to a lawyer, apply for the public defender or represent yourself. DO NOT pick option 3. You are facing up to 6 months in jail if you're convicted and up to $1,000 fine. Contact an attorney to assist you. If you need time to retain an attorney, then ask the court for more time. They will almost certainly give you some time to get a lawyer. Good luck in court.
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Your case will be called, you will be read the charges and penalties and offered the opportunity to plead guilty or not guilty. If you plead guilty you will be sentanced. If you plead not guilty, you will be offered the opportunity to retain a lawyer or apply for the public defender.
Law Offices of James A. Abate