Facing Charges for Simple Assault?
The summer nights can get heated here at the Jersey Shore, especially when alcohol is involved. If two bar goers coming out of one of the many watering holes in Seaside Heights begin arguing, there is a good chance a fist fight will break out. Because these two decided to engage in this altercation freely of their own will, they will be facing simple assault (N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1a) charges. Simple assault occurs when a person intentionally or recklessly caused bodily injury to another with or without a weapon. A person can also be charged with assault if a threat of bodily harm is present, for example, if a person wielded a knife during a robbery and threatened to stab their victim. Generally assault falls into two classifications: simple assault (N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1a) or aggravated assault (N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1b). The main difference between the two is the degree of force used during the assault, the gravity of the bodily harm that occurs to the alleged victim, and whether or not a weapon was brandished.
Simple Assault (N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1a)
Simple assault is a less severe charge and is considered to be a disorderly persons offense in New Jersey unless the assault stems from a fight entered into by mutual consent. In that case the charge would be a petty disorderly persons offense. The extent of the injury is much less severe in simple assault then in an aggravated assault.
What are the Penalties for Simple Assault in New Jersey?
A simple assault is considered a criminal offense with a maximum fine of $1,000 and up to six months in the county jail. If the defendant was in the presence of a child 16 years of age or younger when the assault took place they will face prison time up to 18 months and a fine in excess of $1,000.
Aggravated Assault (N.J.S.A. 2C:-12-1b)
Aggravated assault is an indictable criminal offense in New Jersey and will be handled in the Superior Court of the County in which the alleged assault occurred. For example, if the fight occurred in Seaside Heights and you are charged with aggravated assault, the case would be heard in the Ocean County Courthouse in Toms River. For an assault to be considered aggravated, there has to be serious bodily injury inflicted on the victim or a deadly weapon is displayed or used. To be considered serious bodily injury in New Jersey, a severe injury must occur, which could include loss of function in the victim’s organs, disfigurement or a high risk of death.
What are the Penalties for Aggravated Assault in New Jersey?
There are different degrees of aggravated assault, 2nd degree, 3rd degree, or 4th degree. The degree depends on the circumstance surrounding the offense, and the crime could be tried as a felony. The court will determine the degree with which a person is to be charged based on the “circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life.” A person facing an aggravated assault charge could face a fine in excess of $150,000 and up to 10 years in prison.
Have you been accused of simple assault or aggravated assault in New Jersey? If so, it’s time to speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney. At Villani & DeLuca, P.C. it is FREE to speak to our defense team about your case. Call 732-800-2980 today!