A New Jersey assault charge, or any criminal charge is never a minor occurrence. The mere fact that you could be carrying the stigma of a criminal conviction for the rest of your life is of great concern for most people. Assault charges in particular are viewed as violent crimes, and the time to fight and keep your record clean is before you are convicted.
Whether you were defending yourself or if the cops made an error in your arrest, you will now have to answer to the charges against you in court.
When you’re facing assault charges and not sure what to expect, contacting a defense attorney is a priority. Contact us to speak with a local, experienced, professional defense attorney who can offer a free legal consultation.
New Jersey Simple Assault – Laws & Penalties
Under New Jersey law, simple assault is the most basic of assault charges. You could be facing simple assault charges if it’s believed that you either:
- Attempted to cause or purposely, knowingly, or recklessly caused injury to another,
- Negligently caused injury to another with a deadly weapon, or
- Attempted to put someone in fear of imminent injury by menacing them.
This offense applies if the crime you are accused of doesn’t fit into one of the more serious assault offenses. It is considered a disorderly persons offense (misdemeanor level) and carries a potential 6 months in jail.
However, if the case involves a mutual fight, it is considered a petty disorderly persons offense and carries up to 30 days in jail.
Simple assault charges are often levied when there is a fight between two adults. Sometimes you can face a simple assault charge when you feel as if you had no choice but to defend yourself against someone’s attack.
New Jersey - Aggravated Assault Laws & Penalties
Aggravated assault is the more serious of assault offenses and subsequently carries a tougher potential penalty. You could be charged with this offense if it’s believed you did any of the following:
- Recklessly cause bodily injury to someone with a deadly weapon,
- Attempt to cause or purposefully or knowingly cause bodily injury to another person with a deadly weapon,
- Attempt to cause serious bodily injury to someone or cause such an injury purposely, knowingly, or under a negligent, or reckless situation, or
- Recklessly pointing a firearm at another person
This serious offense can be charged as a crime of the fourth degree, the third, or even the second degree. Crimes, or indictable offenses, are felony level offenses under NJ law. How it is charged depends not only on the result of the assault but who it was committed against and other specifics of the case.
In general, you could face up to 10 years in prison for aggravated assault.
Occasionally, if you are charged with an offense like this and there is little to no injury as a result and your criminal history is relatively clean, your defense attorney may be able to negotiate a plea bargain with the prosecution, getting the charges reduced.
Ref: N.J. §2C:12-1