In New Jersey, you can be charged with assault, if you injure or attempt to injure another person without legal justification. When prosecutors are deciding your charges, they can charge you with simple assault or aggravated assault. The difference in charges depends on several factors including the victim's injuries, whether a weapon was used to cause injury, and whether the victim is provided certain protections under New Jersey law. The following details are regarding simple assault only.

What is A Simple Assault?

Simple assault is committed when a person attempts or causes bodily injury to someone else. The law states the injury must have been recklessly, knowingly, or purposely caused by the person. Simple assault charges can also be filed if a person negligently injures someone while using a deadly weapon.Lastly, if a person puts another person in fear of serious bodily injury imminently, they can be charged with simple assault.

Simple Assault Terms

Definition of Acting Recklessly
According to New Jersey law, a person acted recklessly if he consciously disregarded the risk that his actions could cause.

Definition of Acting Knowingly
A person acts knowingly if he knows with certain that his actions will cause injury to another person.

Acting Purposely
A person acted purposely in terms of assault when they wanted to injure a person through their actions.

What is Bodily Injury?

Bodily injury is when a victim suffers injury or pain. The definition of the law doesn't include mental anguish. Instead, New Jersey law defines bodily injury as illness, physical pain, or impairment of a physical condition. A serious bodily injury is an injury that causes long-term disfigurement, impairment or loss of an organ, or great risk of death.

Simple Assault Penalties New Jersey

Simple assault is a disorderly persons offense in New Jersey. If the injury occurred as the result of a consensual fight or scuffle, it could be reduced to a petty disorderly persons offense. If found guilty of simple assault, you can expect to be fined and/or make restitution. The fine should not exceed $1,000 for the more serious conviction. The fine for the lesser conviction has a fine of $500.

Is Simple Assault a Serious Crime?

Generally, a simple assault is a low-level crime. However, there are two instances in New Jersey, where it can be treated as a high-level crime of the 4th degree. With this charge, you can expect up to 18 months in jail and a $1,000 fine.
  • Simple assault occurs while working as an employee in an institution that cares for elderly and the assault was against a resident
  • While in the presence of children under the age of 16 years at a community or school sponsored sporting event

Contact a Defense Attorney Today

Although the same sounds innocuous, being charged with simple assault is serious. Getting the advice of an attorney in your case is important. A criminal defense lawyer may be able to work with prosecutors to seek a lesser punishment or even have the case dismissed. If you've been charged with assault in New Jersey, contact Daniel E. Berger, ESQ., as soon as possible. Mr. Berger offers free consultations and can provide immediate assistance in your case.