Assault is a charge for intentionally inflicting harm on another person. In New Jersey, there are many different types of assault charges, but they fall under two general categories of simple or aggravated. No matter the type of assault — whether it is battery, assault with a deadly weapon, or vehicular homicide — all are serious crimes that can result in fines and extended jail time.
In New Jersey, simple assault describes assault that involves making threats or causing minor injuries, such as bruises or small cuts. It can also include causing bodily injury by negligently using a weapon. Furthermore, simple assault can include threats such as scaring a person into believing they may receive a serious injury.
When these situations are present, simple assault is typically considered a disorderly personal offense. A common example is when two people are engaged in a fight.
As the name implies, aggravated assault is a more serious charge than simple assault. There are several factors that can lead to a person being charged with aggravated assault. Three primary factors include:
• The injuries caused.
• The intent of the person causing injury.
• The weapons used to cause injury.
The types of injuries can be defined as follows: bodily injury, significant bodily injury, and serious bodily injury. Bodily injury is limited to physical injury or pain. Significant bodily injuries could include temporary loss of function of an organ or temporary loss of one of the five senses. This could include breaking someone’s bones or knocking them unconscious.
As the most extreme, serious bodily injury involves risking someone’s life, causing permanent organ damage, or causing long-term disfigurement. An example includes a blow that leads to a permanent hearing loss or a life-long limp.
When discussing intent, aggravated assault includes a person acting purposefully, knowingly, and recklessly. Authorities will place this change on individuals who display an extreme indifference for human life and its value. In the legal world, extreme indifference has less to do with the defendant’s state of mind and more to do with whether their conduct resulted in the strong probability of injury as opposed to the simple possibility of injury. An example showing a strong probability of injury would be driving a vehicle into a crowd of people.
Finally, the weapon used plays a factor. In addition to firearms and knives, a deadly weapon is considered any other object that could be used in a way that can kill a person or seriously injure them. For example, hitting someone with a crowbar would be considered the use of a deadly weapon.
The terms assault and battery are often used interchangeably. However, in New Jersey, battery requires physical contact, like a slap or a punch. Assault simply requires making another person think that physical contact is imminent.
Vehicular homicide is where a person causes the death of another person while operating a motor vehicle in a reckless manner.
Assault with a deadly weapon is a form of aggravated assault. It is where someone intentionally uses a deadly weapon to injure someone or causes apprehension or fear of personal injury.
The main factors that differentiate aggravated and simple assault include the intent of the person committing the assault, the use of a weapon, and the type of injury caused. For example, an offender who attacks someone with a knife would likely be charged with aggravated assault. Someone who intentionally pushes someone into a wall may only get a simple assault charge.
The penalties for simple assault are up to six months of jail time or a $1,000 fine. Aggravated assault could result in 18 months to 10 years in prison with fines of between $10,000 and $105,000. Furthermore, someone convicted of aggravated assault may face additional penalties, such as electronic monitoring, losing the right to possess a firearm, and owing restitution to the victim.
If you get arrested and are charged with a crime in New Jersey, you will likely miss days from work, spend time in jail, and need to interact with the police. Depending on the severity of the charge, you could be facing hefty fines, court fees, loss of driving privileges, and several other financial difficulties.
At first, hiring a lawyer might seem like you are just adding an extra financial burden onto an already taxing situation. However, the truth is that if you are arrested for a felony in New Jersey, you are facing years in prison and possibly tens of thousands of dollars in fees. Compared to that, any attorney fees are minuscule.
It’s rarely a good idea to handle serious legal issues alone or defend yourself in court against an assault charge. An attorney will understand which types of defense would work best — for example, self-defense — and know how to deal with courts and prosecutors bent on getting convictions.
The U.S. Constitution guarantees all alleged offenders the right to have a criminal defense lawyer. Take advantage of your right to counsel and contact our team at Shugar Law today for a free consultation.
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