When an individual physically harms or attempts to physically harm another person without legal justification, that is assault. In the state of New Jersey, assault is either simple or aggravated. Each offense carries its own set of penalties, depending upon the specific details of the incident in question. Assault is a serious crime with ramifications that can impact every aspect of your future, from getting a job to possible incarceration. The following is helpful information about assault charges and why it is important to seek the counsel of a Haddonfield criminal lawyer if you are accused of simple or aggravated assault in New Jersey.
Simple Assault Offense in New Jersey
Simple assault is the most basic assault charge possible in New Jersey. Simple assault occurs when an individual:
- Knowingly or recklessly causes or attempts to cause bodily injury to another
- Knowingly causes bodily injury to another person with a deadly weapon
- Attempts to or places someone in fear of imminent injury by way of menacing
Without elevated circumstances, assault is classified as a disorderly persons offense, which is a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 and up to six months in jail. Assault that occurs in the course of a mutual fight is a petty disorderly person’s offense; a misdemeanor punishable by up to 30 days in jail. Simple assault can also bring additional penalties, including:
- Restitution to the victim
- Revocation of driving privileges
Aggravated Assault Offense in New Jersey
In New Jersey, aggravated assault is a more complex and serious offense bringing severe penalties, depending on what occurred and who was involved. Aggravated assault is classified by degrees based on the circumstances surrounding the incident and severity of the victim’s injuries. Some circumstances that might elevate simple assault to aggravated assault include:
- Purposely, knowingly, or recklessly causing or attempting to cause an injury
- Knowingly pointing a firearm in the direction of another person
- Causing bodily injury while fleeing or attempting to elude a law enforcement officer
- Purposely operating a vehicle in an aggressive manner at another vehicle
- Commit simple assault against individuals in certain professions or afforded certain protections under New Jersey law, including police officers, firemen, judges, health care workers, and school employees
Penalties for aggravated assault in New Jersey vary depending on the degree of the offense. For a fourth-degree assault offense, a convicted defendant faces up to 18 months in jail and fines of up to $10,000. A third- degree assault charge carries three to five years in jail and/or fines of up to $15,000. A second-degree assault charge brings fines of up to $150,000 and/or five to 10 years in jail. A first-degree offense is the most serious, resulting in 10 to 20 years in jail and fines of up to $200,000.
Possible Defenses for Assault in New Jersey
Because any assault charge is a serious offense, your lawyer does all they can to contest them. The first step to preparing your defense is reviewing the details of the incident in question to establish exactly what occurred and why. An attorney might ask:
- Were there any witnesses?
- Was anyone hospitalized?
- Who initiated the fight?
- Were you protecting yourself or your property?
- Were you protecting another person?
- Did anyone have a weapon?
- Did police follow proper procedures during your arrest?
Understanding exactly what transpired helps your lawyer prepare your defense. With skilled legal counsel and supporting evidence, some assault charges can be contested, downgraded to lesser charges, or dismissed altogether.
Haddonfield Criminal Lawyers at Aita Law, LLC Protect the Rights of Clients Charged with Assault in New Jersey
If you were accused of assault in New Jersey, the right defense can impact your case and your future. Trust your defense to a skilled Haddonfield criminal lawyer at Aita Law, LLC. Call us at 856-287-7800 or use the online contact form to schedule a free initial case review today. Located in Haddonfield, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout South Jersey, including Cherry Hill and Camden County.
KENNETH D. AITA, ESQUIRE
Mr. Aita has successfully defended thousands of criminal cases. When you or a loved one is charged with a crime, it is an extremely daunting and frightening time. Criminal charges and convictions can have devastating effects on your life. You can be fired from your job, you can hurt your ability to get employment in the future, and most importantly could lose your precious freedom. Mr. Aita not only has the experience and expertise to represent you, but the compassion and understanding to help you through this difficult and confusing process. In a criminal case, everyone is against you; the police, the judge, and certainly the prosecutor, whose job is to get convictions. Mr. Aita is not only your skilled legal advocate, but is in your corner to protect you against the vast government resources that are against you. Make no mistake, fighting a criminal case is a war. You need an attorney willing to go to battle. Mr. Aita is in the trenches every single day tirelessly fighting for justice for his clients.