Aggravated and Simple Assault Offenses Attorney Union County, NJ
Serving clients in Elizabeth, Linden, Scotch Plains, Westfield, Plainfield, and across Union County NJ
If you have been charged with any type of assault in the State of New Jersey, you are facing serious consequences if convicted. Because the consequences vary based upon the particular conduct, it is important to understand the basics of assault in this State.
Assault Charges in New Jersey
The term assault covers a wide array of prohibited behavior. Generally, in order to be charged with assault, it must be alleged that you caused some type of pain or injury to another without their permission. Additionally, the State must prove that you possessed the mental element required in committing the assault. Specifically, it must be proven that you purposely, knowingly, or recklessly committed an assault upon another.
Depending on the behavior and injury caused by the conduct, assault can be a disorderly persons offense (akin to a misdemeanor), petty disorderly offense (lowest level summary type offense), or worst-case scenario, an indictable offense (aka felony offense).
Types of Assault Defined by NJ Law
Simple assault 2C: disorderly persons offense and Mutual fighting, petty disorderly offense
That being said, there are different types of assault that can be charged in New Jersey, requiring certain conduct and injury to be established. Simple assault is the most generic and probably the most frequently charged type of assault. A person can be charged with simple assault if he: (1) attempts to cause or purposely, knowingly or recklessly causes bodily injury to another; or (2) negligently causes bodily injury to another with a deadly weapon; or (3) attempts by physical menace to put another in fear of imminent serious bodily injury.
Simple assault is a catchall that is often charged when there is a minor scuffle between two people that does not involve serious injuries to either party. For example, if two people are in a verbal argument and one pushes the other against a wall, he can be charged with simple assault. The person who was shoved may experience slight pain but not serious injury.
Conversely, if the person fights back and slaps the person, he can be charged with the petty disorderly persons offense for mutual fighting (another form of assault). Mutual fighting can be an adequate way to resolve charges of assault.
Aggravated Assault-felony offense
Not all cases are as minor as the above and they result in more serious charges such as aggravated assault. If you have been charged with aggravated assault, it means that you are being charged with a felony and facing a possible state prison term if convicted.
Aggravated assault occurs when a person: 1) Attempts to cause or causes serious bodily injury to another, or (2) attempts to cause or intentionally causes bodily injury to another with a deadly weapon, or (3) recklessly causes bodily injury to another with a deadly weapon; or (4) knowingly points a firearm, at or in the direction of another, regardless if the firearm is loaded.
Simple vs Aggravated Assault Charges
Unlike simple assault, aggravated assault is not wholly depending on an actual injury. For example, if you simply point a firearm at another person without causing any injury at all, you will face a third-degree crime of assault. Similarly, if you commit a simple assault upon law enforcement or a teacher, the crime automatically increases to a felony by virtue of the injured party’s status through employment. In fact, this a charge that police often file if someone resists arrest and they are injured in the process. A simple scratch sustained by a cop will subject you to a felony assault charge. In other circumstances, the charge is dependent on the actual injury and the state will attempt to prove that you caused serious injury. Depending on the injuries sustained, you can be charged with second or third-degree crimes.
Penalties for Assault Charges in NJ
All crimes in New Jersey have consequences that involve potential jail time, fines, and penalties. For indictable/felony offenses of aggravated assault, you can face state prison. In the case of a second degree, you may be sentenced to 5-10 years in state prison with a potential for a parole disqualifier (must serve 85% before eligible for parole). For a third-degree crime, you can go to jail for 3-5 years.
Disorderly persons offense, on the other hand, do not permit a judge to sentence you to state prison. You can, however, spend as much time as 180 days in the county jail and, in the case of mutual fighting, be ordered to serve 30 days.
Retain an Experienced Assault Crimes Attorney in Linden NJ Today
Often, there is a way to resolve the case without it resulting in jail or a felony conviction on your record. Contact our firm today to schedule a consultation.
At The Law Office of Edward S. Cooper, we have extensive experience helping clients charged with simple assault in towns like Elizabeth, Union, Plainfield, Westfield, and the greater Union County area.
Our firm has handled a wide variety of municipal court cases across Union County, and as such are familiar with local prosecutors and how to best negotiate with them.