All violent crime offenses are serious charges that can carry heavy penalties. Our attorneys can represent you if you have received a complaint or have been arrested for a Simple Assault charge in New Jersey or New Jersey. At Ellis Law, our criminal defense lawyers can help you fight your charges in and out of the courtroom.
New Jersey Simple Assault Statute
According to New Jersey State Law, a person is guilty of assault if:
- That person knowingly, purposefully, or recklessly causes or attempts to cause bodily injury to another person
- That person negligently causes bodily injury to another person using a deadly weapon
- That person attempts to put another person in fear of serious bodily injury through physical menace
Explanation of the Simple Assault Statute
The law defines “bodily injury” as any illness, physical pain, or impairment of the physical condition. If the actual or attempted physical contact as defined by bodily injury occurs to a greater extent, it is considered “serious bodily injury” and is defined as any injury that causes serious disfigurement, substantial risk of death, or permanent impairment or loss of some function of the body.
A charge of Simple Assault is not limited to determining if the individual had the intent to assault someone. An individual may be found guilty of simple assault in many different scenarios with regards to intent or purpose. A Simple Assault charge can occur if that person acted knowingly, negligently, or recklessly. According to New Jersey State Law, criminal liability is imposed for “attempted” conduct.
An individual may also be charged with Attempted Simple Assault if they tried to cause bodily harm to another or if they cause another person to fear imminent bodily injury.
Recklessly causing a simple assault occurs when the accused individual intentionally disregards a substantial risk of causing bodily injury. The recklessness involves a drastic deviation from reasonable behavior under those circumstances. Determining recklessness through lack of reasonable behavior can be subjective and is often case-specific.
Negligent simple assault arises from a situation involving a deadly weapon. A deadly weapon is “any firearm or weapon, device, instrument, material or substance, whether animate or inanimate, which in the manner it is used or is intended to be used, is known to be capable of producing death or serious bodily injury or which in the manner it is fashioned would lead a victim reasonably to believe it to be capable of producing death or serious bodily injury.” Again, the behavior must violate the standard for reasonable behavior in a given situation. In this situation, a person must inflict bodily injury using a deadly weapon with the understanding of a substantial risk of injury. A case involving negligent cause of simple assault is often accompanied by an additional charge of weapon possession for unlawful purpose.
These are very serious offenses and having a skilled and experienced attorney on your side is crucial.
Consequences of Simple Assault
Simple assault is typically a disorderly persons offense. However, the grading of the charge can vary based on the following situations:
- If the assault was committed in a fight that both parties entered into with mutual consent, the assault is considered a petty disorderly persons offense.
- In a simple assault case where the intended victim of the assault is a public official or police officer, the offense is considered an indictable felony charge.
- In the above situation where the simple assault is committed on the public official, the charge is a Fourth Degree Offense.
- If the assault in the above situation results in bodily injury to the public official, the charge is a Third Degree Offense.
Typically a simple assault charge will involve a disorderly persons offense. The penalties for such a conviction can include fines of up to $1000, court ordered probation, costs such as a Safe Neighborhood Assessment, VDDB Assessment, or Domestic Violence Surcharge ranging from $50 to $100, or up to 6 months in jail. The maximum jail time is 30 days if the charge is for consensual fighting.
A Fourth Degree Simple Assault charge carries a maximum penalty of 18 months in jail. A Third Degree Simple Assault charge carries up to five years in jail.
Our criminal defense lawyers may be able to downgrade the simple assault charge to the lesser offense of harassment. Because a harassment charge is considered a lesser offense of simple assault, an individual cannot be convicted of a simple assault charge and a harassment charge at the same time. If you or a loved one has been arrested or charged with simple assault in New Jersey or New York, make sure you have the best protection possible. The police and other officials will begin building a case against you right away. Contact Ellis Law at 888-355-4752 or complete our online form for a free consultation.