New Jersey Criminal Assault Law
We represent clients charged with N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1; New Jersey criminal assault complaints in central New Jersey municipalities including East Brunswick, New Brunswick, Woodbridge, Edison, Old Bridge, North Brunswick, South Brunswick, South River, Monroe and Sayreville and aggravated assault indictments filed in Middlesex County, Monmouth County, Mercer County, Somerset County, Essex County, Union County, and Hudson County.
Under New Jersey criminal assault law, simple assault is a disorderly persons offense.
Simple Assault, N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1 is committed if a defendant purposely, knowingly or recklessly causes bodily injury to another.
Simple assault is also committed if a defendant negligently causes bodily injury to another with a deadly weapon.
This offense is a disorderly persons unless it is committed in a fight entered into by mutual consent, in which case it is a petty disorderly persons offense.
A person convicted of this offense is subject to a fine of up to $1000 plus assessments to Victims of Crime Compensation Board and to the Safe Neighborhood Services Fund of approximately $125.
Although a person convicted of this offense who has not been previously convicted of an offense is entitled to a presumption of non-incarceration, defendant may be sentenced up to six months in jail.
If a motor vehicle was used in the course of committing the offense, the court may suspend the defendant's driver's license up to two years.
If the defendant holds a public office, a conviction may result in forfeiture of office.
Provided defendant has not been convicted of more than three disorderly or petty disorderly persons offenses, or defendant has not been convicted of an indictable offense, he or she may have their conviction expunged five years after sentence is carried out.
Statute of Limitations
Prosecution must be commenced within 1 year after the offense is committed.
Prosecution commences when a warrant or other process such as a summons or complaint is issued.
The best case result for any type of charge is dismissal - no record and no fine.
If a dismissal is not attainable then the next best possible outcome would be a plea to a municipal ordinance, which will preclude one from sustaining the stigma that an offense attaches to one's record.
However, defendant will be fined by the Court, although fines for municipal ordinances are lower than are fines for disorderly persons offenses.
If at all possible, restitution should be made before sentencing as it would serve as a powerful mitigating factor before the Judge at sentencing.
Aggravated assault, on the other hand, is a crime of either the second, third or fourth degree.
This grading of simple assault and aggravated assault reflects three factors:
1. the degree of injury inflicted or attempted to be inflicted on the victim;
2. the nature of the force and whether a firearm or other deadly weapon was used; and
3. the mental state of the actor.
Finally, the status of the victim elevates the offense.
Under New Jersey criminal assault law, first type of aggravated assault is purposely, knowingly or recklessly causing of bodily injury to another.
It is enough for the state to prove that defendant acted either purposely, knowingly or recklessly.
An attempt by the defendant to cause serious bodily injury to another constitutes aggravated assault.
Since the attempt is prohibited there can be a conviction even if there is no injury.
However, the state must still prove that there was a purpose - defendant's conscious object - to cause serious bodily injury and defendant took a "substantial step" to cause the injury.
Under New Jersey criminal assault law this is a crime of the second degree.
Under New Jersey criminal assault law, the second type of aggravated assault is caused when the defendant causes serious bodily injury to another.
Here, it is enough for the state to prove that defendant acted knowingly or recklessly under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life.
However, the state must also prove that the victim suffered a serious bodily injury - injury which creates substantial risk of death or which causes serious permanent disfigurement or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ.
Next, the state must prove that the other person suffered a bodily injury.
Finally, the state must prove that the defendant caused the bodily injury.
This offense of assault also includes the attempt to cause bodily injury.
Hence, the prosecution in an attempt case must prove purposeful conduct - it must have been the defendant's purpose to cause bodily injury to another - and that defendant took a "substantial step" to assault the victim.
An assault is also committed when a defendant negligently - accidentally - causes bodily injury to another with a deadly weapon.
Under New Jersey criminal assault law, an assault is also committed when a defendant attempts by physical menace to put another in fear of imminent serious bodily injury.
Under New Jersey criminal assault law, third type of aggravated assault occurs when the defendant attempts to cause bodily injury to another with a deadly weapon.
Here, the state must prove that it was defendant's purpose to cause bodily injury, defendant took a substantial step to cause bodily injury to another and defendant used a deadly weapon in the process.
This is a third degree crime.
Under New Jersey assault law, the fourth type of aggravated assault occurs when the defendant purposely or knowingly causes bodily injury to another with a deadly weapon.
Negligence - accidentally - will not be sufficient for a conviction of this offense although it will be sufficient for a conviction of simple assault.
Here, the state must prove the victim suffered a bodily injury; defendant caused the injury; defendant acted knowingly or purposely and defendant used a deadly weapon.
This is a third degree crime.
A fifth type of aggravated assault occurs when the defendant recklessly caused bodily injury to another with a deadly weapon.
Here, the state must prove recklessness - defendant disregarded a substantial and unjustifiable risk hat the injury would result from his conduct - victim suffered injury caused by defendant while using a deadly weapon.
This is a fourth degree crime.
Under New Jersey assault law the sixth type of aggravated assault occurs when the defendant knowingly under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life points a firearm at or in the direction of another whether or not defendant believes the firearm is loaded.
State must prove that defendant knew he was pointing a firearm in the direction of another and that he knew this created a great risk to human life.
This is also a fourth degree crime.
Under New Jersey criminal assault law simple assault may be elevated to aggravated assault because of the status of the following persons assaulted:
law enforcement officer;
person engaged in emergency first aid or medical services;
any school board member, school administrator, teacher, school bus driver, or other employee of a school board;
employee of the Division of Youth and Family Services;
operator of bus or rail passenger service.
Defendant must be aware of the status of the person being assaulted otherwise it is a simple assault charge.
Under New Jersey criminal assault law the state here must prove the status of the victim; victim was acting in the performance of his or her duties; victim was identifiable as being engaged in the performance of his or her duties.
This is a fourth degree offense except it becomes third degree in case of bodily injury.
Did You Know
An assault that is sexually offensive but lacking in bodily injury cannot be prosecuted as an aggravated assault but it may be prosecuted as a sexual offense.
If you have any questions for a New Jersey criminal defense attorney on a New Jersey Criminal assault or simple assault charge, please do not hesitate to contact us.