Generally speaking, assault refers to causing or attempting to cause some level of bodily injury to another person. If you have been arrested on an assault charge in New Jersey, you need straight answers from an attorney you can trust. We are accomplished criminal defense lawyers handling both straight-forward and complex criminal assault cases in South Jersey. Our experienced and dedicated New Jersey criminal defense attorneys believe that our clients deserve strategic, aggressive defense when facing serious assault charges.
Simple & Aggravated Assault Charges
In New Jersey, assault can take two forms. The lesser charge is known as simple assault while more serious assault allegations are typically charged as aggravated assault.
Simple assault is defined as an offense under N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:12-1. Per the text of the statute, there are at least three main archetypical simple assault scenarios. The first scenario is where an individual intentionally causes harm or intentionally attempts to cause serious bodily injury to another person. The second scenario is where the actor did not intend to bring about harm, but negligent or careless actions with a deadly weapon result in an injury. A deadly weapon is not limited to only traditional weapons like guns and knives. Rather, the object utilized is considered in the context of the alleged assaulter’s actions. For instance, a brick is not typically considered a weapon. However, if one were to throw the brick at another person as a projectile or otherwise use the brick as a weapon, it is highly likely that it would be considered a deadly weapon under the circumstances. Finally, those who place another person in imminent fear of serious bodily harm can be charged with assault.
Most simple assault charges are charged as disorderly persons offense level. The maximum sentence of imprisonment authorized for a disorderly persons offense is six months and the maximum fine authorized is $1,000.
Aggravated assault is more serious and is defined as a crime under. Generally speaking, aggravated assault involves causing or attempting to cause serious bodily injury or bodily injury with a deadly weapon. Additionally, an offense that would constitute simple assault when committed against certain persons acting in the performance of their duties, such as law enforcement officers, firemen, D.Y.F.S workers and judges, can be charged as an aggravated assault. Other scenarios where aggravated assault charges may be appropriate include:
- Knowingly, while under circumstances showing extreme indifference to human life, display or aim a firearm at a law enforcement official.
- Intentionally drive a vehicle in an aggressive manner directed towards another individual or motor vehicle that results in a serious bodily injury.
- Committing simple assault against the driver or operator of a motor coach or bus driver.
- When a bodily injury is caused due to an individual’s actual or attempted elusion of law enforcement officers.
Many other scenarios can give rise to aggravated assault charges.
Assault Charges in New Jersey can Carry Serious Penalties
Depending upon the alleged circumstances, aggravated assault can be charged as a second, third or fourth degree crime. Aggravated assault charges are dealt with in the Superior Courts. Second degree aggravated assault is subject to the No Early Release Act, meaning that a person convicted must serve 85% of his or her prison sentence before he or she can be released on parole. Once released, the person is required to serve a minimum of three years on parole.
There are defenses in an assault case, for example:
- Did you knowingly or purposely cause the injury?
- Was it self defense?
- Does the level of injury amount to the specific crime charged?
Our lawyers are willing and able to try assault cases. We will make a recommendation whether to try the case or take a plea bargain to lesser charges, but the final choice is always yours. Our assault defense lawyers serve clients throughout South Jersey, including Wildwood, Absecon, Mays Landing, Somers Point, Brigantine, Ventnor Heights, Egg Harbor City, Hammonton, Buena Township, Hamilton Township, Galloway Vista Township, Rio Grande and East Vineland.
Our Attorneys Handle Assault Charges in Cape May & Atlantic Counties & Beyond
The experienced criminal defense lawyers of The Law Offices of John J. Zarych are dedicated to fighting for people charged with serious crimes. We have successfully handled many assault cases throughout Atlantic County, Cape May County and beyond. If you or someone you know is in need of assault defense, contact an experienced New Jersey criminal defense lawyer about your case by calling (609) 616-4956 or contact us online. Lawyers are available to discuss your concerns seven days a week, 24 hours a day, including holidays.