When a losing streak gets you upset or a night out on the town in Atlantic City involves too much alcohol, you may be tempted to start a fight. If you get into a serious physical altercation in a casino in Atlantic City, casino security is likely to throw you out and call the police. This can lead to assault charges, which carry potential jail time and expensive fines.
If you or a loved one was charged with assault in an Atlantic City casino, call the Law Offices of John J. Zarych today. Our Atlantic City casino assault attorneys offer free legal consultations to help you understand the charges you face and what you can do to get charges reduced and dismissed. To schedule a free consultation on your assault charges, call us today at (609) 616-4956.
New Jersey Assault and Aggravated Assault Laws
“Assault” is often used as a general term for a series of potential offenses, but under New Jersey law, assault has a set of very specific meanings. These charges should only arise in situations where each element of the crime is met, and other situations should be charged under other offenses or charges should be dropped altogether. Moreover, assaults are typically further classified as either “simple assault” or “aggravated assault.”
Assault under N.J.S.A. § 2C:12-1 is the crime of attempting to cause “bodily injury” to someone else. “Bodily injury” is defined under N.J.S.A. §2C:11-1 as “physical pain, illness or any impairment of physical condition,” meaning that there is a very low threshold for what is considered “bodily injury.” Note, additionally, that the crime consists of an attempt. That means that you need not actually strike someone else to be arrested for assault; simply throwing a punch or missing with a strike could still be a fully completed crime.
Simple assault applies under three circumstances:
- “[P]urposely, knowingly or recklessly” attempting to cause bodily injury
- “Negligently” causing injury with a “deadly weapon”
- Putting someone “in fear of imminent serious bodily injury” by “physical menace”
Breaking this down, we see that the first option is the broadest and covers many situations that result in a low level of harm or no harm at all. The second type of assault has a lower intent level that requires mere negligence, but there must be actual harm to be a crime. Assault by physical menace typically covers things like using your size or physique to intimidate someone, but they must fear “serious bodily injury,” which includes permanent or long-term injuries. This is a high standard to meet.
Aggravated assault involves more serious injury or more intentional harm. Aggravated assault is charged in a range of situations involving deadly weapons, serious bodily injury, reckless harm, harm with “extreme indifference to the value of human life,” and harming first responders, teachers, and other public employees.
When Can You Be Charged with Assault in a Casino in NJ?
In a casino, assault is typically the product of drunken arguments or arguments spurred by frustration over losing money. In most cases, these fights are more akin to bar fights as opposed to planned attacks or serious assaults. However, if the defendant continues to pummel a victim or uses a weapon, the crime could easily be elevated to aggravated assault.
Assaults in casinos typically involve one of the following types of assaults:
- Punching another patron or casino employee
- Hitting casino security, a bouncer, or a police officer during another altercation
- Accidental discharge of a loaded firearm
- Physical intimidation of another
- Assaulting an EMT after accidental injury
- Fights on the casino floor
- Fights outside a casino
This is not an exhaustive list, and there are thousands of other possible ways to be charged with assault in a casino. Note that many of these offenses may also qualify for other charges, such as charges for resisting arrest, carrying an illegal firearm, disorderly conduct for engaging in fighting, and other offenses.
Penalties for Assault in a Casino
Assaulting someone else, whether in a casino or somewhere else in New Jersey, is usually charged as either simple or aggravated assault. Which level of assault is charged defines your potential penalties with aggravated assault carrying higher penalties than simple assault.
Simple assault is typically a disorderly persons offense. This is the lowest level of criminal offense in New Jersey and carries a potential of up to 6 months in jail and fines up to $1,000. If both parties agreed to a fight, the charges are reduced to a “petty” disorderly persons offense which has a max fine of $500 and typically limits jail time to 30 days. Under either level of crime, the jail time is optional, and a judge may order a fine only.
Aggravated assault is a much more serious offense. Depending on how the assault occurs, the crime can be charged as anything from a fourth degree crime to a second degree crime for the types of assaults that could occur in a casino. Talk to an attorney if you face more serious aggravated assault charges.
Atlantic City Casino Assault Defense Lawyer
If you were charged with assault in a casino, contact the Atlantic City casino assault attorneys at the Law Offices of John J. Zarych today. Our attorneys fight to get charges of all levels dropped and dismissed to help our clients avoid jail time and high fines. For help with your case, contact our law offices today to schedule a free consultation. Our number is (609) 616-4956.