Assault charges can range from relatively low-level crimes to very serious violent offenses. If you are facing charges for assault in New Jersey, you could be looking at potential jail time, even for low-level offenses. For help with your case, you should call the Law Offices of John J. Zarych.
For college students especially, these charges can be quite severe. Being convicted of a crime could mean being unable to continue with your studies while you submit to your sentence, and your university might take disciplinary actions against you, potentially including expulsion. To help protect your academic career and your future, contact our New Jersey attorneys for Rowan University students accused of assault. Our lawyers offer free legal consultations to help you understand the charges you face and learn more about how your case can proceed. For a free legal consultation, call our lawyers today at 609-616-4956.
Assault Charges for College Students
The crime of “assault” is broken down into two types: simple assault and aggravated assault. “Simple” assault is named as such because the crime consists of a simple illegal action: hitting someone. If you punch, kick, or otherwise strike someone without using a weapon, you can be arrested for simple assault under N.J.S.A. § 2C:12-1. More specifically, the crime includes “attempts” to hit someone else, so you may even be arrested for simple assault even if you missed your target.
Alternatively, you can also be arrested for simple assault if you “negligently” cause injury with a deadly weapon, e.g., by mishandling a gun or knife. You can also be arrested for using “physical menace” to make someone think you are going to hit them. This could include acts like cocking a fist back or aggressively moving toward someone without the intent to actually hit them.
Aggravated assault is a much more serious offense. This includes striking someone or otherwise attacking them and causing “serious bodily injury.” It can also include attacks that seriously threaten someone’s life – essentially what could be considered “attempted murder.”
Aggravated assault also includes harm caused by deadly weapons. Rather than the “negligent” harm for simple assault, the harm must be purposeful or reckless. Like assault by “physical menace,” you can also be arrested for aggravated assault if you point a gun at someone without showing value for human life. Even if you think the gun was unloaded, the act of pointing a deadly weapon at someone is enough to count as aggravated assault.
It also counts as aggravated assault to harm someone with explosives, to harm someone while fleeing police, or to injure people under some other circumstances.
Lastly, simple assault can be upgraded to aggravated assault if you strike at certain individuals. These protected classes of people generally include police, firefighters, EMTs, and other emergency responders, plus school employees and teachers, judges, public transit drivers, prison workers, healthcare workers, and some other public employees.
Penalties for Assault Charges for College Students
Assault charges can range from the lowest of the low-level crimes to the second highest possible level of crime based on the circumstances of the assault. Crimes in New Jersey are organized into “disorderly persons offenses” and “indictable crimes,” with disorderly persons offenses being a lower level of offense.
All aggravated assault charges are indictable crimes. These crimes range from fourth degree crimes for things like reckless injury and third degree crimes for upgraded simple assaults and other severe forms of aggravated assault. Assault by auto or vessel while committing a drunk driving or drunk boating offense is upgraded further to a second degree crime.
These levels of offense carry the following penalties:
- Fourth degree crimes carry up to 18 months in prison and fines up to $10,000.
- Third degree crimes carry 3-5 years in prison and fines up to $15,000.
- Second degree crimes carry 5-10 years in prison and fines up to $150,000
Simple assault is a disorderly persons offense unless it is upgraded by attacking those protected individuals. For simple assault involving a fight between people who consented to fight, the charges are reduced even further to a “petty” disorderly persons offense.
These levels of crime carry the following penalties:
- Petty disorderly persons offenses carry up to 30 days in jail and fines up to $1,000.
- Disorderly persons offenses carry up to 6 months in jail and fines up to $1,000.
In addition to these criminal penalties, you could face additional penalties from your university if the crime occurred on school property. Attacking a school employee, professor, RA, or fellow student may be grounds for expulsion or serious reprimands at school. Your attorney can also help you with any disciplinary hearings or other penalties at school.
Assault Defense Lawyer for Rowan University Students Offering Free Legal Consultations
If you are facing charges for a violent offense like assault, it is important to talk to an attorney. Especially if the alleged crime was committed on school property or against a classmate or school employee, you could face expulsion and other penalties in addition to the criminal fines and jail time. For help fighting your case, call the Law Offices of John J. Zarych today. If you are a parent looking for a lawyer for your college student child, you can also call our NJ attorneys for Rowan University students accused of assault. To schedule your free legal consultation, call our law offices today at 609-616-4956.