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Sea Isle City Assault Defense Attorney

Assault is one of the most commonly charged crimes in New Jersey.  Despite assault being a common charge, you should not take any criminal matter lightly. If you are charged and convicted of either simple or aggravated assault then you can face steep fines and potential jail time.

N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1 encompasses the offenses of simple assault, aggravated assault, assault by auto or vessel, simple assault by certain persons against an institutionalized elderly individual and simple assault committed because of race, color, religion, gender, handicap, sexual orientation or ethnicity. The offense of assault can be committed purposely, knowingly, recklessly or negligently.

What is New Jersey’s Law on Simple Assault?

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A simple assault is an offense that entails either knowingly or negligently causing bodily harm, or putting a person in fear of bodily harm. It is the least serious of the category of assault offenses. A simple assault charge is most commonly charged in cases of fights or minor injuries. A simple assault has a maximum penalty of 6 months in a jail and/or a $1000 fine. The majority of simple assault cases are filed in your local municipal court. A simple assault is only considered to be a disorderly persons offense. A simple assault contains four possible culpability states. A person can be convicted of a simple assault by acting either purposefully, knowingly, recklessly, or negligently. This offense is often charged as an act of domestic violence, as part of a DWI case, a heated argument between neighbors, or as part of a police/citizen encounter. The role of the municipal court is to enable New Jersey residents to resolve simple assault disputes before the situation becomes more violent.

New Jersey law as it pertains to simple assault is codified in N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1 and provides:  Simple Assault. A person is guilty of assault if he:

  • Attempts to cause or purposely, knowingly, or recklessly causes bodily injury to another; or
  • Negligently causes bodily injury to another with a deadly weapon; or
  • Attempts by physical menace to put another in fear of imminent serious bodily injury.

Simple Assault is a disorderly persons offense unless it is committed in a fight or scuffle entered into by mutual consent, in which case it is a petty disorderly persons offense.

What is Aggravated Assault?

N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1 encompasses the offenses of simple assault, aggravated assault, assault by auto or vessel, simple assault by certain persons against an institutionalized elderly individual and simple assault committed because of race, color, religion, gender, handicap, sexual orientation or ethnicity. The offense of assault can be committed purposely, knowingly, recklessly or negligently.

(2) N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1b(2), provides that a person is guilty of third-degree aggravated assault if he “attempts to cause or purposely or knowingly causes bodily injury to another with a deadly weapon.”

(3) N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1b(3), provides that recklessly causing bodily injury with a deadly weapon constitutes a fourth-degree offense.

(4) N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1b(4), provides that it is a crime of the fourth degree to knowingly, under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life, point a firearm as defined in N.J.S.A. 2C:39-1f, at or in the direction of another, whether or not the actor believes it to be loaded.

(5) A person is guilty of aggravated assault, contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1b(5), if he commits a simple assault upon a variety of persons, including law enforcement officer, paid or volunteer fireman, any person engaged in emergency first aid or medical services, school bus driver, a school board member, employee, administrator, teacher or other employee of the school board, any employee of the Division of Youth and Family Services, any Justice of the Supreme Court, judge of the Superior Court, Tax Court or municipal judge or any operator of a motorbus while such person is in uniform or is otherwise identifiable as being on duty. A defendant is guilty of a third degree crime if the victim suffers bodily injury and is guilty of a fourth degree crime if the victim does not.

(6) A person is guilty of second-degree aggravated assault, contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1b(6), if he causes bodily injury to another while fleeing or attempting to elude a law enforcement officer in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:29-2b (fleeing or attempting to elude any law enforcement officer after having received a signal from the officer to bring the vehicle to a full stop) or while operating a motor vehicle in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:20- 10c (“joyriding”), imposing a strict liability standard. See State v. Dorko, 298 N.J. Super. 54 (App. Div.), certif. denied, 150 N.J. 28 (1997).

(7) A person is guilty of aggravated assault, contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1b(7) if he attempts to cause significant bodily injury to another or causes significant bodily injury purposely or knowingly or, under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life recklessly causes such significant bodily injury.

(8) A person is guilty of aggravated assault, contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1(8), if he causes bodily injury by knowingly or purposely starting a fire or causing an explosion in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:17-1 (arson and related offenses) which results in bodily injury to any emergency services personnel involved in fire suppression activities, rendering emergency medical services resulting from the fire or explosion or rescue operations, or rendering any necessary assistance at the scene of the fire or explosion, including any bodily injury sustained while responding to the scene of a reported fire or explosion.

(9) A person is guilty of third-degree aggravated assault if he knowingly, under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to human life, points or displays a firearm at or in the direction of a law enforcement officer, N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1b(9).

(10) A person is guilty of third-degree aggravated assault, contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1b(10), if he knowingly points, displays or uses an imitation firearm at a law enforcement officer with the purpose to intimidate, threaten or attempt to put the officer in fear of bodily injury or for any unlawful purpose.

(11) A person is guilty of third-degree aggravated assault, contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1b(11) if he uses or activates a laser sighting system or device or a system/ device which would cause a reasonable person to believe that it is a laser sighting system/device at a law enforcement officer acting in the performance of his duties while in uniform or exhibiting evidence of authority.

Where Will My Case Be Heard?

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The Municipal Court is a separate branch of government. The municipal court hears cases related to four separate categories including:

  • Violations of motor vehicle and traffic laws
  • Violations of disorderly and petty disorderly persons offenses (criminal matters which may result in fines or jail)
  • Violations of municipal ordinances (local laws)
  • Violations of Fish and Game laws, Weights and Measures, SPCA, and Boating Regulations

Our Sea Isle City Criminal Defense Attorneys Handle Assault Charges

Each assault case is different, and whether or not you are convicted depends on the facts surrounding your case.  However, having an experienced criminal defense attorney can greatly increase your chances of having the charges reduced, dropped, or increase the probability of a favorable verdict. 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, Sea Isle City 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.

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