In New Jersey, a person can be charged with assault if they injury or attempt to injure another person without legal justification. There are two separate assault charges that a person can be convicted of, and both of these charges can carry significant fines and possibly jail time.
What is Simple Assault?
Under the legal framework for assault in New Jersey, simple assault is the least serious and is categorized as a disorderly persons offense, unless the injury occurred as a result of a consensual fight or scuffle. Disorderly persons offenses and petty disorderly persons offenses are not crimes within the meaning of the New Jersey Constitution.
In New Jersey, a person can be charged with simple assault when they:
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.
It is important to understand that even though this charge is handled in the Municipal Court and is considered to be an offense rather than a criminal charge, you will still have a criminal record.
What Is the Crime of Aggravated Assault in New Jersey?
Aggravated assault is a separate offense from simple assault and can be charged as either a second, third, or fourth-degree crime. However, whether or not you will be charged with aggravated assault will depend on such factors as the unique circumstances of your crime, where and who was assaulted, and if there was severe bodily.
Under N.J.S.A. § 2C:12-1(b) a person can be charged with aggravated assault:
In New Jersey, it is aggravated assault to:
Attempt to cause a serious bodily injury or actually cause such an injury, purposely or knowingly or recklessly, under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life (second degree crime)
Either attempt to cause or purposely or knowingly cause a bodily injury by using a deadly weapon (third-degree crime)
Recklessly cause bodily injury with a deadly weapon (fourth-degree crime)
Knowingly, under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life, point a firearm at or in the direction of another person (fourth-degree crime). Note, that it does not matter whether the defendant believed the firearm was unloaded – as long as the defendant pointed the firearm, the crime is committed
Cause bodily injury while fleeing or attempting to elude a law enforcement officer or unlawfully operating a motor vehicle (second-degree crime). Note that as long as the injury occurred while the defendant committed either of the crimes, it is aggravated assault even if the defendant did not intend to cause an injury
Either attempt to cause significant bodily injury or actually cause such injury, purposely or knowingly or recklessly, under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life (third degree crime)
Cause bodily injury to any emergency services personnel who are either responding to or helping put out a fire that occurred because a defendant knowingly or purposely started a fire or caused an explosion (second degree crime or third degree crime, depending on injury). As long as the injury occurred because the defendant started a fire or caused an explosion, it is aggravated assault even if the defendant did not intend for any emergency services personnel to be injured
Knowingly, under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life, point or display a firearm at or in the direction of a law enforcement officer (third-degree crime)
Knowingly point, display or use an imitation firearm at or in the direction of a law enforcement officer for the purpose of intimidating, threatening, or attempting to put the officer in fear of bodily injury or for any other unlawful purpose (third-degree crime)
Use or activate a laser sighting system or device (or an object that a reasonable person would believe is a laser sight) against a law enforcement officer acting in the performance of his duties while in uniform or exhibiting evidence of his authority (third-degree crime). A “laser sighting system or device” is a system or device that is “integrated with or affixed to a firearm and emits a laser light beam that is used to assist in the sight alignment or aiming of the firearm”
Purposely drive a vehicle in an aggressive manner at another vehicle and bodily injury results (third-degree crime or fourth-degree crime, depending on injury). “Driving a vehicle in an aggressive manner” includes, but is not limited to, “unexpectedly altering the speed of the vehicle, making improper or erratic traffic lane changes, disregarding traffic control devices, failing to yield the right of way, or following another vehicle too closely”
Commit simple assault against certain persons given special protection by New Jersey law due to their occupations (third-degree crime or fourth-degree crime, depending on injury). Those persons are:
law enforcement officers who are assaulted either while acting in the line of duty or because of their status as law enforcement officers
paid or volunteer firemen acting in the line of duty
persons engaged in emergency first-aid or medical services, acting in the line of duty
school board members, school administrators, teachers, school bus drivers, or other employees of a public or nonpublic school or school board who are assaulted either while acting in the line of duty or because of their occupational status
employees of the Division of Child Protection and Permanency who are assaulted either while acting in the line of duty or because they are Division employees
justices of the Supreme Court, judges of the Superior Court, judges of the Tax Court or municipal judges who are assaulted either while engaged in the performance of judicial duties or because they are members of the judiciary
operators of a motorbus or the operator’s supervisor or any employee of a rail passenger service who are assaulted either while acting in the line of duty or because of their occupational status
Department of Corrections employees, county corrections officers, juvenile corrections officers, state juvenile facility employees, juvenile detention staff members, juvenile detention officers, probation officers, or any sheriffs, undersheriffs, or sheriff’s officers acting in the performance of their duties
employees of a utility company or a cable television company (including any person employed under contract) engaged in the performance of their duties. Put simply, this section protects utility workers who may be trying to disconnect services.
health care workers employed by a licensed health care facility to provide direct patient care, or any health care professionals licensed or otherwise authorized to practice a health care profession who are engaged in the performance of their duties, and
direct care workers at a state or county psychiatric hospital or state developmental center or veterans’ memorial home, engaged in the performance of their duties. Aggravated assault will not be charged if the attack is committed by a patient or resident at the facility who is classified by the facility as having a mental illness or developmental disability. (N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:12-1.)
As noted above, aggravated assault may be charged as a 2nd-degree offense, a 3rd-degree offense, or as a 4th-degree offense. This means that you could face penalties anywhere from $10,000 to $150,000. Additionally, if you are charged and convicted of aggravated assault you could face a jail sentence from anywhere from 18 months to 10 years.
CITY OF VENTNOR MUNICIPAL COURT 6201 Atlantic Avenue Ventnor, NJ 08206 (609) 823-7906 (609) 823-7907 FAX (609) 487-3021
Ventnor, New Jersey Assault Defense Lawyers Have the Experience to Handle Your Case
If you have been charged with either simple or aggravated assault, you probably already recognize that you face serious criminal legal consequences. When you decide to work with an attorney from the Law Offices of John J. Zarych you can rest assured that you matter will be handled aggressively and strategically. To schedule a free criminal defense consultation at one of our South Jersey offices in Wildwood, Atlantic City, Atlantic County, or Cape May call us at 800-508-9786 or contact us online.