Facing criminal charges in New Jersey should be taken seriously. Many people tend to believe that a mere criminal charge is not a big deal. However, if you are convicted of a disorderly persons offense or indictable crime in New Jersey, you can face severe criminal consequences. This is especially true in cases involving assault with bodily injury. You might wonder if charges for this type of crime can lead to jail time in New Jersey. Our Atlantic City assault defense attorneys at the Law Office of John J. Zarych invite you to keep reading as we discuss whether you will go to jail for assault causing bodily injury in New Jersey.
Will You Face Jail Time for Assault Causing Bodily Injury in New Jersey?
Assault is a serious crime, and you may face severe consequences if you are convicted of these charges. In New Jersey, you can face assault charges for three different reasons. According to N.J.S.A. § 2C:12-1, you can face assault charges if you inflict or attempt to inflict injury on another person deliberately or recklessly. You can also be charged with assault if you inflict injury while using a weapon or if you place another person in fear for their safety.
You can be charged with two types of assaults: simple assault and aggravated assault. Simple assault happens when a person knowingly or negligently injures another or puts them in reasonable fear of harm. On the other hand, aggravated assault can occur when a person inflicts serious bodily harm upon another. Aggravated assault can also happen in situations where a person used a deadly weapon, pointed a gun to another person (regardless of it being loaded), or assaulted a police officer, firefighter, or school bus driver.
You may wonder how a bodily injury or serious bodily injury can impact your case. You may tend to use both of these terms interchangeably, thinking they refer to the same type of harm. However, there are distinctions worth noting. Our Atlantic City aggravated assault lawyers discuss each of them below.
Assault Causing Bodily Injury
Under New Jersey law, bodily injury refers to “physical pain, illness or any impairment of physical condition.” (NJ Rev Stat § 2C:11-1). These are elements included in assault cases. Additionally, the prosecution is required to establish other aspects such as attempting to cause bodily injury either purposely, knowingly, or recklessly. Typically, the sum of all these elements may lead to simple assault, which is considered a disorderly persons offense – or misdemeanor. Additionally, assault using a deadly weapon will be considered aggravated assault even if it results in bodily injury instead of serious bodily injury.
Assault Causing Serious Bodily Injury
Assault causing serious bodily injury is a more serious charge, which can lead to indictable crime charges. Serious bodily injuries – according to New Jersey Law – refers to bodily injury that creates a substantial risk of death. Moreover, disfigurement or an injury that causes the loss of bodily function can also be considered a serious bodily injury. Unlike simple assault, causing serious bodily injury upon another is regarded as an aggravated assault. However, to establish aggravated assault, the prosecution has to establish all of the alleged offense elements, including attempting or causing serious bodily injury purposely or knowingly, showing extreme indifference for human life – among other elements.
No matter the type of assault charges you face in New Jersey, you can face severe penalties. If convicted of assault or aggravated assault, you can face jail or prison time and hefty criminal fines.
What Are the Penalties for an Assault Causing Bodily Injury in New Jersey?
New Jersey has two main crime categories: disorderly persons offenses and indictable offenses. Disorderly persons offenses are the less severe types of crimes. These criminal offenses can be compared to misdemeanors in other jurisdictions. Typically, a criminal conviction based on a disorderly persons offense carries less severe penalties. If you are convicted for a disorderly persons offense, you can face up to six months in jail and thousands of dollars in fines.
Indictable offenses – also referred to as crimes – are more severe and typically carry harsher consequences. Indictable offenses are divided into degrees. Each of these crimes has its particular penalties. For example, if you are convicted for a fourth-degree crime in N.J., you can face up to eighteen months in jail and $10,000 in fines. However, if you are convicted of a second-degree crime, you can face up to ten years in prison and up to $150,000 in fines. As a general rule of thumb, the lower the crime’s degree, the higher its penalties.
Simple assault in New Jersey is often charged as a disorderly persons offense, which can carry a penalty of up to six months in jail and $1,000 in criminal fines. However, if your charges are elevated to aggravated assault, your penalties can increase dramatically. For example, if you are convicted of assault causing serious bodily injury, you can face second-degree indictable offense charges. If convicted, you can face up to ten years in prison and up to $150,000 in fines.
In addition to these crippling penalties, you will also have a criminal record. Having a criminal record can lead to additional consequences. For instance, if you serve time in jail and are released, you may find it almost impossible to find a new job, get a new house, or apply for a personal loan. If you are facing assault charges in New Jersey, you must get legal assistance from an experienced, skilled South Jersey assault defense lawyer.
Can I Defend Against my Assault Charges in New Jersey?
The first thing to understand is that not everything is lost if you were charged with assault in New Jersey. It is possible to defend against your charges. Most people believe that being arrested and charged with an offense in New Jersey equals automatic jail time and fines. However, this is not the case. Under our criminal justice system, all defendants are innocent until proven guilty.
One of the most important factors to consider is that the prosecution has to prove that you assaulted the plaintiff beyond any reasonable doubt. In other words, the prosecutor must prove you intentionally created reasonable apprehension on the plaintiff. The prosecutor may also need to prove you knowingly or negligently caused bodily harm to the plaintiff. The facts in your case must also support all of the elements of your alleged offense. If the prosecution cannot show their case beyond any reasonable doubt, you cannot be charged.
Additionally, there may be other strategies that may allow you to fight off your charges. For example, you can challenge the circumstances surrounding your arrest. If a police officer arrested you unlawfully, your charges might be dismissed. The same can happen in situations where witness testimony is inconsistent or unavailable. It is always in your best interest to hire an attorney who can help you handle your particular case.
Contact Our New Jersey Assault Defense Attorney If You Were Charged with Causing Bodily Harm
If you or a loved one was charged with assault or aggravated assault in New Jersey, we can help. Our Atlantic City criminal defense attorneys from the Law Offices of John J. Zarych can help you defend against your charges. Thanks to many years of experience handling criminal cases in New Jersey, we have developed the necessary skills to guide you and protect your rights as a defendant. Let our experience and dedication help you through this challenging time. To learn more about your case in a free, confidential consultation, call our law offices today at (609) 616-4956.