Simple assault charges should be taken seriously. The NJ assault crime lawyers at our firm have years of experience defending clients charged with simple assault. These charges carry harsh consequences and could result in a criminal record if you are convicted. If you have been charged with a violation of NJSA 2C:12-1(a), speak with an attorney at our firm who can answer any and all questions you may have.
Usually, a simple assault case is heard in Municipal Court. However, in certain circumstances, it can be heard in Superior (county) Court. Typically, simple assault charges stem from an attack, bar fight, street fight, or domestic violence resulting in mild injuries.
Under N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1(a) a person is guilty of simply 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.
N.J.S.A. 2C:11-1 defines:
- "Bodily injury" as physical pain, illness or any impairment of physical condition;
- "Serious bodily injury" means bodily injury, which creates a substantial risk of death or which causes serious, permanent disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ;
- "Deadly weapon" means any firearm or other weapon, device, instrument, material or substance, whether animate or inanimate, which in the manner it is used or is intended to be used, is known to be capable of producing death or serious bodily injury or which in the manner it is fashioned would lead the victim reasonably to believe it to be capable of producing death or serious bodily injury;
- "Significant bodily injury" means bodily injury, which creates a temporary loss of the function of any bodily member or organ or temporary loss of any one of the five senses.
Simple assault is a disorderly persons offense unless committed in a fight or scuffle entered into by mutual consent, in which case it is a petty disorderly persons offense.
Although termed "simple," the penalties for a simple assault conviction can be severe. The court may impose up to six (6) months in jail, a fine of up to $1,000, and fees ranging from $150 to $300. If the charge is downgraded to a petty disorderly persons offense, it can still result in up to 90 days in jail and up to $500 in fines. Most importantly, a simple assault conviction can permanently tarnish your criminal record.
Often, simple assault charges arise from domestic violence. Violent or aggressive behavior of one spouse or partner upon the other may result in these charges. The penalties for domestic violence and simple assault charges in New Jersey usually involve a restraining order prior to conviction. In addition, if convicted of the original charge the penalties for that charge will also be imposed.
Simple assault charges, whether domestic violence related or not, are very serious and should not be taken lightly. At LS&P Lawyers we are here to help.