What Changes a Simple Assault to Aggravated Assault? How Do the Penalties Differ?
It can happen in an instant. You’re involved in a verbal exchange with another person and somebody crosses the line. Before you know it, somebody’s either made a verbal or physical threat or there’s been physical contact, either in the form of a push or shove or an exchange of blows. What are the potential consequences of such an incident? How can you know how serious the potential charges might be?
Simple and Aggravated Assault in New Jersey
Unlike many states, New Jersey recognizes a type of criminal offense known as “assault,” but does not use the term “battery” to refer to a criminal act. Instead, battery is exclusively a civil wrong, allowing the victim to sue for damages.
However, New Jersey does make a distinction between “simple” assault and “aggravated” assault:
- Simple assault in New Jersey involves any reckless or intentional act done for the purpose of causing physical injury to another person, whether or not any bodily injury actually occurs. In fact, subjecting another person to a reasonable fear of “imminent bodily injury” can also be charged as simple assault. For example, wielding a baseball bat in a way that suggests a threat of using it in a physical attack may constitute simple assault.
- Aggravated assault, the more serious offense, may stem from a number of situations:
- Intentionally causing serious bodily injury
- Intentionally or recklessly using a deadly weapon to cause bodily injury
- Assaulting anyone in a protected class of victims, such as a police or law enforcement officer or a healthcare employee
- Inflicting serious bodily injury in a domestic dispute
How Do the Penalties Differ?
In most instances, simple assault is charged as a disorderly person’s offense in municipal court. The maximum penalties are six months of incarceration and a fine of $1,000.
Aggravated assault, however, may be prosecuted as an indictable offense in New Jersey (similar to a felony in other states). For the lesser indictable assault offense, the maximum sentencing is 18 months in prison and $10,000 in fines. The most serious assault crimes can lead to up to 10 years in prison and a fine of $150,000.
Contact Attorney Matthew V. Markosian to Protect Your Constitutional Rights
To set up an appointment with attorney Matthew V. Markosian, call us at 609-455-2090 or contact our office by email. Evening and weekend appointments can be scheduled, upon request. Your first consultation is without cost or obligation. Because of our experience and reputation, most of our new cases come to us as referrals from other attorneys, or from former clients.
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