What is a Simple Assault?
The New Jersey statute on Simple Assault is N.J.S.A 2C:12-1. This law states that a person will be found guilty of simple assault if they:
- Purposely, recklessly or knowingly cause or try to cause bodily injury to another person;
- Negligently cause physical harm to another person using a deadly weapon;
- Attempt through physical menace to invoke fear of threatening injury on another
Simple assault offenses are disorderly persons charges unless they have been committed following a scuffle or fight entered into by mutual consent. In this case, it is a petty disorderly persons charge.
Types of Simple Assault in Law NJ
Simple assault charges in New Jersey can result even if a person did not act deliberately to cause physical injury to another, provided it can be shown that the person acted recklessly or negligently. Also, the statute places criminal liability on a person for attempted and verbal assault as explained in the third scenario above.
Much of the NJ Simple Assault Law makes reference to “bodily injury.” For this purpose, it can be defined as an illness, physical pain or any weakening of another’s physical condition. Therefore, there would need to be attempted or actual contact with the victim’s body. Severe bodily injury, which translates simple assault to aggravated assault, defines a condition in which the injury carries a substantial risk of death, impairment of bodily functions, permanent disfigurement or protracted loss.
Reckless & Negligent Behavior
A person may also be accused of recklessness resulting in simple assault, where the person demonstrated a deliberate disregard for a substantial, unjustifiable and known risk of bodily injury to another. For a person to be charged, there should be a clear and significant deviation from what is considered reasonable for that given set of circumstances. This allows for a line of defense that can be pursued by an experienced simple assault lawyer.
Finally, persons can be charged for simple assault where an individual is shown to have acted negligently. This can only arise if there was a use of a deadly weapon as described by law, i.e. something that can cause serious bodily injury or death, held in such a way as a reasonable victim could believe it to be capable of doing so. The reasonableness standard is outlined in law and must be proven for a conviction to be handed down.
Simple Assault Penalties in NJ
Simple assault as a third-degree offense carries a jail term of up to five years. As a fourth degree offense, it attracts a term of up to 18 months. In most cases, simple assault charges will attract the following penalties:
- Jail term up to 180 days (consensual fights maximum is 30 days)
- Probation at the court’s discretion
- $50 in VCCB assessment
- $75 in Safe Neighborhood Assessment
- $33 in court costs
- $100 for domestic violence surcharges, where applicable
NJ Simple Assault Defense Lawyer
If you or your loved one is facing simple assault charges as described above, contact The Law Office of Benjamin Friedman and set up your free initial consultation with our experienced simple assault defense attorney. We will make every effort to fight so that your charge is dismissed or reduced according to your particular circumstances. Call us today and set up your consultation at our convenient location in Marlton, New Jersey.