When a person is arrested for any reason, it is vital that they understand what their charges mean. This is especially true when it comes to violent crimes, including assault. If you or a loved one has been charged with a certain kind of assault, you may be confused as to what it actually all means. If you have been charged, but don’t understand the difference between simple assault vs aggravated assault charges or what your defense options are, read on:
Simple Assault vs Aggravated Assault
Simple assault in New Jersey occurs when one individual is made fearful of another. This can be as simple as one person making a threat to hit another. Simple assault can also occur when a person lays a hand on another in a harmful or threatening manner. This can involve any physical act which makes the individual fearful or which results in one party suffering from minor bodily harm. An assault turns from simple assault to aggravated assault if a weapon is involved, when one party suffers serious bodily harm, what the victim was doing when the assault took place, where the assault occurred, as well as the employment of the victim at the time of the assault. While both are violent crimes, a simple assault vs aggravated assault charge can determine a lot in terms of sentencing and defense strategies.
Penalties for Simple Assault in the State of New Jersey
Simple assault in New Jersey is generally considered to be a disorderly persons offense in instances where a threat of harm or an actual fight is initiated by one party. This charge may be considered a petty disorderly person’s offense in instances where a fight is mutual. Simple assault charges are handled in the Municipal Court in the municipality in which the alleged violence occurred. Those that are found guilty of a simple assault face a maximum of six months in one of New Jersey’s county jails, possible probation and a fine of up to $1,000.
Penalties for Aggravated Assault in the State of New Jersey
Aggravated assault in New Jersey is a serious violent offense that can be graded as either a second degree, third degree or fourth degree charge. Cases of aggravated assault, in either degree, must be heard before the Superior Court in the county in which the alleged assault occurred. The penalties for a second degree charge involve anywhere from five to ten years in a New Jersey state prison. A third degree charge of aggravated assault, however, has a possible sentence of three to five years in a New Jersey state prison.
The degree of aggravated assault is determined by a variety of factors including the severity of the injuries, the employment of the victim at the time of the assault, and the use of weapons. Because of the severe penalties when it comes to simple assault vs. aggravated assault charges, an aggravated assault in either degree is a much more serious charge than a simple assault.
Build a Strong Defense
If you or a loved one has been charged with assault, it is important to discuss possible defenses and work with our experienced criminal defense attorneys. We will assist you in understanding the differences between various types of assault charges and guide you through the legal process. Call today at [dyna_phone phone=’1′ format=’dashed’] for your free consultation, we represent clients throughout Monmouth County and Ocean County.