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Bar Fight Assault Charges: Think Before You Swing

Posted by Carmine R. Villani | Apr 18, 2015 | 0 Comments

Anytime alcohol is involved, what starts as a conversations can quickly escalate into a debate, disagreement and result in a bar fight. If someone is injured during a bar fight, you might find yourself slapped with a criminal assault charge.


In New Jersey, you can be charged with fighting if you engage in any type of physical altercation or tumultuous behavior with another person. These types of offenses are not to be confused with assault offenses or child abuse offenses, which each have their own separate laws in the state of New Jersey. Assaults can be graded as either simple or aggravated assault, based on the circumstances of the incident.

Simple Assault (N.J.S.A § 2C:12-1)

A simple assault is a small-scale fight; it can be an argument that got out of hand leading to a bar fight. A person commits simple assault by three ways: attempting to or actually causing someone else to suffer an injury, negligently injuring someone else by using a weapon, or putting another person in fear of suffering a serious bodily injury.

“Bodily Injury”

A bodily injury occurs when the victim suffers at least some physical (not mental) injury. Defined by New Jersey law as “physical pain, illness or any impairment of physical condition”.
Slap victims have to prove that they actually suffered damages (and the hot sting on the cheek may not be enough). So, since a slap is unlikely to cause any real physical harm they may seek damages for emotional distress.

Aggravated Assault (N.J.S.A § 2C:12-1(b))

Depending on the circumstances, a charge of third degree aggravated assault in New Jersey can lead to five years in prison (in addition to other penalties). The New Jersey law advances a simple assault charge to the indictable crime of aggravated assault by taking into account the following factors:
• Whether a weapon was used, and if so, the type of weapon
• What the victim was doing when the assault took place
• The level of injury to the victim
• The presence of witnesses who may have been negatively affected by witnessing the assault
• The ages of any such witnesses
• Where the assault took place
• The employment of the victim at the time of the assault

Caught in a Fight? Hire a Defense Attorney Immediately

No matter if it's a simple assault or an aggravated assault, when a fun night out with friends ends with a criminal charge, you need experienced, aggressive criminal defense attorneys protecting your rights. You need Viallani & DeLuca P.C. If you or a family member is facing a disorderly conduct charge for fighting, do not hesitate to contact the experienced criminal defense lawyers at Villani & DeLuca today. The attorneys at Villani & DeLuca offer free consultations to those charged with disorderly conduct in Ocean County and Monmouth County and surrounding areas. Call us at 732-709-7757 for your free initial consultation today.

About the Author

Carmine R. Villani

Founding partner, Carmine Villani, Esq. is a former municipal prosecutor with over three decades of experience in Criminal and DWI Defense.


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