Call 24/7 to Book a Free Consultation (732) 709-7757

New Jersey Assault Lawyer

New Jersey Assault Lawyer

Assault can be a serious charge in New Jersey in the instance of aggravated assault which is a crime or felony or it can be a simple assault which can be considered a disorderly persons offense or a petty disorderly offense which is more akin to a misdemeanor. Being convicted of assault crimes can carry lasting impacts, including loss of reputation and difficulty getting a job. Whether it's a simple disagreement between friends that escalated into a physical altercation, or a domestic relationship turned violent, you need experienced representation to handle the complex landscape of assault charges. With decades of experience defending assault charges, Villani and DeLuca are your choice of New Jersey assault lawyers. 

Understanding Assault Charges in New Jersey

There are various categories of assault charges in New Jersey. These categories include simple assault and various instances of aggravated assault, such as assault on a law enforcement officer, firefighter, first aid or medical provider, school board member administrator or various other school employees..... and assault by auto or vessel. A simple assault committed against a specified class of person can escalate it to a higher-level crime. The criminal justice system protects certain public employees by elevating simple to aggravated assault based on the victim's status.

Simple Assault

Simple assault (N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1a(1)) is the least severe assault charge available in New Jersey. Simple assault can be a disorderly person's offense or in some instances petty disorderly offense. A simple Assault charge is typically associated with minor altercations or injury. For example, suppose a person punches another individual and causes them to suffer a minor injury, like a bloody nose or a busted lip. In that case, they can be charged with simple assault which would be a disorderly person's offense. In the instance where there is a fight entered by mutual consent, it can be considered a petty disorderly person's offense which is a lower offense. However, it is not necessary to actually cause harm to another person to be charged with simple assault. Merely attempting to cause bodily injury to another person on purpose is sufficient grounds for a simple assault charge.

The specific Language of the Statute States:        
A person is guilty of assault if the person:
(1) Attempts to cause or purposely, knowingly or recklessly causes bodily injury to another; or
(2) Negligently causes bodily injury to another with a deadly weapon; or
(3) Attempts by physical menace to put another in fear of imminent serious bodily injury.
Simple assault is a disorderly person's offense unless committed in a fight or scuffle entered into by mutual consent, in which case it is a petty disorderly person's offense.

Aggravated Assault

Aggravated assault N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1b. in New Jersey is a crime or indictable offense. In the first section, it is defined under New Jersey law as:

(1) Attempts to cause serious bodily injury to another, or causes such injury purposely or knowingly or under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life recklessly causes such injury (a violation under this section can be treated as a second-degree crime); or
(2) Attempts to cause or purposely or knowingly cause bodily injury to another with a deadly weapon (a violation under this section can be treated as a third-degree crime); or
(3) Recklessly causes bodily injury to another with a deadly weapon (a violation under this section can be treated as a fourth-degree crime); or
(4) Knowingly under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life points a firearm, as defined in section 2C:39-1f., at or in the direction of another, whether or not the actor believes it to be loaded(a violation under this section can be treated as a fourth-degree crime);

 Under New Jersey law, serious bodily injury is defined as “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.” Examples include stab wounds, bone fractures, and significant disfigurement. However, you can be indicted for aggravated assault even if you don't cause any serious bodily injury to another if you use a deadly weapon in the process. Aggravated assault charges in New Jersey are classified in different degrees depending on the seriousness of the injury or the facts of the case. A criminal defense lawyer can help you figure out the best approach to defending against an aggravated assault charge.

Assault on an Officer

In New Jersey, the occupation of the assaulted individual affects the offense's severity. Assault on an officer is a felony charge available against any individual who commits an assault on a police officer or public employee. Public employees covered under this law include firefighters, school employees, judges, corrections officers, and others. For this charge, the severity of the actual assault does not matter. Even a simple assault on an officer, like a push, could result in heavy penalties. If the officer does injury because of the assault, the charges are typically heightened from fourth-degree to third-degree.

Assault by Auto or Vessel

Another aggravated assault charge in NJ can occur when a person drives an automobile or a boat recklessly and causes bodily injury to another. 2c:12-1(c)(1). Driving recklessly means that the individual intentionally disregarded a significant likelihood that their actions would produce a result. They knew their actions could likely result in hitting a pedestrian or causing an accident. This conduct is considered reckless even if they didn't intend to cause harm by driving through the stop sign.  In this situation, if the driver struck and injured a pedestrian, they could be charged with assault by auto.

Domestic Violence and Assault Charges in New Jersey

Domestic violence can be defined as physical, emotional, verbal, or sexual abuse against a person protected under the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act of 1991. Domestic violence laws apply based on the relationship between the offender and the victim. These laws protect individuals who are 18 or over (or an emancipated minor), who have experienced violence from a current or former spouse, someone they have been in a relationship with or someone they live or have lived with. Protections under New Jersey's domestic violence statute also extend to those harmed by someone they share or are expecting a child with.

In New Jersey, domestic violence victims are protected by restraining orders. These restraining orders prohibit domestic violence offenders from contacting or coming within a certain physical distance of the protected individual. Domestic violence victims can start the protective order process by applying for an ex parte temporary restraining order. A judge will listen to their side of the story and determine if a temporary restraining order is necessary. Temporary restraining orders last until a final restraining order hearing, where the judge will listen to both sides and determine whether a final permanent restraining order is needed. Although protective orders are considered civil actions in New Jersey, violating these orders is a criminal offense that mandates an arrest. Multiple protective order violations will result in a mandatory 30-day jail sentence.

2c:12-1(b)12 and 2c:12-1(b)13 are aggravated assault charges stemming from a domestic relationship. in the first instance where significant bodily injury is inflicted or attempted it can be a third-degree charge. in section 13 there could be a second-degree charge if pressure is provided to the nose or neck and breath is blocked. in many instances where there is no serious injury a simple assault may be charged.

Penalties and Legal Outcomes

The type of penalties that stem from assault charges largely depend on the kind of assault an individual committed. For Petty disorderly persons offense simple assault, the penalties include up to 30 days in jail and a maximum fine of $500.00. For a disorderly person's offense, the penalties include up to six months in jail and a maximum fine of $1,000. Even though simple assault is the least serious assault charge, being convicted carries lasting severe consequences. Any individual convicted of simple assault will have a permanent criminal record, which could make finding future employment more difficult or even cause their current employer to terminate them.

Aggravated assault carries more severe penalties than simple assault. Because it is a felony, being convicted of aggravated assault could lead to lengthy prison sentences and high fines. Second-degree aggravated assault carries the most severe penalties of aggravated assault charges. For example, a person convicted of second-degree aggravated assault could face five to ten years in prison and fines totaling over $100,000. Additionally, the No Early Release Act requires a person convicted of second-degree aggravated assault to serve at least 85% of their prison sentence before becoming parole-eligible.  For lesser third- and fourth-degree assault charges, fines can range from $10,000 to $15,000, with prison sentences ranging from eighteen months to five years.

Defense Strategies and Legal Representation

When you're facing assault charges in New Jersey, you can't afford to waste time in seeking legal representation. At Villani and DeLuca, we offer our years of experience in handling criminal matters. We'll provide a tailored approach based on your specific circumstances and build the best defense possible for even the most complex assault and domestic violence charges. Common defenses that we may consider include:

  • Self-Defense: Self-defense requires proving that the “victim” actually threatened you with bodily injury before you were required to use reasonable force to protect yourself. This defense is especially successful when you use no more force than necessary to protect yourself from the threat.

  • Defense of Others: Just like you have a right to defend yourself against bodily harm with reasonable force, you may also do the same to defend others

  • Lack of Intent: Remember, to be convicted of assault, you must have intentionally or recklessly caused bodily harm to another. If you were acting reasonably and did not intend to cause bodily harm to another, you won't meet the necessary mental requirement to be convicted of assault. For example, if a pedestrian unlawfully ran across the street while you were driving through a green light and you hit them, you neither intentionally tried to hurt them nor were acting recklessly.

At Villani and DeLuca, we understand the impact an assault charge can have on your life. We're committed to providing the best criminal defense representation and securing your rights to the fullest extent. If you're facing an assault charge in New Jersey, don't go at it alone. Reach out today for a free consultation and put your trust in New Jersey's premier criminal defense attorneys.


Contact Us Today

Villani & DeLuca, P.C. is committed to answering your questions about Divorce & Family Law, Criminal Defense, Personal Injury, and DWI & Traffic Law issues in New Jersey. We offer a Free Consultation and we'll gladly discuss your case with you at your convenience. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.