We have gathered the following New Jersey assault laws and statutes for your reference. As the offense of assault is very broad, we have broken it down into several areas, including simple assault, aggravated assault, assault by auto, and assault on a police officer, to better guide you. The statutes provided below are meant only to serve as general information.
Lower on this page, we have also included brief examples of conduct that can result in one of the listed assault or assault-related charges in New Jersey. If you have been charged under one of the following laws, please contact Villani & DeLuca, P.C. at (732) 709-7757 for a free, no obligation consultation with a criminal defense lawyer.
Assault Laws in NJ:
- 2C:12-1. Assault. – An assault is any attack or threat of attack carried out against another human being. Assaults can be committed with or without a weapon – as long as the offender meant to hurt, maim or potentially kill his or her victim, he or she has committed an assault. Assaults can be considered simple or aggravated, depending on the circumstances of the particular crime.
- 2C:12-1a. Simple assault. – Simple assault occurs when someone puts another individual in a reasonable state of fear of physical injury. It doesn't matter whether or not the defendant actually intended to injure the victim, but what is key is whether a reasonable person would have fear of injury if put in the victim's shoes. An example of simple assault is engaging in a heated argument while out at a bar in which confrontation occurs that would be deemed threatening violence in the eyes of the victim. This scenario constitutes simple assault even if no physical contact occurs, for example when someone swings at another person and misses.
- 2C:12-1b. Aggravated assault. – Aggravated assault is a heightened version of simple assault. If a defendant uses a weapon or has the intent to commit another crime against a victim, such as robbery or murder, while assaulting them, they will face aggravated assault charges. Also, the existence of another aggravating factor, such as a threat of rape or murder, will increase a charge to aggravated assault. One example of aggravated assault is when a defendant places a gun to a person's head. Regardless of whether the gun is loaded or whether or not the defendant actually planned on pulling the trigger, he or she is guilty of aggravated assault in New Jersey.
- 2C:12-1b(5). Assault on a police officer or public employee. – The assault of a police officer or other member of law enforcement is a type of aggravated assault act. This charge also includes the assault against a security guard, fireman or any public official including judges and teachers.
- 2C:12-1c. Assault by auto. – An assault by auto, or vessel (boat), occurs when a defendant causes bodily injury to a victim while driving a car or boat in a reckless manner. To operate a vehicle recklessly, an individual must have had a conscious disregard of a substantial risk that bodily injury would result from his or her conduct. For example, driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs and injuring someone as a result can warrant a charge of assault by auto in addition to any DWI charges.
- 2C:12-1.1. Leaving the scene of an accident. – Leaving the scene of a motor vehicle accident before law enforcement arrives is a crime in New Jersey. If bodily injury was sustained by a person other than the driver who caused the accident, and the perpetrator knew this and chose to leave anyway, the perpetrator is guilty of a third degree crime.
- 2C:12-1.2. Endangering an injured victim. – Causing bodily harm to another person or soliciting, encouraging, aiding, attempting to aid or agreeing to injure another person and then abandoning the victim is a third degree crime. Abandoning the victim means that the offender left him or her at the crime scene, unable to help him or herself. This covers physical and emotional inability of the victim to care for him or herself after an assault. If the defendant knew or reasonably believed that his or her victim was too injured to get help after an assault, he or she is guilty of endangering an injured victim.
- 2C:12-3. Terroristic threats. – Terroristic threats can be charged if the defendant threatens to commit a violent action that causes a mass evacuation of a building or place of assembly, or causes large-scale public inconvenience due to such a threat. In addition to society-disrupting threats such as these, personal threats of death that cause the victim to believe that violence is imminent and likely to be carried out are also terroristic threats.
- 2C:12-10. Stalking definitions. – Conduct that can result in a stalking charge includes: repeatedly maintaining a visual or physical proximity to a person; following, monitoring or threatening a person; interfering with a person's property; repeatedly committing harassment against a person. Any of this behavior is a criminal offense if it would cause a reasonable person to fear for his or her safety or the safety of a third person, or cause them to suffer emotional distress.
- 2C:12-10.1. Stalking – permanent restraining order. – A permanent restraining order is a requirement enforced by the court that one person abstain from all contact, electronic or otherwise, with the person who applied for the restraining order. Restraining orders are usually sought in situations where one party stalks another.
- 2C:12-10.2. Stalking – temporary restraining order. – A temporary restraining order is much like a permanent one in that it limits the contact an offender has with his or her victim, but like its name implies, it is only temporary. The temporary restraining order, if granted, is then good until the case's trial. Then, if the jury finds enough evidence to support the charges against the defendant, the restraining order may be continued.
- 2C:12-13. Throwing bodily fluid. – Throwing bodily fluid at a corrections officer, probation officer, staff member of a juvenile detention center, sheriff, sheriff's officer, or any law officer while he or she is on duty is aggravated assault in New Jersey. Subjecting anybody in one of the aforementioned positions to bodily fluid is also an aggravated assault.