In New Jersey, thousands of people are charged with assault each year. Assault is classified as simple or aggravated assault. Aggravated assault is considered to be the more grave of the two crimes; however, any type of assault charge requires the attention of a lawyer in Paterson. When you visit a law firm, your criminal defense lawyer will help you understand the specific nature of the charges against you.
Definition of Simple Assault
Under criminal law in New Jersey, you can be charged with simple assault if you’re suspected of attempting to cause bodily injury to another person. This charge applies if you have allegedly recklessly, knowingly, or purposely inflicted harm on another. Negligently inflicting bodily harm on another person with a deadly weapon also falls under this category. You can even be charged with simple assault if you didn’t physically harm anyone. As your criminal defense lawyer can explain to you, this charge may apply if you are suspected of attempting by physical menace to inflict fear of physical harm on another person.
Definition of Aggravated Assault
Aggravated assault is a felony charge. Prosecutors may decide to charge you with aggravated assault based on the seriousness of the injury, the circumstances of the incident, and whether a deadly weapon was used. Many different scenarios may fit the description of aggravated assault. For example, recklessly inflicting harm with a deadly weapon, pointing a firearm at another person—whether or not it was loaded—and attempting to cause physical harm with a deadly weapon all are considered to be types of aggravated assault. Your defense lawyer may need to defend you from a charge of aggravated assault if you allegedly purposely started a fire or explosion, demonstrated extreme indifference to human life, or committed a simple assault on a law enforcement officer.
Penalties for Assault
If you’re convicted of assault, the penalties can vary depending on the nature of the crime. For a simple assault, the penalties may include up to 180 days in jail and up to $1,000 in fines. You may also be ordered to pay restitution, complete community service, attend counseling, complete anger management courses, and serve a period of probation. The penalties for a conviction of aggravated assault are much more severe and may include a lengthy prison sentence followed by probation.