In today’s society, assaulting another person with the intent to do harm is a serious issue. In New Jersey, a person that intentionally, negligently, or knowingly causes bodily injury to another person can be charged with simple assault. New Jersey law defines bodily injury as any pain, illness or physical damage to the body. Simple assault does not include mental anguish or pain. The penalties are stiff for those convicted of simple assault charges in New Jersey, with many facing hefty fines and county jail terms of up to six months and/or probation up to five years.
Simple assault leads some to believe that the charges are not serious; however, any type of assault charge can result in a lifetime of consequences. To be charged with simple assault, the individual must have caused, or intended to inflict, bodily injury to another person. Simple assault is not self-defense, wherein force is used to prevent injury to oneself. Simple assault occurs when an individual intends to do harm to another, knows that their actions will most likely result in injury, and recklessly disregards the risks that their actions may carry.
A person charged with simple assault due to negligence is one who causes bodily injury even if it was not their intent. Someone who throws a rock at another person and causes a head or an eye injury can be charged with simple assault even if they did not intend for the rock to hit the other person. Simple assault charges can also stem from injuries caused by a deadly weapon, even if the weapon is not usually considered a weapon. An example of this type of simple assault is someone who uses a baseball bat or a broom to injure another person. Baseball bats and brooms are not considered weapons, but when they are used to intentionally inflict pain and injury, they become a deadly weapon.
Simple Assault is a Disorderly Persons Offense
Under New Jersey law, simple assault is classified as a disorderly persons offense. A conviction can result in a fine of up to $1,000 and court-ordered reimbursement to the victim for their losses. In some cases, a judge can also order a fine that is double the amount of the victim’s losses. If the simple assault charge results from a physical altercation that both individuals entered into consensually, then the charge can be downgraded to a petty disorderly persons offense. This type of conviction carries a fine up to $500.
There are two instances in which a simple assault conviction can result in higher fines and jail time. Anyone who commits a simple assault against an elderly patient while they are employed by a nursing home or assisted living facility, or who commits a simple assault in the presence of a child under 16 years of age during a school or community sporting event, face 18 months in prison and fines up to $1,800. New Jersey considers this type of simple assault to be a crime of the fourth degree and takes these charges very seriously.
For those charged with simple assault in New Jersey, it is vital to consult with an experienced and reputable South Jersey criminal lawyer to ensure that your rights are protected. A criminal record containing a simple assault conviction can affect future employment opportunities, accessibility to school or community volunteer positions, and societal judgment.
South Jersey Criminal Lawyers at Agre & St. John protect the Rights of those Charged with Simple Assault in New Jersey
If you or someone you know has been charged with simple assault in New Jersey, call the experienced and knowledgeable South Jersey criminal lawyers at Agre & St. John at 856-428-7797, or complete our online contact form. Our offices are located in Haddonfield, New Jersey allowing us to serve clients in Burlington County, Camden County, Cumberland County, Salem County, and Gloucester County.