Penalties for Simple Assault Charges in New Jersey
A “simple assault” charge is not as minor as it sounds. Any type of assault in New Jersey is considered serious, and even a simple assault charge carries a penalty of up to six months in jail and a maximum fine of $1,000 for those convicted. Other penalties for this offense include restitution to the victim, probation, and electronic monitoring. Individuals may even lose their right to own or possess a firearm or other weapon.
There are many defenses to a simple assault charge, and there may be ways to get the charge against you reduced or even dismissed. To learn about your legal options, call a New Jersey simple assault lawyer at The Law Office of Jason A. Volet now. Our team can review your case for free and explain your options for fighting the charges against you.
What Is a Simple Assault?
According to the New Jersey statutes, a simple assault is any assault that:
- Inflicts, or attempts to inflict, bodily injury to another person, or
- Negligently causes bodily injury to someone else through the use of a deadly weapon, or
- Attempts, by physical menace, to place someone else in fear of serious injury
When any of these situations are present, simple assault is considered a disorderly persons offense. When two or more people are engaged in a fight, it is considered a petty disorderly persons offense.
What Is the Difference Between Simple Assault and Aggravated Assault?
A simple assault in New Jersey is considered a less serious crime than aggravated assault. Aggravated assault differs from simple assault because it requires that a person causes, or attempts to cause, serious bodily injury. If a person attempts to cause, or purposely or knowingly causes, someone else a non-serious bodily injury, but a weapon is used, that is also considered aggravated assault.
The state defines “serious bodily injury” as any injury that results in a significant risk of death or an injury that causes serious and permanent disfigurement, a loss of any bodily function, organ, or one of the five senses.
Another very important difference between simple assault and aggravated assault is that simple assault is considered a disorderly persons offense, which is the same level as a misdemeanor in other states. Aggravated assault, on the other hand, is an indictable crime that has many degrees, depending on the circumstances of each case. Any type of indictable offense in New Jersey is equivalent to a felony in other states.
What Are the Penalties for Simple Assault?
Although simple assault is the least severe of assault crimes in New Jersey, that does not mean that it carries light penalties. The consequences for simple assault include:
- Up to six months in jail
- A maximum fine of $1,000
Like any other crime, any person convicted of simple assault will have a permanent criminal record. This could make it much more difficult for that person to obtain employment, secure housing, and be eligible for certain academic opportunities.
These are extremely difficult consequences to live with, so it is important that you speak to a New Jersey simple assault lawyer who can craft a smart strategy for fighting the charge against you.
What Are Possible Defenses to a Simple Assault Charge?
Facing a simple assault charge is definitely scary, but it is important to remember that there are many defenses and potential holes in the prosecution’s case. The most common defenses include:
- Self-defense: New Jersey’s Self-Defense Law allows the use of force any time a person believes, within reason, that they are in immediate danger and must protect themselves from a person who is using illegal force against them.
- Alibi: Like with any criminal accusation, if the accused can prove that they were somewhere else at the time of the offense, they can use this alibi to defend against a simple assault charge.
- Statute of limitations: Assault charges must be filed in New Jersey within two years from when the alleged offense took place. When charges are filed after this time has expired, it can provide a valid defense against simple assault.
To tell us your story and discuss the potential defenses in your case, please call us today. The consultation is free and confidential.
Can a Simple Assault Charge Be Expunged?
In New Jersey, it is possible to have a simple assault charge expunged, as long as you meet the other eligibility requirements. When a simple assault is charged as a disorderly persons offense, or a petty disorderly persons offense, the offense can be expunged four years after you complete your sentencing and pay any fines or meet other conditions. In certain instances, you may be able to apply for an early pathway expungement that can expunge the offense after just three years.
To have a simple assault charge expunged, you cannot have more than five disorderly persons convictions, including the charge you wish to have expunged. When an expungement is successful, the charge is essentially erased from most public records and individuals can lawfully state that they have not been convicted of the crime.
Get Help from a New Jersey Simple Assault Defense Lawyer
Facing charges of simple assault is a frightening experience, but it is important to remember that an arrest does not automatically mean a conviction. More importantly, you should not go through this on your own. At The Law Office of Jason A. Volet, our criminal defense lawyer in New Jersey can help.
As a former prosecutor, Jason Volet understands the many defenses available that can help you fight these charges. With his in-depth understanding of the law and how prosecutors operate, he will fight fiercely for the charge against you to be reduced or dropped. If you have been charged with simple assault, contact us online to arrange a free case evaluation with a criminal defense attorney to learn more about how our firm can help with your case.