NJ Criminal Defense Attorney & Former Municipal Prosecutor
The basic legal definition of simple assault is an assault that is not coupled with any aggravating circumstances such as a deadly weapon or serious bodily injury. When assault is coupled with aggravated circumstances it is called aggravated assault, which is a different crime that carries different penalties .
My name is Anthony N. Palumbo, and I am a Monmouth County assault defense lawyer. I have tried and obtained dismissals or reduced charges for more than 5,000 assault cases in New Jersey. Whether you've been charged with aggravated assault, simple assault, attempted simple assault, assault by auto, sexual assault, or any other assault charge, I can assist in your defense.
On most occasions I have been able to get my clients' charges dropped, fines reduced, or jail time eliminated. I know how the prosecution works and I know what defenses are most effective in fighting your assault charges. Contact me online or at 1-866-664-8118 for a free initial consultation. I defend individuals throughout Monmouth County, including the municipalities of Asbury Park, Belmar, Bradley Beach, Freehold, Long Branch, Brielle.
Monmouth County Simple Assault
Under New Jersey Law, there are three general ways that a person can commit a simple assault:
- if he attempts to cause or purposely, knowingly, or recklessly causes bodily injury to another person; or
- if he negligently causes bodily injury to another person with a deadly weapon; or
- if he attempts by physical danger to put another person in fear of imminent serious bodily injury.
The penalties for a conviction of simple assault depend on the circumstances, but in general, a simple assault is classified as a disorderly persons offense and carries penalties of up to 6 months in prison and $1,000 in fines.
In some circumstances, however, the penalties for simple assault may be either reduced or increased:
- If the assault occurred during a consensual fight, the offense will be reduced to a petty disorderly persons offense and will be punishable by up to 30 days in prison.
- If the assault was against a public official, such as a police officer, the offense will be upgraded to a fourth degree crime and will carry a penalty of up to 18 months in prison.
- An assault can even be upgraded to a third degree offense, punishable by 3 to 5 years in prison, if the assault was against a public official and it resulted in bodily injury.
Common Questions & Answers
Will the penalties be increased if I assault an elderly person?
- Yes. The circumstances surrounding the assault are determinative of the resulting charge. If a person assaults an institutionalized elderly person or is a physical menace, the charge will be upgraded to a fourth degree crime.
Will the penalties be increased if the assault was religious or gender based?
- Yes. A person who assaults someone with the purpose to intimidate because of a person's race, color, religion, gender, handicap, sexual orientation or ethnicity will be subject to increased charges. In such a case, simple assault is a fourth degree crime.
Can a simple assault ever arise negligently?
- Yes. Simple assault can arise negligently, but only when a deadly weapon is involved. A deadly weapon is a weapon that can kill someone, cause serious bodily injury, or cause a victim to reasonably believe that the weapon will cause death or serious bodily injury. Negligently causing a simple assault occurs when a person inflicts bodily injury with a deadly weapon in a situation that involves the knowing, substantial, and unjustifiable risk of injury.
Are there any legal defenses to assault charges?
- Yes. Common defenses include asserting that the fight was consensual or that the accused was acting in self defense when he committed the crime. However, there are limits to these defenses. For example, neither of these defenses will apply if the accused caused bodily injury to a defenseless person. Similarly, if the accused was engaged in a consensual fight, the defenses won't apply if he continued to hurt the other fighter after that person was already backing down.
Still have questions? For a free initial consultation with a simple assault lawyer, contact me online or at 1-866-664-8118. I am a NJ criminal defense attorney with extensive experience handling assault crimes. In addition to my private criminal practice, I am a former county and municipal court prosecutor, and a current public defender. With more than 35 years of experience, I have vast experience and knowledge of both sides of the law, and I know the best strategies to use in simple assault cases. We also have offices in Cranford and Elizabeth.
The law office of Palumbo & Renaud represents clients with many different types of criminal charges, including: