The Law Office of Matthew B. Lun, Esq. represents clients accused of simple assault throughout New Jersey. From Burlington County to Mercer County, Monmouth County and beyond, we will defend you to the fullest extent possible. If you have been charged with simple assault in a New Jersey municipal court contact us today for a free consultation.
New Jersey Simple Assault Law
The law regarding simple assault in NJ is located at N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1. That section states:
a. Simple Assault. A person is guilty of assault if he:
(1) Attempts to cause or purposely, knowingly, or recklessly causes bodily injury to another; or
(2) negligently causes bodily injury to another with a deadly weapon; or
(3) Attempts by physical menace to put another in fear of imminent serious bodily injury.
Simple Assault is a disorderly persons offense unless committed in a flight or scuffle entered into by mutual consent, in which case it is a petty disorderly persons offense.
Details on the New Jersey Simple Assault Statute
The most common circumstance for a simple assault charge is a fight. During a fight, it is generally true that at least one of the participants attempts to cause an injury to another participant or victim, or purposely causes bodily injury to a participant or victim. In either case, the attempt or the purposeful causation of bodily injury is sufficient to sustain a conviction for simple assault.
Defining “bodily injury” – As you can see from above, the simple assault law mentions the term ”bodily injury“. Bodily injury is defined in the statute as physical pain, illness, or any impairment of physical condition.
Defining serious bodily injury – The New Jersey simple assault statute also defines the term “serious bodily injury” Serious bodily injury is defined as an injury which involves a substantial risk of death or causes serious, permanent disfigurement or protracted loss or impairment of a body function. In other words, serious bodily injury encompasses a bodily injury that meets the criteria regarding risk of death, disfigurement, or impairment of a body function
What does it mean to “Recklessly Cause a Simple Assault” – Subsection (a)(1) states that a person can be convicted of assault be recklessly causing a simple assault. Reckless causation is something less than an intentional act. It refers to a situation in whcih the actor disregards a known, substantial and unjustifiable risk that bodily injury may result. The conduct must involve a gross deviation from what would be reasonable under the particular circumstances. What is and is not reasonable under a given set of circumstances is not always an easy thing to determine and can vary from situation to situation.
What does it mean to “Negligently Cause a Simple Assault: Subsection (a)(1) states that a person can be convicted of assault be negligently causing a simple assault. Negligent causation is something less than an intentional act or a reckless disregard. In other words, an act may rise to the level of negligence but not to the level of recklessness. It is important to note that a person can only be found guilty of assault by negligence if a deadly weapon is involved. The statute also defines the term deadly weapon. It is defined as “any firearm or weapon, device, instrument, material or substance, whether animate or inanimate, which in the manner it is used or is intended to be used, is known to be capable of producing death or serious bodily injury or which in the manner it is fashioned would lead a victim reasonably to believe it to be capable of producing death or serious bodily injury”.
Grading the Offense of Simple Assault
A simple assault conviction is considered a disorderly persons offense in most situations and circumstances. The exception to this is when the situation involves a consensual fight. In the case of a consensual fight the offense of simple assault is considered a petty disorderly persons offense.
The Consequences of a Simple Assault Conviction in New Jersey
As stated above, a simple assault charge is a disorderly persons offense in most instances. The penalties for a disorderly persons conviction of simple assault are:
Jail range from 0 to six (6) months.
A Criminal Fine up to $1,000.
Violent Crimes Compensation Board Assessment of $50.
Safe Neighborhood Assessment of $75.
Court Costs of $33.
Domestic Violence Surcharge (in appropriate circumstances) $100.
If you or a friend or family member has been accused, charged or arrested for simple assault in New Jersey you need an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side. We will take the time to listen to the facts and circumstances surrounding your case and will work tirelessly to provide the defense you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation.