Assault is considered a violent crime and having this kind of offense on your criminal record could be devastating. Not only will you have to reveal it to prospective employers, but you may also be denied a job because of it. Some colleges and universities will even count this as a strike against you in determining whether to admit you or not. Accordingly, it is crucial for you to understand what a criminal assault charge involves and the penalties associated with it.
What is Assault? (N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1)
Assault is the intentional creation of a reasonable apprehension of imminent bodily harm. However, assault can also be defined as an attempt to commit a battery. A battery is the unlawful application of force to another person that results either in bodily injury or an offensive touching. Typically, smashing a beer bottle and pointing it at a person in order to harm him with it will be considered assault.
What Charges Can I Face if Charged With Assault in NJ?
Criminal assault in New Jersey is broken down into three main categories:
- Simple Assault [N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1(a)]: If you knowingly or negligently caused bodily harm to a person or put him in reasonable fear of bodily harm, you will be guilty of simple assault.
- Simple Assault is the least severe assault charge that you can receive in NJ.
- If convicted, you can face up to 6 months in jail and be subjected to a fine of up to $1,000 (i.e. a disorderly persons offense).
- Aggravated Assault [N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1(b)]: If you commit simple assault while exhibiting an extreme indifference to the value of human life, you will be guilty of aggravated assault.
- Also, if you commit simple assault with a deadly weapon, you will be guilty of aggravated assault.
- Moreover, even if you point an unloaded firearm at a person (under the right circumstances), you could be guilty of aggravated assault.
- Remember, assaulting a police officer, firefighter, first-aid operator, or school bus driver acting in the scope of his duties is automatically considered aggravated assault in NJ.
- Most importantly, if you are convicted of aggravated assault, you can face up to 10 years in jail (i.e. a second degree crime).
- Assault by Automobile [N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1(c)]: If you are a motorist and act with the purpose or intent of colliding with a person, then you will be guilty of assault by automobile.
- Depending on whether you severely harmed the victim or not will depend on the severity of your crime.
- Typically, assault by auto is a fourth degree crime, but if there is a fair amount of bodily harm involved, it might be elevated to a third degree crime.
Dealing with assault charges can be very complicated and failing to properly handle the situation can result in tremendous consequences that may haunt you for the rest of your life. Be sure to contact an experienced attorney in order to properly and effectively deal with your assault charges.