Defending You Against Assault And Battery Charges
Though the terms “assault” and “battery” are often used interchangeably, the two words have different meanings under New Jersey law. Battery requires physical contact, such as a slap or a punch. Assault simply requires the victim to apprehend a battery – therefore, an offender may assault someone by making that person think physical contact is imminent.
At Lomurro Law, our New Jersey criminal defense attorneys are experienced in defending charges of assault, battery or both and work hard to obtain the best results possible in your case. We understand the important distinctions between these crimes and how to defend against them.
What Are The Elements Of A Simple Assault Charge?
An individual may be charged with simple assault if:
- They cause bodily harm to someone else, or recklessly, knowingly or purposely caused bodily injury
- They negligently caused bodily harm with a deadly weapon
- They threatened another person or put another person in fear of serious bodily injury
The victim does not actually have to sustain injuries for an assault charge to be filed. The presentation of a physical threat may be sufficient to arrest someone for assault. New Jersey defines “bodily injury” as “physical pain, illness or any impairment of physical condition.” A defendant acts negligently if the defendant acts in a way that they should have realized would cause injury to the victim.
A deadly weapon may be any item that could cause injury to a victim – for example, throwing a heavy lamp at someone would certainly meet this definition. A conviction for simple assault may result in six months in prison and/or a $1,000 fine.
What Are The Elements Of An Aggravated Assault Charge?
Aggravated assault is much more serious than simple assault. It carries harsher penalties than simple assault. An aggravated assault charge may be appropriate if:
- The assault was against a public official, police officer, fireman or certain other individuals
- The victim was a family member
- The victim suffered serious bodily injury
- The individual used a deadly weapon
- The individual pointed a gun at the victim or otherwise threatened the victim with a gun
- The assault occurred while the individual tried to flee from a police officer
There are a number of other situations in which a defendant may be charged with aggravated assault. For example, if a defendant causes bodily injury while trying to run from the police, the defendant may be guilty of aggravated assault.
Penalties For Aggravated Assault
The penalties for aggravated assault vary depending on the severity of the crime. Aggravated assault may be charged in the second, third or fourth degree. Defendants may be sentenced to jail time and/or probation, and they may also be fined and ordered to pay restitution. Judges may also order a combination of these punishments.
- Second degree: The defendant may be sentenced between five and 10 years in prison and fined up to $150,000.
- Third degree: The defendant may be sentenced between three and five years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000.
- Fourth degree: The defendant may be sentenced to a prison sentence of up to 18 months and a fine of up to $10,000.
The sentence will depend on your criminal history and the nature of the crime.
Defenses To Assault Charges
Self-defense is one of the most common defenses to an assault charge. To allege self-defense, the defendant must show that the victim was threatening the defendant’s life and that the defendant had no choice but to use force to protect himself. Defending others is also a common defense to assault charges. Finally, those involved in the incident may admit that they “agreed” to settle their differences using physical force. In these situations, the assault charges may be reduced.
Contact Us Today To Discuss Your Assault Charges
To ensure your legal rights are protected, it is important to speak with a skilled lawyer as soon as possible after being arrested or charged with a crime. At Lomurro Law, our experienced New Jersey criminal defense attorneys know how to negotiate favorable deals and protect your legal rights. To schedule your free consultation, call 732-482-9285 or contact us online.