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What does simple assault mean in New Jersey?

On Behalf of | Jul 8, 2020 | Criminal Defense

Just like the name implies, “simple assault” is the simplest and most basic of the possible assault charges in New Jersey. You could be charged with simple assault for allegedly engaging in any of a variety of different menacing behaviors. Thus — especially if you’ve engaged in flying fists or even heated disputes with neighbors — it’s critical that you understand the different conduct that can constitute simple assault and how it is punishable under our state’s law.

Any of the following can be considered conduct that is grounds for simple assault charges in New Jersey:

  • Causing, or attempting to cause, bodily injury to another, whether it’s done knowingly or thoughtlessly and recklessly
  • Negligently causing bodily harm to somebody with a deadly weapon
  • Using physical menace in attempt to threaten somebody with imminent bodily harm of a serious nature

The law typically classifies simple assault as a disorderly person’s offense, a misdemeanor punishable with a maximum of six months jailtime and/or up to a $1,000 fine. However, if the simple assault came about because of a mutual fight, then law enforcement could categorize the assault as a petty disorderly person’s offense. This petty offense is considered a misdemeanor, only punishable by a max of 30 days in jail.

Although, if the assault was against a first responder, like a police officer, or it was made with a motor vehicle, then the charges would be an aggravated assault, which has a much steeper penalty that could mean years of prison and thousands of dollars in fines depending on the degree of severity.

Legal help when you need it most

If you or a loved one are facing charges of suspected simple assault or a similar offense, it’s vital that you understand and take action to protect your rights. Criminal charges and convictions can have a big impact on your employment, reputation and immigration status. Don’t let it ruin your life. Talk to an experienced New Jersey defense attorney who can present your legal options and see you get the fairest treatment possible under the law.