Technically, assault and battery are two separate crimes. In general, assault requires your intention to harm someone else, whether or not you actually do. Battery, on the other hand, requires only an offensive touching, whether or not you intended to cause the other person harm.
FindLaw explains that New Jersey law contains no provision for battery as a separate crime. Instead, if you commit an intentional battery, you will still face an assault charge.
New Jersey breaks assault into two categories: simple and aggravated.
To convict you of simple assault, a misdemeanor carrying potential penalties of six months in jail and a $1,000 fine, the prosecutor must prove one of the following:
- That you knowingly or recklessly attempted to cause your alleged victim bodily injury
- That you negligently did, in fact, cause your alleged victim bodily injury by the use of a deadly weapon
- That you knowingly put your alleged victim in fear of imminent serious bodily injury by means of menacing him or her
Aggravated assault is always a felony in New Jersey. To convict you of this crime, the prosecutor must prove one of the following:
- That you knowingly caused, or attempted to cause, your alleged victim bodily injury by means of a deadly weapon.
- That you knowingly caused, or attempted to cause, your alleged victim serious bodily injury in a reckless or negligent manner
- That you recklessly pointed a firearm, whether or not loaded, at your alleged victim
- That your alleged victim was a law enforcement officer, firefighter, emergency medical technician or other specified class of person
New Jersey has a sliding scale of potential penalties for an aggravated assault conviction, depending on its degree, i.e., fourth-, third- or second-degree. For instance, you could face up to 18 months in prison for a fourth-degree aggravated assault conviction, while your potential prison sentence could rise to 10 years for a second-degree aggravated assault conviction.