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Understanding Assault Charges in New Jersey

Has someone in your circle of family and friends been charged with aggravated assault? Our legal system is very complex. It’s sometimes difficult to determine how charges are determined and what exactly constitutes the various levels of a charge. If you, or someone you know, has committed a crime in New Jersey, you need to seek the expert advice of a Lawrence NJ criminal lawyer.

Assault is a common charge – a person is charged with assault whenever he or she commits a crime of violence against another person. As you can expect, there are various levels of assault based on the level of violence, and the intention of the person committing the assault. There are three types of assault charges:

Simple assault

A person may be guilty of simple assault if he/she:

  • Attempts to cause bodily injury to another or knowingly or recklessly causes bodily injury;
  • Negligently causes bodily injury to another with a deadly weapon; or
  • Attempt by physical menace to put another in fear of imminent serious bodily injury.

Simple  assault is often considered to be the disorderly actions committed in a fight, if the fight was entered into by mutual consent.

Assault and battery

Assault and battery are actually two separate crimes, and as such, each may be charged and prosecuted separately, either as a misdemeanor or felony. Assault is the attempt to injure an individual with force or violence. Battery is different from assault because it actually is a harmful or offensive physical contact with the individual. Even unwanted touching can be considered battery. However, in most cases, battery charges result from the victim suffering an injury.

Aggravated Assault

Aggravated assault if defined by an individual’s intents towards the victim and the severity of the injury suffered by the victim. If a deadly weapon, such as gun or knife, is used in the attack, the charge of aggravated assault will almost certainly be applied.

As in the case of any crime, the burden of proof falls upon the prosecution. In the case of aggravated assault, the prosecution has to prove:

  • That the assault was committed with the intention of serious physical injury or harm;
  • A deadly instrument or weapon was used in the assault;
  • The victim’s ability to resist was impaired by restraints of some kind;
  • The assault caused temporary or permanent injury;

If the victim of the crime was a police officer, fire fighter, EMT, teacher, prosecutor, health care professional or any other individual engaged in official duties, the charges of aggravated assault will almost certainly apply.

Aggravated assault is a very serious charge and carries significantly heavier penalties than simple assault, or assault and battery charges. If a person is convicted of this charge, he or she will almost certainly face lengthy jail sentences.

If you or someone you know if charged with aggravated assault charges, the best option is to consult with a criminal defense attorney.  A legal professional, especially an experienced aggravated assault NJ criminal lawyer, can help you understand the seriousness of these charges and the best defense.

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