It's common knowledge that assault is a crime referring to one citizen attacking or hurting another. However, the way these laws are viewed and prosecuted can vary greatly from one state to another. For instance, New Jersey defines assault as injuring or attempting to injure another citizen without legal justification. Assault is actually divided into three separate categories depending upon several important factors. If you or a loved one have been charged with simple or aggravated assault call Daniel E. Berger today for a consultation.
Simple assault is the lesser form of assault, but it can still result in serious penalties. Simple assault can be something as small as threatening someone with imminent serious bodily injury. Attempting to cause - or actually causing - any type of bodily harm is also categorized as simple assault depending upon the extent of the injuries. Even if the injuries are caused by accident, criminal charges may still be filed. This is especially true if reckless behavior caused the injuries.
The penalties for simple assault can vary if the injuries were the results of a consensual fight. Injuring someone in a fight is considered to be a petty offense. If only one part was an aggressor, than the crime is classified as a disorderly person's offense. The penalties can range from a fine to paying restitution or both. Committing simple assault against an elderly person in an institution can result in up to 18 months of jail time as can assaulting a child under the age of 16. These crimes are considered to be particularly egregious, but aggravated assault is still far more serious.
Aggravated assault can also be the result of reckless behavior, even when the accused meant no intentional harm to the victim. The crime is also described as knowingly attempting to cause serious bodily injury. Most aggravated assault cases involve significant or serious bodily injury. It should be noted that 'significant bodily injury' is more egregious than 'bodily injury' while 'serious bodily injury' is the most heinous of the three. Even if the injuries are the results of a consensual fight, the accused may still face aggravated assault charges. Most Aggravated assault charges are class four offenses which carries an eighteen month jail sentence and/or a $10,000 fine. The convicted party may also be subject to parole or probation, depending upon his or her previous criminal record.