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Criminal Defense Lawyer Defending Simple Assault Charges

Did a rowdy night with your friends end up in a fight? Or maybe you resisted an arrest you believed was unlawful and now you’ve been charged with assault? If you’ve been accused of simple or aggravated assault, you need an experienced and skilled attorney to fight for your rights.

My name is Anthony N. Palumbo, partner at The Law Offices of Anthony N. Palumbo, an aggressive New Jersey criminal defense lawyer with decades of experience. As a former prosecutor, I know what it takes to successfully defend your case. I know how to negotiate with prosecutors for lesser charges or dismissals. I have obtained countless downgraded or dismissed charges when defending clients charged with assault. Our firm defends individuals throughout Union County and surrounding counties in New Jersey. Schedule a free initial consultation with us by sending an email or calling 908-643-6801.

Simple Assault Charges In New Jersey

Under New Jersey law according to N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1, there are three general ways a person can commit a simple assault. A person will be guilty of simple assault if he commits any one of the following acts:

  • Attempts to cause or purposely, knowingly or recklessly causes bodily injury to another person
  • Negligently causes bodily injury to another person with a deadly weapon
  • Attempts by physical danger to put another in fear of imminent serious bodily injury

Understanding The Legal Language

Unsure if you have committed assault? Let’s take a closer look at some of the language used in the statute above:

  • Attempts. This means that all you have to do is try to commit the crime. Your action does not have to be purposeful or reckless in order for you to be guilty. It is enough if you attempt to cause someone bodily injury or imminent fear of such.
  • Recklessly. This means that you took a huge risk that the injuries would occur. To act recklessly, your actions must grossly deviate from what would be reasonable under the circumstances. An experienced attorney may strive to prove that your actions did not grossly deviate from reasonable conduct.
  • Negligently. To be guilty of assault when your actions were merely negligent, you must possess a deadly weapon when you commit the act and know there is a substantial risk of injury. If your actions were negligent, but you did not have a deadly weapon, then you cannot be convicted of simple assault.

The penalties for a conviction of simple assault depend on the circumstances surrounding how the criminal offense was committed. Generally, a simple assault is a disorderly persons offense, which carries penalties of $1,000 in fines and up to six months in prison. Other penalties based on the offense include:

  • Petty disorderly persons offense. You may be charged with this offense if the assault occurred during a consensual fight with the alleged victim. This carries penalties of up to 30 days in prison.
  • Fourth-degree offense. The offense will be upgraded to a fourth-degree crime if the assault occurred on a public official like a police officer. This carries penalties of up to 18 months in prison.
  • Third-degree offense. The assault may even be upgraded to a third-degree offense if the assault occurred on a public official and there was bodily injury. This carries penalties of up to five years in prison.


What Is A Deadly Weapon?

A deadly weapon is a firearm or weapon, device, instrument, material or substance, whether animate or inanimate, which could be used in a way that causes death or serious bodily injury or would make a victim reasonably believe that it could cause death or serious bodily injury.

What Is Bodily Injury And Serious Bodily Injury?

Bodily injury is defined as physical pain, sickness or any harm to a person’s physical condition. Serious bodily injury is an injury that creates a big risk of death or causes serious, permanent disfigurement or harm to a person’s bodily function.

How Can I Be Charged With Assault For Resisting An Illegal Arrest?

Unfortunately, there is never a right to resist an officer no matter what the circumstances. Even if your arrest is unlawful, if you resist the arrest and commit an assault on the officer, not only will you be charged with assault, but the penalties may be increased to a third- or fourth-degree crime. You should never fight with an officer, and when faced with a situation like this, your best option is to comply with the arrest and fight it later in court.

To view the entire New Jersey law on simple assault go to N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1.

Let My Experience Be Your Advantage

Still have questions? Contact me today at 908-643-6801  or by email for a free initial consultation and let me put your mind at ease. Don’t underestimate the severity of a charge involving assault. A simple assault charge can end up becoming an aggravated assault offense depending on what was involved at the time of the incident, such as a firearm or a weapon, bodily injury to an individual or if the assault occurred on a public official. I will represent your interests aggressively and help guide you through this difficult process.