Different Types of Assault Under NJ State Law
Assault is one of those crimes that people often hear about, but very few are fully able to define. That is because the term is broad and vague, and on a criminal level, charges vary depending on the severity of the assault. In fact, there are different types of assault. Under New Jersey law, an assault may be classified as simple or aggravated.
Simple assault is considered the most basic form of assault. You might be charged with simple assault if you attempt to cause harm to another person. What is important to note about this is that the attempt is what matters — whether you actually injure someone is immaterial.
You can also be charged with simple assault if you accidentally harm someone while using a deadly weapon in a risky manner. The idea underlying this charge is that, by virtue of using the weapon, you undertook a risk that you might harm someone and you should be held responsible for this behavior. Sometimes this type of simple assault is known as negligent assault.
Aggravated assault is much more serious. This crime occurs when you attempt to cause or cause serious injury to someone else. Unlike simple assault that does not distinguish based on the type of injury you attempted to cause, aggravated assault requires the attempt to be of a serious nature. Often aggravated assault involves using a deadly weapon with intent to inflict harm or violence.
In certain instances, a simple assault may be upgraded and charged as an aggravated assault, such as when it involves certain people or occurs in certain places. Most notably, simple assault against a police officer or a school teacher (on school grounds) or in the presence of a child is often prosecuted as aggravated assault.
If you face simple or aggravated assault charges in New Jersey, remember that you have the right to a legal defense. Consult a criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible to maximize your options.