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What Is the Law on Assault in New Jersey and What Are the Punishments for It?

Assault is the crime of delivering unconsenting physical violence onto a person, or even the mere threat of promising such an action qualifies as assault in some jurisdictions. It results in both civil and criminal liability as it qualifies as both a crime and a tort.

All crimes of assault do not necessarily include battery.

What Are the Elements of Assault?

To charge an individual with assault, these four elements are mandatory:

  • The capability or eligibility to deliver the said assault.
  • The assault being delivered onto another person.
  • The deliberate intent to commit physical violence that is not insignificant.
  • Physical violence must be unlawful in nature.

What Is the Law on Assault in New Jersey?

The assault comes in two varieties:

  • Simple Assault
  • Aggravated Assault

Under New Jersey Statute 2C-12-1, an individual is guilty of the offense of simple assault if they

Attempt to deliberately. and with full knowledge, inflict bodily injury upon another human being

They inflict bodily injury upon another human being with negligence and attempt to use intimidating conduct in any manner to put another individual in fear of physical harm and significant bodily injury.

New Jersey Assault Law

Under the same statute, an individual is guilty of the offense of aggravated assault if they

  • Attempt to cause significant bodily injury upon another human being, with deliberation and intent, or if they introduce circumstances under which they present indifference to the value of another human being’s life while their actions result in bodily harm.
  • With deliberate intent, attempt, or otherwise use deadly weapons or tools to cause bodily harm to another individual.
  • With malice of intent, under the presence of indifference to human life, direct a dangerous firearm (as defined and stipulated under New Jersey Statute 2C:39-1f) towards another individual regardless of whether the said firearm is loaded or not.
  • Commit the offense of simple assault upon a law enforcement officer acting under the status of an officer of the law.
  • Commit the offense of simple assault onto any volunteer or paid fireman acting under the status of while engaging in their duties.
  • Commit the offense of simple assault on any medical services professional, emergency first aid professional acting under their designation while being clearly identifiable as said professional by their attire or uniform.
  • Commit the offense of simple assault onto any faculty member of a school, any employee of the Child Protection and Permanency body, any member presiding as judge of the Supreme Court, Tax Court, motor-bus or railroad operating service, department of corrections employee, any sheriff, any employee of a utility company, a Health Care Worker of a licensed Health Care Facility, or State Psychiatric Hospital while all such professionals are enacting their duty while wearing appropriate attire and uniform identifying them as workers of their profession.
  • Cause bodily injury while fleeing from an officer of the law, committing the crime or arson or causing explosive detonation, brandishing a firearm against a law enforcement officials with dangerous firearms, or activating a laser sighting system against a law enforcement officer.

New Jersey Assault Law
What Are the Punishments for Assault in New Jersey?

Simple and Aggravated Assaults carry different penalties, depending on the severity of the damage inflicted. It is classified as a disorderly person offense, unless the fight was consensual, in which case it is a petty disorderly person offense.

Simple assault is punishable by imprisonment no more than 6 months in jail and/or a fine of $1000.

Aggravated assault features three tiers:

  • Second Degree Assault features imprisonment of 5-10 years and/or a fine of $150,000.
  • Third Degree Assault features imprisonment of 3-5 years and/or a fine of $15,000.
  • Fourth Degree Assault features imprisonment up to 18 months and/or a fine of no more than $10,000.

Additional penalties that might be imposed include probation, electronic monitoring and being legally barred from owning a firearm.


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