One of the main reasons for having a system of laws is to make sure that citizens can feel safe and secure. Knowing that there are penalties for actions that put others at risk will often prevent people from behaving dangerously and will make others feel more confident in their safety.
However, having laws against certain actions is no guarantee that they will not happen. This is often the case with assault. There are many different things that can be considered assault and there are penalties for all of them. Before you can understand the penalties, you have to know what the different types of assault are.
Simple assault occurs when a person either causes another person physical harm or when they cause a person to believe they will be harmed. There are three main situations for this type of assault.
1. A person knowingly, purposefully, or recklessly causes someone physical harm or leads them to believe that they will be will be harmed.
2. A person negligently injures someone with a deadly weapon. It is important to note here that a deadly weapon does not necessarily have to be something that is traditionally considered to be a weapon like a gun or a knife. In this context, a deadly weapon is really any item that can be used to injure a person, like a household item.
3. A person leads another person to believe that they are in imminent danger of serious physical harm.
The penalties for simple assault can range from a fine of $500 to a fine of up to $1,000 and/or a sentence of up to 18 months in prison.
Aggravated assault occurs when an individual purposefully, knowingly, or recklessly causes another person physical harm. Because there are so many ways this can happen, it is more important to focus on what the actual forms of harm are. There are three classifications. They include,
1. Bodily harm - This is when a person sustains some sort of injury or pain.
2. Significant bodily harm - This is when an injury results in a person being unable to use all of their senses, body parts, or organs.
3. Serious bodily harm - This is when an injury carries a serious risk of death or permanent disfigurement.
The penalties for aggravated assault vary depending on the severity of the assault and they range from fourth degree to second degree crimes. The penalties themselves range from 18 months in prison and a fine of up to $10,000 to 10 years in prison and a $150,000 fine. The New Jersey state code provides more details regarding definitions and penalties.
Regardless of the severity of the charge, being charged with assault is a very serious matter that will have a significant impact of the rest of your life. If you find yourself in a situation where you are facing a possible assault conviction, it is highly recommended that you obtain the services of an experienced legal professional as soon as possible.