Difference Between Simple & Aggravated Assault?

NJ Assault Lawyers

Simple Assault & Aggravated Assault charges are very different.
One is a misdemeanor & the other is a felony.
This article explains the difference between these two charges.

The difference between Simple Assault & Aggravated Assault means the difference between your freedom & going to prison.

An everyday confrontation can escalate from a verbal insult to an assault. Before we can into the defenses you have available, you need to understand the difference between Simple & Aggravated Assault.

We’ve created a video (below) to help you. If you commit a Simple Assault on someone who is a “member of a protected class” you are automatically facing felony Aggravated Assault charges.

Next, you will need to assess the “type of injury” your victim suffered. The greater the injury, the more serious the felony charge. Here’s more on New Jersey Crime Degrees.

What Are The Penalties for Simple Assault?

The penalties include up to six months in jail and up to a $1,000- fine. 
A conviction for this charge will stay on your record for five years. 
You will also be ordered to pay court costs.

What Are The Penalties for Aggravated Assault?

Aggravated Assault is a Felony or Indictable Offense in New Jersey. 
Felony convictions stay on your record for 10 years. 
Depending on whether you are facing a 2nd, 3rd or 4th-degree felony charge, you will face different prison terms. 
Visit this page for more on Felony Charges:
NJ Felony (Indictable) Charges: 5 Steps To Start Fighting Back

When is assault a misdemeanor & when is it a felony?

There are two things you need to be aware of.

1. Did you injure a member of a “Protected Class”?
2. If you did not injure a member of the protected class, what are the victim’s injuries?

Protect Classes In New Jersey
If you commit a Simple Assault on a member of a protected class, you will automatically be facing Aggravated Assault charges. For example, a police officer is a member of New Jersey’s protected class.
If you commit a Simple Assault on a police officer, firefighter, teacher, etc., it instantly becomes an Aggravated Assault (felony) charge.

Simple Assault Explained

You may be shocked to learn that you can be charged with misdemeanor assault, or “simple assault,” if the victim suffers no injuries at all.
A minor scratch or tiny bruise can get you arrested and charged with simple assault charges.
You can even be charged for making a threat of physical harm without any actual physical contact.

In other words, you will face misdemeanor assault charges for any “unwelcome” touching of another person
It does not matter if you caused physical injury.
Simple Assault is the most common & least serious form of assault charge in NJ.

Aggravated Assault Explained

If you use a deadly weapon or to threaten to use a deadly weapon on another person, you can be charged with Felony Aggravated Assault. A deadly weapon is anything that can cause death or great bodily harm.
Most commons weapons involved in aggravated assault charges are guns and knives.

Aggravated Assault examples include the following:

– Striking or threatening to strike a person with a weapon or dangerous object
– Use of a firearm – either shooting someone or threatening to shoot or kill someone while pointing a gun at them;
– Assault with the intent to commit another felony crime such as rape or robbery;
– Any assault that results in serious physical injury to someone else;
– Any assault against a member of a protected class, such as a police officer, healthcare provider, social services worker or disabled or elderly person.

Please note that in New Jersey any gun-related criminal charge triggers the Graves Act.

Legal Defenses - Self-Defense

If you are charged with either simple or aggravated assault, it is important to understand the circumstances of your situation. These charges commonly arise in confrontational situations.

  • Were you acting in self-defense?
  • Did you feel threatened or in danger?
  • If you were at a bar & someone threatened you, did you protect yourself?


Self-defense is a legally recognized defense.

As your criminal lawyers, we will conduct our own investigation into your situation and we will:

  • obtain surveillance video (if any);
  • interview any/all witnesses;
  • research the relationship between you & the victim.

Each case is different & our investigation into your self-defense theory will vary accordingly.

Downgrades

If you were charged with felony aggravated assault, we will work very hard to get the charge downgraded.
A “downgrade” means that the charge would go from a felony to a misdemeanor. Successfully downgrading a charge involves aggressive lawyering. We show the prosecutor that you have a “borderline” case. This means that your case is really a simple assault but that it was charged as an aggravated assault.

Once we get it downgraded, you are out of felony danger.

Simple assault charges are low-level, misdemeanor offenses.
A conviction for simple assault carries up to six months in jail and stays on your record for five years.
Aggravated assault charges are felony charges and a conviction will stay on your criminal record for 6 years.

The best legal defense for either charge is self-defense.

Conclusion

As New Jersey Criminal defense attorneys, we are here to defend & protect you.

Getting arrested and charged with a crime is a traumatizing experience.

We pride ourselves in fighting for people and defending their innocence.

A criminal conviction will negatively affect your life in many ways.

In addition to being cut off from countless employment opportunities, you face the possibility of imprisonment.

Your choice of a criminal defense attorney is one of the most important decisions you will ever make. 

Meet with us for FREE & tell us your side of the story.

Please visit the Areas We Serve & Practice Areas pages for more information.

  • Get A Free Consultation!

Meet with us to discuss your case, we offer FREE consultations.

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How We Can Help

Regardless of the criminal charges you are facing, we are here to defend & protect you. Whether you are facing a restraining order, drug charge, theft charge, or aggravated assault charge, we are here to help you. Even a DWI case can really complicate your life.

If we can’t get your charges dismissed, we can either get them downgraded or place you in a diversionary program. The point is, our criminal defense lawyers will fight tirelessly to get you the best result possible. Take advantage of our free consultation to see how we can help.

Our Experience

You or a loved one have been arrested. Understandably, you are terrified & have a lot of questions. You’ve heard about plea bargains & probation, but the process is overwhelming. You want a local attorney near you to represent you.

Mr. Peyrouton is from Ridgewood & handles all types of criminal matters in New Jersey The New Jersey Law Journal recently published one of his articles on the subject of criminal law.

Our Practice Areas

Below you will find some but not all of our practice areas. Of course, if you do not see your criminal charges listed, feel free to contact us for a free consultation. We will meet with you to discuss your case & to answer all of your legal concerns. Se habla español tambien!

Areas We Serve

Get Help With Your Case

How Do Your Free Consultations Work?

There are plenty of excellent Hackensack criminal lawyers in our area. Most, if not all of them, offer free, 20-minute, consultations. However, our free consultations do not have a time limit. You will never feel rushed.

The best way for us to help you is to patiently listen to your side of the story. Your version of events will serve as the basis for your legal defense. It is during these initial meetings that your memory of the event is fresh in your mind. Why we would rush you during such an important aspect of your case.

We understand that your choice of attorney could mean the difference between your freedom and spending years behind bars. 

When you hire an attorney, you are entering a long-term relationship. For this reason, it is important that you feel comfortable with the team of Hackensack criminal lawyers that will represent you.

What our clients say about us

Peyrouton Law
5.0
Based on 113 reviews
hyo s ahn
hyo s ahn
22:04 03 Aug 20
알란 변호사를 만나게 된것은인생의 최고의 행운이었습니다. 아주 프로페셔날하고 빠른 일처리로 최고의 만족스러운 결과를 만들어준 알란에게 큰 감사를 드립니다.좀더 많은 한국분들이 도움을 받았으면 좋겠네요.형사전문과 더불어 이민법과 연결해서 최상의 결과를 만들어 줍니다.I was really lucky to find Alan. At first call, I trust him while we talk about my case. He made best result in my case. Alan is the best criminal lawyer in New Jersey. Thank you Alan and his team(specially Samera).Thank you again in my whole life.this is another thank you to alan(from my email)Dear Alan,I couldn't say thank you enough this morning. Now I realized how big of an issue it was.I believed you and trusted you when I was in NJ so I never doubted that I would possibly go to jail. Thank you for everything. There will be more to go but thank you again.I am holding my tears back until my hubby comes back home. See you soon!Michelle😍😭
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13:21 03 Aug 20
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Dom O
Dom O
00:36 01 Aug 20
I’m very grateful for all the hard work and effort Peyrouton Law put fourth in my case! Alan is a lawyer who cares and strives to get the best outcome for all of his clients ! He’s like a dog with a bone, he never gives up on you ! During the most stressful time in my life they were there for me, fighting for me all the way. Texts to see how me and my family and to keep me informed of all overwhelming court business. I know if I didn’t have Peyrouton Law on my side I wouldn’t have found a better lawyer to help with everything like they did. Anyone who needs a help, compassion at more than reasonable law fees, you couldn’t find a better lawyer !!
Jerry Rivera
Jerry Rivera
02:18 29 Jul 20
Very professional ! Since I called they were very helpful and help me with the case right away , very sincere law firm , when they are talking about the case you feel like they are part of you family and want the best for you , always tells you the truth. I recommend them 100%
ceci Liu
ceci Liu
01:43 25 Jul 20
they are very professional and very helpful team. I got traffic ticket and to be able to reduce to 0 point and affordable fine. It was during covid time and Samera helps me a lot through phone calls and emails. Samera is very responsive and easy to approach. Alan is great and friendly. truly appreciate for all the help and patience.
Dan kim
Dan kim
20:00 02 Jul 20
Initially, I thought our case was very minor. Come to find out that our situation was actually more complicated and would have had serious consequences had Peyrouton Law not taken our case. From beginning to end, we had peace of mind working with Samera and that we were in good hands and we were taken care of every step of the way. I cannot recommend this firm highly enough. Their professionalism, competency, responsiveness and integrity clearly set them apart from other firms. If you need legal counsel, you must contact Peyrouten Law first!
Junior Garcia
Junior Garcia
17:03 29 Jun 20
The greatest law firm I ever went to!! They handle my situation fast and easy!! Would recommend to anyone!
lea johnson
lea johnson
15:24 25 Jun 20
I can’t say enough great things about Alan and his team at Peyrouton Law. Hiring him was the best decision I could have made in terms of representation in court. His years of experience practicing criminal law in New Jersey make him such a valuable asset to any client. He’s well aquatinted with individuals that work in the court system and he genuinely cared about my case. He took the time to get to know me and advocated on my behalf to the prosecutor and judge. If you are lucky enough to hire Alan, rest assured there are no hidden fees or additional charges for phone calls and emails. Alan and his were always available to answer any questions I had. He was upfront about the expectations of my case and I couldn’t be more pleased with the outcome. To anyone reading this review, I strongly encourage you to hire Alan. :)
Edie Nolan
Edie Nolan
21:52 18 Apr 20
The office of Peyrouton Law Helped my family so much, I can't put it into words how much. The day we walked into the office we explained our situation to Alan and his associates and they took on our situation like we were family.
Edward Estupinan
Edward Estupinan
18:04 09 Mar 20
The Peyrouton Law firm is the place to go to if you need great representation. Extremely knowledgeable, honest and prompt. Alan and Kevin got our family through a very difficult and emotional matter quickly and with ease. The office was highly professional, responsive and compassionate. They kept us informed and advised us wisely throughout the entire process. I highly recommend this firm. Karen & Ed E.

A person extorts if he purposely threatens to:

a. Inflict bodily injury on or physically confine or restrain anyone or commit any other criminal offense;
b. Accuse anyone of an offense or cause charges of an offense to be instituted against any person;
c. Expose or publicize any secret or any asserted fact, whether true or false, tending to subject any person to hatred, contempt or ridicule, or to impair his credit or business repute;
d. Take or withhold action as an official, or cause an official to take or withhold action;
e. Bring about or continue a strike, boycott or other collective action, if the property is not demanded or received for the benefit of the group in whose interest the actor purports to act;
f. Testify or provide information or withhold testimony or information with respect to another’s legal claim or defense; or
g. Inflict any other harm which would not substantially benefit the actor but which is calculated to materially harm another person.

***It is an affirmative defense to prosecution based on paragraphs b, c, d or f that the property obtained was honestly claimed as restitution or indemnification for harm done in the circumstances or as lawful compensation for property or services.

Reasonable Articulable Suspicion

Reasonable suspicion is a “search” standard that applies in criminal law.

When a police officer conducts a warrantless search, and does not have probable cause to justify the search, the courts look to see if the police had
a “reasonable & articulable suspicion” for the search.

A mere “hunch” is not enough.

In other words, a police officer has to provide an acceptable explanation for the search.

United States Constitution

Amendment IV

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

NJSA - 2C:43-7.2.
Eligibility for parole;
persons convicted of certain violent crimes

a. A court imposing a sentence of incarceration for a crime of the first or second degree enumerated in subsection d. of this section shall fix a minimum term of 85% of the sentence imposed, during which the defendant shall not be eligible for parole.


b. The minimum term required by subsection a. of this section shall be fixed as a part of every sentence of incarceration imposed upon every conviction of a crime enumerated in subsection d. of this section, whether the sentence of incarceration is determined pursuant to N.J.S.2C:43-6, N.J.S.2C:43-7, N.J.S.2C:11-3 or any other provision of law, and shall be calculated based upon the sentence of incarceration actually imposed. The provisions of subsection a. of this section shall not be construed or applied to reduce the time that must be served before eligibility for parole by an inmate sentenced to a mandatory minimum period of incarceration. Solely for the purpose of calculating the minimum term of parole ineligibility pursuant to subsection a. of this section, a sentence of life imprisonment shall be deemed to be 75 years.


c. Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary and in addition to any other sentence imposed, a court imposing a minimum period of parole ineligibility of 85 percent of the sentence pursuant to this section shall also impose a five-year term of parole supervision if the defendant is being sentenced for a crime of the first degree, or a three-year term of parole supervision if the defendant is being sentenced for a crime of the second degree. The term of parole supervision shall commence upon the completion of the sentence of incarceration imposed by the court pursuant to subsection a. of this section unless the defendant is serving a sentence of incarceration for another crime at the time he completes the sentence of incarceration imposed pursuant to subsection a., in which case the term of parole supervision shall commence immediately upon the defendant’s release from incarceration. During the term of parole supervision the defendant shall remain in release status in the community in the legal custody of the Commissioner of the Department of Corrections and shall be supervised by the State Parole Board as if on parole and shall be subject to the provisions and conditions

Felony Degree

Prison & Fines

Examples

First-Degree

1st-degree felony charges in NJ are reserved for the most serious criminal offenses. Prison terms start at a minimum of 10 years in prison.

Second-Degree

2nd-degree felony charges carry 5-10 yrs in prison.
These charges can often be “downgraded” to 3rd or 4th-degree crimes.

Third-Degree

3rd-degree felony charges carry 3-5 years.
You have a good shot at PTI if you are charged with a 3rd-degree.

Fourth-Degree

4th-degree felony charges carry up to 18 months in jail. These cases can get “remanded” to a lower court. In this way, you will be out of “felony” danger.