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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.

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

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 criminal lawyers in the Hackensack 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
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Alysa Melero
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Makes a great confidant argument,and is such a comfort to have on our side!
Haitian Bokor Leonard Elmera
Haitian Bokor Leonard Elmera
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This guy deserves 10 stars he works and is assertive. He is a heavy weight champ in the court room BEST LAWYER EVER he worked on my girlfriend’s case and got a her a victory. He is very meticulous and orderly in his defense. This guy is outstanding. 🥊 BEST LAWYER EVER !
MetalBabe87 Metal High Priestess
MetalBabe87 Metal High Priestess
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I hired Al, for a Domestic Violence Situation. In the court system. He was beyond helpful. Very open and receptive. Communication was absolute key with him. He kept me in the know every email every text message. Communication was on point!He was and is very passionate. Leads with integrity boldness and truth. I have never seen so much tenacity in person. He was beyond helpful - explaining situations in the court system that I should expect.I highly recommend him. I will recommend him to any of my clients as well. He is absolutely excellent and straightforward. Definitely pushes the envelope and applies the pressure as a true lawyer should.Once again, I will absolutely recommend him for any cases in the future. An absolutely recommend him to friends and family. I hope to work with him again under better circumstances.Thank you so much - for your patience, guidance and help. You have been absolutely wonderful to work with.
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Navigating the criminal justice system can be a daunting and intimidating experience. However, Peyrouton Law demonstrates an exceptional ability to guide clients through this complex world with the utmost professionalism. The firm embodies a comprehensive combination of knowledge, experience, tenacity, and effective representation. When my 22-year-old son, who resides in Chicago but works in New Jersey, inadvertently neglected to place his legally registered firearm in his checked luggage, he found himself facing arrest. As a mother residing in Chicago, I was overwhelmed with fear and uncertainty, being unfamiliar with New Jersey's criminal justice system. Upon reaching out to Peyrouton Law, they diligently represented my son throughout his legal challenge, alleviating my anxiety and providing much-needed reassurance. I wholeheartedly endorse and recommend this exceptional law firm.
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I am very pleased with the choice I made, when I choose Peyrouton Law Firm. Allan is such a great person and listens to you carefully and applied pressure to your case.
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God is love
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