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.

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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
4.9
Based on 141 reviews
B J
B J
17:00 17 Feb 21
Crashnburn973
Crashnburn973
23:01 15 Feb 21
So far so good....no complaints here...Very good people
J O
J O
17:41 11 Feb 21
I recently got into some legal trouble and was in the need of an attorney fast. Choosing a good attorney, is step 1 in achieving a favorable outcome in any case. And thankfully I made the right choice in choosing Peyrouton Law. Allan and his team are great. They set my mind at ease and they were there with me every step of the way. Allan and Samera always made themselves available for any questions or concerns I had and worked very hard to get me the best possible outcome in my case. They were very affordable and their service far exceeded the price. Thank you Peyrouton Law!
Nikki Pergaminos
Nikki Pergaminos
22:33 10 Feb 21
Mr. Peyrouton has been my attorney for the last ten years. He is very knowledgeable and has always been accessible. I am proud to know him and have him as my lawyer.
Erin Marrero
Erin Marrero
19:54 10 Feb 21
Super Helpful!!A few months ago my husband and I received a BOGUS! speed ticket. Came here explaining our situation long story short ! The ticket was dismissed and I would definitely recommend to anyone seeking professional help.
MICHAEL ANZ
MICHAEL ANZ
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Joy Alarcon
Joy Alarcon
01:39 10 Feb 21
Recently I had a need for a criminal attorney and I hired Peyrouton Law Firm. This was a very stressful situation for me to go through however the entire time I had great service and quick response from this law firm. I received exceptional service also from Samera of their legal team/ paralegal staff.She provided me with steps of the entire process and gave me information to put me at ease. Thankfully my issue is resolved now and I am recommending them to all of my friends and family.
johon cano
johon cano
01:10 10 Feb 21
I had got myself into some serious trouble with criminal charges and was going to lose my awesome job because you cant have a criminal conviction on your record at my job.First I went to some jersey city lawyer who treated me horribly and tried to scare me into paying an inflated fee! my mom was with me and he was even rude to her because she has an accent.We left his office and googled more lawyersWe got really lucky when we found Alan.The guy is so awesome!He fought for me at a third of the price of the other lawyer and I was able to keep my job.He's a gentleman fighter and I totally recommend him.
Madelyn Abdalla
Madelyn Abdalla
00:40 10 Feb 21
Last year was such a difficult year for all of us with the rise of Covid-19 and the pandemic. Most businesses and the Courts were closed for months! If you had a legal matter pending during that time...trying to speak to a live person at the Court to get information or questions answered was nearly impossible! So I finally decided to hire an attorney to help! Alan and Samera are such an amazing team. They took my case and started working on it from day one! They constantly corresponded with the Court through fax and email to stay on top of my case. They made several calls throughout the day and did not stop until someone picked up or called back with information on my case. They always kept me updated and were always so nice to me. My case was over a year old and nothing was being done. As soon as I hired Alan, it was closed within 3 months!!! I'm speechless. Thank you both for doing such great work and for being so diligent. And the result was the icing on the cake! God bless and stay safe.
RUBEN CERVA
RUBEN CERVA
00:03 10 Feb 21
Thank you Alan for saving the day...again! Lol From criminal cases to traffic tickets to immigration issues etc...you always come through for me! And you always get the best results! I wish you more and more success! You'll always have me as a client and as a referral!

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.