Simple Assault Charge in Edison Township
A charge of simple assault in Edison Township, though handled exclusively by Edison Township Municipal Court, can be a serious offense and one that you cannot afford to take lightly. Whether charged with the petty disorderly persons offense or the disorderly persons offense of simple assault in Edison Township, you should obtain not only competent, but the best representation that you can to help you fight these charges. This is especially imperative if you are not a citizen (given that deportation may be a consequence of conviction), are subject to an existing restraining order, or are or would like to apply to a field that requires a professional license, like the field of medicine or teaching. Do not fight these charges alone. Here at the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall, our staff of experienced attorneys, many of whom were former prosecutors who handled assault charges regularly, stand ready to help you in your time of need.
Simple Assault Law & Penalties
The statute that governs simple assault, NJSA 2C:12-1, outlines three different ways in which a person can potentially become criminally liable for a simple assault. The first of these should be pretty obvious. A person commits a simple assault, where they purposely, knowingly, or recklessly cause bodily injury to another. To break this down, the prosecution must establish three elements. First, the accused must have acted with the requisite state of mind, i.e., purposely, knowingly, or recklessly. It is not enough for criminal prosecution purposes for the person to have acted merely negligently. Second, the prosecution must show that bodily injury occurred to another. Bodily injury, for the purposes of this statute, is defined as physical pain, illness or any impairment of physical condition. Lastly, the prosecution must show that it was the accused who caused that bodily injury. If the prosecution can establish these three elements, that is the first avenue by which they may prosecute under the statute.
The second way the prosecution may be able to obtain a conviction for simple assault is where the accused negligently causes bodily injury to another with a deadly weapon. While typically negligence is not enough to commit a simple assault in other areas of the statute, this reflects a clear State interest in limiting and cracking down on the use of deadly weapons. For the purposes of this statute, a deadly weapon is defined as any firearm or other weapon, device, instrument, material or substance which in the manner used or intended to be used is capable of producing death or serious injury. It is of note that an automobile, for the purposes of this offense, cannot be regarded as a deadly weapon. Assault by auto is handled as a separate offense.
The last way that a person may open themselves up to liability for simple assault is where they commit a simple assault through “Physical Menace”. Specifically, to be convicted, a person must attempt by physical menace to put another in fear of imminent serious bodily injury. The state of mind required for a conviction of this offense is purpose. The accused must act with the purpose of putting another in fear. Moreover, what is not clear on the face of the statute is that the prosecution has the additional burdens of showing both that the accused took a substantial step towards the culmination of causing the fear they intended and that it was objectively possible for the accused to carry out the harm at that time (i.e. the accused had both the present ability and present opportunity to cause harm). If the prosecution can show these various elements, they will be able to obtain a conviction for a simple assault.
As stated previously, a simple assault charge can come as either a disorderly persons offense or a petty disorderly persons offense. It is a petty disorderly persons offense only where a fight is entered into by mutual consent, all other charges are disorderly persons offenses. A petty disorderly persons offense comes with a fine of $500. By contrast, a disorderly persons offense comes with a fine of $1000 and, in rare situations, the possibility of incarceration. Though incarceration is rare for these offenses, it is important to keep in mind that certain aggravating factors may cause what appears to be a simple assault to become an aggravated assault and, also, that based on other factors in your life, namely a desire to stay in this country, avoid problems with a restraining order, and or the desire to obtain a professional license down the road, a conviction can have far more sweeping consequences than a mere fine.
Edison NJ Simple Assault Attorneys
The attorneys at our firm can help answer all of your questions about the possible consequences your simple assault charge in Edison Township may open you up to and more. With over 100 years of collective experience, we know how best to help you mount a defense and limit your possible exposure to criminal liability. So please give us a call today, so we can begin to help you through this trying time.