What’s the difference between simple assault and aggravated assault in New Jersey

Assault Lawyers handling cases in Paterson, New Brunswick, Jersey City, and Elizabeth

Simple and Aggravated Assault Charges in New Jersey

Assault Charges

Many time clients contact my office to explore the difference between aggravated assault charges and simple assault charges in New Jersey. There is a big difference. Aggravated assault is a felony charge which will be graded as a second degree, third degree, or fourth degree charge depending on the nature and the circumstances of the alleged assault. The degree will depend on the nature of the force used by the defendant, the degree of the injuries to the alleged victim, and whether or not a weapon was involved. In addition, if the alleged victim was a police officer or an emergency services employee, a simple assault can be elevated to aggravated assault based on that status.

A second degree aggravated assault is punishable by 5-10 years in state prison with a presumption of jail time even for first time offenders. A third degree aggravated assault charge is punishable by 3-5 years and a fourth degree aggravated assault charge is punishable by a maximum of 18 months in state prison. On a third or fourth degree charge, if the defendant has no prior criminal history, it is presumed that he or she will be sentenced to probation and not prison. On all aggravated assault offenses, if a defendant is sentenced to prison, he or she must serve 85% of her prison sentence before becoming eligible for parole under the “No Early Release Act” (known as “NERA”).

Simple assault, on the other hand, is a misdemeanor (disorderly persons offense) criminal charge which will be handled in the town court in which you are charged. It is punishable by 6 months in the county jail, a $1,000 fine, potential probation, and a permanent criminal charge on your record if convicted.

If you are not a United States citizen, and you are convicted of either simple assault or aggravated assault, you could be deported. If not, this could effect your immigration status in the future.

For first time offenders, pre-trial intervention (PTI) may be an option for aggravated assault charges. Also, if you are charged with aggravated assault originally, a seasoned criminal defense attorney may be able to convince the county prosecutor’s office to downgrade the charges to simple assault and send them back to the municipal court.

If this is a domestic violence situation and the alleged victim refuses to cooperate and testify against the defendant, the charges may also be dismissed. Unless the State has other witnesses and evidence to prove the charges beyond a reasonable doubt.

Arrested, Charged with Aggravated Assault in New Jersey – Need a Lawyer

If you have been arrested and charged with aggravated assault or simple assault in New Jersey and you need a lawyer, call us now at 201-556-1570. The initial consultation is always provided free of charge.

Other Assault Defense Strategies and Info Listed Below

Assault Defense Strategies:

How To Beat Assault Charges #1.
How To Beat Assault Charges #2.
How To Beat Assault Charges #3.

Other Assault Information

Simple Assault Charges NJ
Aggravated Assault Charges NJ


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Experience You Can Trust

With unmatched knowledge and experience in the practice of law, the seasoned attorneys at The Tormey Law Firm are committed to serving their clients and tenaciously confronting the allegations against them.

We will examine every facet of your case in order to defend your constitutional rights and reputation. With a dedicated legal advocate to assist you, our attorneys will ensure that you are never forced to navigate the complex legal process on your own.

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Learn More About How to Fight Your Charges

If you've been charged with a criminal offense, disorderly persons offense, or traffic / DWI violation, you have the right to an attorney who will defend you against your charges and fight for your best interests. To learn more about how your attorney can fight to have your charges dismissed or reduced, click a link below to see our video library of legal defenses and strategies.

The Tormey Law Firm

Areas we serve

Bergen County, Essex County, Morris County, Passaic County, Hudson County, Middlesex County, Somerset County including Morristown, Denville, Dover, Mount Olive, Parsippany, Hackensack, East Rutherford, Elmwood Park, Englewood, Fort Lee, Garfield, Lodi, Lyndhurst, Mahwah, Palisades Park, Paramus, Ridgefield Park, Saddle Brook, Teaneck, Clifton, and Wayne.

  • Hackensack Office

    254 State Street Hackensack, NJ 07601

    (201) 556-1570

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  • Morristown Office

    55 Madison Avenue Suite 400, Morristown, NJ 07960

    (908) 336-5008

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