Peyrouton Law

NJ Assault Lawyer: Simple, Aggravated & Sexual Assault Defense

Assault arrests rank among the most common crimes in the State of New Jersey.
Few things in life are worse than being accused of a NJ assault crime.
Our experienced assault lawyers are here to fight for you.
If you are accused of any type of assault in New Jersey, you need to fight back through an aggressive criminal lawyer.


New Jersey Assault charges can be divided into three categories.
They are as follows:
1. Simple Assault
2. Aggravated Assault
3. Aggravated Sexual Assault

Of all the assault crimes in New Jersey, Simple Assault is the least serious while Aggravated Sexual Assault is the most severe.
On this page, you will learn the following:
1. Definition of each Assault Crime
2. Examples of each type of Assault
3. The penalties, fines & prison time for each Assault offense
4. Alternatives to incarceration
5. Legal Defenses to each Assault Crime
You will find a lot of information on this page regarding New Jersey Assault offenses but if you have been arrested for an Assault offense, you need the services of a Criminal Defense lawyer.
You should take advantage of our
Free Consultation so that we can help answer all of your questions.

Simple Assault

Simple Assault charges in New Jersey carry up to six months in jail and up to a one thousand dollar fine. A simple assault conviction will stay on your record for five years.
Learn More

Aggravated Assault

Aggravated Assault charges in New Jersey are felonies. If you've been charged with Aggravated Assault, it means that you are accused of really injuring another.
Learn More

Aggravated Sexual Assault

Aggravated Sexual Assault charges are the most severe of all assault crimes. These are First-Degree Felony offenses and carry a10-year minimum prison sentence.
Learn More

Simple Assault

If you’re facing a Simple Assault Charge in New Jersey, this page will answer all of your questions.
(If you don’t see the answer to one of your questions, Contact Us and we will respond immediately.)
Now, if you are facing Simple Assault charges, you need to know a few things.
An arrest is a humiliating experience.
Facing criminal charges can be frightening.
But always remember that things could be much worse.
For example, you could be facing Murder charges.
Of all the criminal offenses in NJ, a Simple Assault charge is one of the less serious.
Simple Assault Charges range from poking to punching someone. (And everything between)
“QUICK TIP: If you’re charged with Simple Assault, the Court will consider the victim’s injuries.
If there are no injuries, you’ve got a good case.”
Simple Assault is a common criminal charge in New Jersey.
These charges often arise in Restraining Order type cases.
If you’re full of fear and anxiety because you have a pending criminal charge, relax.
We’re here to help.
Simple Assault

What Is New Jersey's Simple Assault Law?

2C:12-1 - Simple Assault - New Jersey Code

Assault. a. Simple Assault.
A person is guilty of assault if the person:
(1) Attempts to cause or purposely, knowingly or recklessly causes bodily injury to another; or
(2) Negligently causes bodily injury to another with a deadly weapon; or
(3) Attempts by physical menace to put another in fear of imminent serious bodily injury.
QUICK TIP: Simple assault is a disorderly persons offense unless committed in a fight or scuffle entered into by mutual consent, in which case it is a petty disorderly persons offense.

Simple Assault Examples

You put someone in a headlock
You slap your boyfriend
You kick someone in the leg
You push someone in the chest
You scratch someone
NJ Simple Assault lawyer

Can Simple Assault Charges Get Dropped or Dismissed?

Simple Assault charges can absolutely get dropped or dismissed.

Here are some ways that your case can get dropped or dismissed.
1. A charged for Simple Assault can get dropped if the alleged victim fails to appear in court.
2. Also, this charge can be dropped if the alleged victim does not want to go forward.
3. Your case may also get dismissed if the prosecutor
does not produce the evidence within a certain amount of time.
4. Your case may get dismissed because of a Constitutional Due Process violation.
5. Your criminal defense attorney persuades the prosecutor
that he doesn’t have a case he can prove.
For a great article on getting criminal charges dismissed, click here:
Dismissing Criminal Charges: Top 7 Ways To End The Nightmare

When Should I Accept A Plea Deal?

You must wait until your criminal defense attorney has received the “Discovery” in your case.
Discovery is the (fancy) legal term for evidence.
You need to know what evidence the State of New Jersey has against you before you make any decisions.
Very simply, if the evidence against you is weak, then your lawyer may get your case dropped to an ordinance.
Or, if he’s a really good lawyer (like us), he might be able to get it dismissed completely!
Now, if the evidence against you is strong, then you should ask your lawyer to put all of his efforts into preparing for trial.
If you have a clean record and are found guilty at trial, you can get apply for a Conditional Dismissal.

Simple Assault Charges Involving Domestic Violence

If you’ve been charged with a Simple Assault arising out of a Domestic Violence situation, a Conditional Dismissal is not an option.
You will have the following 4 choices:
PTI NJ Domestic Violence
  1. Plead Guilty
    • To plead guilty means to tell the judge/court that you did, in fact, commit Simple Assault
  2. Plead Guilty to an Amended Charge
    • This means that your criminal defense attorney worked out a good deal for you. Instead of admitting that you committed Simple Assault, you will accept responsibility for a different offense. For example, you may plead guilty to a local ordinance violation.
  3. Go to Trial and Lose;
  4. Go to Trial and Win
If you go to trial and are found guilty, you will not be able to get into the Conditional Dismissal program.

Can a Simple Assault Conviction get Expunged?

If you plead guilty or are found guilty of Simple Assault,
you can expunge the arrest and conviction after five years.

If you are acquitted at trial, you will not have a conviction.
However, you will need to expunge the “arrest” record.
If you use the Conditional Dismissal program, you will need to wait one year to expunge your arrest record.
It is extremely important to expunge the record of your arrest because this will pop up on any & all background checks.

Legal Defenses for Simple Assault

Each case is different, so each defense will vary.
You need to discuss the specifics facts of your case with your lawyer.
Here are a few common defenses:

1. Self-Defense (I was protecting myself)
2. Mistaken Identity (SODDI Defense – Some Other Dude Did It)
3. Alibi (I was out of the country when this happened)

WARNING: Was the victim a protected class?

IMPORTANT: If you are charged with Simple Assault on a certain member of society, then you will be charged with Aggravated Assault.
Protected members of our society include law enforcement, firefighters, EMT personnel, school teachers, bus drivers, and many more.
For example, you will be charged with Simple Assault in New Jersey if you slap your next-door neighbor.
However, you will be charged with Aggravated Assault in New Jersey if you slap a police officer.
It’s the same “slap” but depending on the “who the victim” is, you face Simple Or Aggravated Assault Charges.
Here’s a great article: “What’s the Difference Between Simple & Aggravated Assault?”

How much should a lawyer
charge for my simple assault case?

This is a very difficult question to answer, but we’ll try.
If you have never been arrested and you ONLY have one charge for Simple Assault, then your legal fees should run between $1,500 – $2,000-.
Of course, this fee does not include a “trial fee”.
Should your case go to trial, then you will need to discuss your criminal defense attorney’s trial rates.
Now, if you have a clean record and are facing a Simple Assault charge along with other charges like, CDS Possession or Driving While Intoxicated, then your legal fees will be much higher. Makes sense doesn’t it?

Defense To Simple Assault:
Fighting By Consent Or Mutual Combat

“Simple assault is a disorderly persons offense unless committed in a fight or scuffle entered into by mutual consent of the parties in which case it is a petty disorderly persons offense.”
What does this all mean?
Very simply it means that if you and someone else “agreed” to fight, then you would be facing only 30 days in jail and a $500.00 fine.
Mutual Combat Defense NJ
Mutual combat is a good defense when trying to get your case dismissed.
Since you and the person you injured understood that you would be “fighting” then there is not a real victim.
As you can see in the picture to the right, the Mutual Combat defense is most commonly raised with high school and college kids.

If I'm convicted at trial, can I appeal?

Yes. Although appeals can be expensive, it’s definitely worth the money to try.
If you feel that you didn’t get a fair trial or that certain evidence was irrelevant, an appeal is the way to go.
I highly recommend that you hire an aggressive, criminal defense attorney to represent you for your criminal conviction Appeal.
There are specific steps that must be taken to (intelligently) file an appeal.
Please do not try to do this alone, get help.

Simple Assault Video

New Jersey Aggravated Assault

Aggravated Assault charges are Felonies in New Jersey.
These criminal charges are graded as 2nd, 3rd, & 4th-degree crimes.
Check out the following link to learn more about NJ Felony charges.

If you’ve been charged with Aggravated Assault in NJ, this means that you are accused of seriously injuring someone.
Please be aware that you’re facing prison time.
Aggravated Assault charges carry lengthy prison sentences but we will discuss ways to avoid prison.
In this section, you will find answers to all of your Aggravated Assault questions.
If you don’t see the answer to your question, please Contact Us and we will answer any question you have. Consultations are free.

New Jersey Aggravated Assault Definition

If you physically hurt someone or attempted to hurt someone, then you will be charged with Aggravated Assault.
Aggravated Assault can be charged as 2nd, 3rd, or 4th-degree felony in New Jersey.
The degree of your charge depends on a variety of factors.
But the two most important factors deal with “who” your victim is & “how” bad their injuries are.
If your victim is a member of a “protected class”, then a Simple Assault (Misdemeanor) on that person instantly becomes a 3rd-degree Aggravated Assault (Felony).
For example, if you slap your neighbor you’re facing Simple Assault.
But if you slap a cop in the exact same way, you’re facing 3rd-degree Aggravated Assault.
You see, the “cop” is a member of a protected class & now you’re facing felony charges.

Aggravated Assault Law - 2C:12-1b

Aggravated Assault Definition
A person is guilty of aggravated assault if the person:
(1) Attempts to cause serious bodily injury to another or causes injury purposely or knowingly or under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life recklessly causes such injury; or
(2) Attempts to cause or purposely or knowingly causes bodily injury to another with a deadly weapon; or
(3) Recklessly causes bodily injury to another with a deadly weapon; or
(4) Knowingly under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life points a firearm, or in the direction of another, whether or not the actor believes it to be loaded; or
(5) Commits a simple assault on a “member of the protected class”.

Aggravated Assault Examples

  • Breaking someone’s jaw
  • Cutting someone’s face with a knife
  • Punching someone in the eye so they cannot see out of that eye
  •  Slapping a cop while he’s trying to arrest you
  • Burning someone with a hot iron
  • Crushing a whiskey bottle over someone’s head
  • Pushing someone down a flight of stairs
  • Pointing a gun at someone
Aggravated Assault in NJ

What's the difference between
Simple & Aggravated Assault?

The difference between Simple Assault & Aggravated Assault is the difference between a Misdemeanor & a Felony.
We have a blog post that discusses this issue in depth.

What Does Aggravated Mean?

The word “Aggravated” encompasses the following behavior.
A person acted purposely, knowingly, or recklessly under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life.
Basically, this means that you knew what you were doing when you did and that you didn’t care about any consequences.

What is Serious Bodily Injury?

N.J.S.A. 2C:11–1b defines “Serious Bodily Injury” as “bodily injury which creates a substantial risk of death or which causes serious permanent disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ.”
With the exception of murder, this is the highest type of injury a victim can suffer.
Some examples would be:
1. Poking someone’s eye out during a fight;
2. A stabbing victim loses a kidney;
3. Breaking a person’s legs.
To avoid prison, it is necessary to identify your victim’s injuries.
The police make mistakes sometimes and will charge a person with 2nd-degree Aggravated Assault when it should be a 3rd or 4th-degree charge.

What Is Significant Bodily Injury?

“Serious bodily injury” is to be distinguished from “significant bodily injury,” which is defined by N.J.S.A. 2C:11–1d as “bodily injury which creates a temporary loss of the function of any bodily member or organ or temporary loss of any one of the five senses.”
This means that a victim loses their eyesight or hearing as a result of the assault.
The difference between “Serious” & “Significant” bodily injury has to do with the “amount of time” that the victim suffers the injury.
Some examples would be:
1. Getting a black eye and losing vision for a week;
2. Getting hit in the head and losing hearing for a week;
3. Injuring a finger and not being able to use it for a week.
If you are accused of causing Significant Bodily Injury to someone, you will be facing serious prison time.

Can Aggravated Assault Charges Get Dismissed?

Aggravated Sexual Assault charges in NJ are among the most serious criminal charges that a defendant can ever face.

What is Aggravated Sexual Assault NJSA 2C:14-2?

New Jersey defines sexual assault as a crime in which one person forces another person to have “vaginal intercourse, cunnilingus, fellatio or anal intercourse” or to be subject to the “insertion of a hand, finger or other object” in the vagina or anus.
Sexual Assault charges get elevated to Aggravated Sexual Assault if one of the following occurs:

  • The alleged victim is younger than 13.
  • The alleged victim is 13 to 16 years old, and the defendant is related by blood or other legal means to the minor (such as a legal guardian).
  • The alleged sexual assault occurred while another crime was being committed or attempted (such as a kidnapping or a robbery).
  • The alleged sexual assault involved physical force that resulted in bodily injury.
  • The defendant allegedly had a weapon and threatened to use it during the assault.
  • The alleged victim was helpless or incapacitated (such as if the person was unconscious or unable to move), and the defendant knew or should have known that.

Is Aggravated Sexual Assault A Felony In NJ?

Aggravated Sexual Assault charges are always prosecuted as either First or Second-degree crimes.

If you plead guilty to a First-degree crime, you are facing a minimum of ten years in prison.

Depending on the number of charges, you will be sentenced to multiple decades of incarceration.
These charges never get downgraded and you will be ineligible for PTI.
You may want to read:
Dismissing Criminal Charges: Top 7 Ways To End The Nightmare

Penalties for 1st-degree Aggravated Sexual Assault

A crime of the first degree is ordinarily punishable by a term of imprisonment of 10 to 20 years or a fine of up to $200,000 or both.
If you were convicted of 1st-degree Aggravated Sexual Assault, you would be sentenced to a specific term of years fixed by the court.
The term would be between 25 years and life imprisonment of which you must serve 25 years before being eligible for parole.

What is the statute of limitations for
Aggravated Sexual Assault?

There is no statute of limitations for Sexual Assault in NJ.

In other words, you can be charged many years after you allegedly committed this offense.

However, for most other sex offenses, the period of time is 5 years.

If you believe that you are being investigated for sexual assault in NJ, contact us immediately.

For more information on the statute of limitations for sexual assault crimes throughout the country, please click here.

Can I Get PTI For An Aggravated Assault Charges?

Your eligibility to get into PTI for an Aggravated Assault charge will depend on a number of factors.
For a complete discussion of New Jersey’s Pretrial Intervention Program, see NJ PTI: Everything You Need To Know In 5 Minutes!

i'm under investigation for
Aggravated sexual Assault,
Should I talk to
the police & explain my side?

We advise every client that walks through our to never to law enforcement.
You risk incriminating yourself every time you try to explain things to law enforcement.
The best course of action is to retain a Criminal Defense lawyer & let him guide your decision to speak with law enforcement.
The truth is that you always have time before trial to give a statement to the police.
Remember, if you make one single mistake while giving your statement, you can never take it back.
It’s that innocent statement that will land you in prison for a decade.

actions you should take if the police approach you

If the police approach you to get your side of the story, remember these commandments:
1. Never Speak to the police until you retain a lawyer
2. Never Answer police questions until you retain a lawyer.
3. Never Admit anything to the police until you retain a lawyer. It is human nature to try and explain your side of things but you should never try to explain anything if you are being investigted for a crime.
The problem is that you never help your situation when you answer police questions.
In fact, you make matters worse because the tiniest piece of information can get twisted.

Legal Defenses - Aggravated Sexual Assault

To simplify things for you, we’re just going to discuss two defenses to Aggravated Sexual Assault.The first defense is “consent”.
Consent means that you and the alleged victim agreed to engage in the underlying sexual behavior.
However, this defense is not available when the alleged victim is a minor.
The second defense deals with the State’s inability to prove penetration.
If the State failed to obtain DNA evidence or if you never provided a statement admitting to the sexual act, then the case becomes a credibility issue.


It is very important to identify which type of Assault you are facing.
Whether you are charged in NJ with Simple, Aggravated, or Aggravated Sexual Assault you need to retain a criminal lawyer who can protect your Constitutional rights and represent you throughout NJ’s Criminal Justice Process.
Each type of Assault is different and each legal defense will be different.
While Simple Assault is a Misdemeanor, Aggravated & Sexual Aggravated Assault are high felonies that carry hefty prison terms.
Reach out to us today to help you with your Assault matter.
We offer FREE consultations.
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