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When Does an Assault Become Aggravated Assault?


Assault and aggravated assault are terms that are often thrown around interchangeably. However, the kind of assault that is being spoken about is vital in court – both are very different. New Jersey law states that when a person attacks and injures a person, or tries to injure a person without cause, this is assault. Assault is divided into two categories: aggravated assault and simple assault. Which one is applied to a specific situation varies based on different factors.
To understand aggravated assault, it is essential to highlight some key factors of simple assault to compare. In the state of New Jersey, simple assault is classified as an attempt to knowingly cause someone bodily injury. Despite popular belief, simple assault can occur with a deadly weapon – this does not automatically make the assault aggravated. On the other hand, aggravated assault follows some slightly different parameters.
While bodily harm is still a factor in aggravated assault, the injury would have to be “significant bodily harm.” New Jersey law defines significant bodily harm as “temporary loss of function in any bodily member.” For example, broken bones, reduced or affected movement, or any other kind of permanent effect as a result of assault. This is where the line between simple assault and aggravated assault is made clear. Aggravated assault can happen with or without a deadly weapon.
It is not unheard of for a person to be tried for aggravated assault rather than simple assault. The penalties between the two can be vastly different in cost and potential jail time ranging from as little as 18 months in prison with a fine of up to $15,000 to five to tens in prison, with fines up to $150,000.
 
If you or someone you know stands accused of aggravated assault, contact a criminal defense attorney at Lombardi and Lombardi, P.A. today to schedule your case evaluation.

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