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In New Jersey, assault is defined as a person that purposely, recklessly, or negligently causes injury or the fear of serious injury to another person. Assault is broken further down into two categories: simple assault and aggravated assault. The level of the assault charge is determined by the seriousness of the injury or if a deadly weapon was involved. There are many different reasons why a person could get charged with assault. If you or a loved one has been charged with assault, it is important to contact a New Jersey attorney like Leon Matchin right away. The main goal is to get the assault charges dropped. If this is not possible, Leon will help to get the charges downgraded so they won’t appear on your permanent record. Read on to learn about assault and how an attorney can help. 

Simple Assault

New Jersey law 2C:12-1 breaks down simple and aggravated assault. Simple assault is attempts to purposely cause bodily injury to another, negligence that leads to bodily injury of another with a deadly weapon, or attempts to cause another to fear imminent serious bodily injury. If a person is charged with simple assault, they will be charged with a disorderly persons offense. The case will be handled in the municipal court system.

Aggravated Assault

Aggravated assault is a step up from simple assault. New Jersey law 2C:12-1 states that aggravated assault includes attempts to cause serious bodily injury, attempts to cause bodily injury with a deadly weapon, recklessly causing injury with a deadly weapon, or pointing a firearm at someone. Basically, with aggravated assault, someone has to be seriously injured. In other cases, a deadly weapon has to be knowingly or recklessly used. In addition, the law states the phrase “indifference to the value of human life,” several times. This is another indicator that the charge will be aggravated assault. Aggravated assault is elevated to the county court system and is an indictable crime.

What About Battery?

Often we hear the phrase assault and battery. What does battery actually mean? Battery requires an offensive physical contact with another person. This is different from assault which can just be a threat of imminent bodily harm. In the state of New Jersey, assault and battery are considered to be in the same category of charges. Even if the crime committed was battery, the person will be charged with assault.


If the charge is simple assault, it is considered to be a misdemeanor. This is punishable by up to 6 months in jail and a maximum fine of up to $1,000. The penalties are less if the assault is considered mutual consent. This would be in the case of a fight where there was mutual consent between the two parties. This is considered a petty persons offense and can lead to jail time of up to 30 days. Aggravated assault charges include a wide range of penalties based on the degree of the crime.

Potential Defenses to Get Charges Dismissed or Downgraded

Leon Matchin’s number one goal in every assault case is to get the charges completely dropped. While this is always the hope, sometimes it is not possible for a variety of reasons. In that case, Leon will work to get the charges downgraded so that it doesn’t show up on your permanent record. Here are some common defenses used when attempting to drop or downgrade an assault charge:

·  Self-defense – This is a very common defense used in assault charges. If the person felt their safety or life was being threatened so they responded with assault, this is often an acceptable defense to get charges dropped or downgraded.

·  Defense of others or property – Another common defense of assault is that the defendant was acting in a way to protect others (like their children) or their property.

·  Mutual combat – This defense can be used when two people mutually consent to getting into a fight. A mutual combat defense helps get charges downgraded to a petty persons offense which results in less harsh penalties.

Your New Jersey attorney, Leon Matchin, has years of experience creating defense cases for those charged with assault. During the initial consultation, he will sit down with you and gain insight on the situation. He will also explore all related evidence. He will use this information to create a defense that will hopefully get charges dismissed or downgraded in court. When you speak with Leon, don’t leave any details out, no matter how unimportant they may seem. Sometimes the smallest of details can have the biggest impact on creating a defense for your case.

New Jersey Attorney

Getting charged with assault is often accompanied by fear and anxiety about what this means for the future. From the fines and jail time to having an assault charge on a permanent record, many people automatically assume the worst. With the help of a New Jersey attorney like Leon Matchin, a solid defense can be made around your case in order to get the charges dropped or downgraded. When it comes to assault, there are two different types: simple and aggravated. Simple is considered a disorderly persons offense handled at the municipal court level while aggravated assault is an indictable crime handled at the county level. Leon will help you understand the charge, where your case will be handled, and what your potential penalties are. 

The goal is to get charges completely dropped or at least downgraded so they aren’t on your permanent record. Leon is very familiar with common assault defenses like mutual combat, self-defense, and defense of others or property. He will professionally and skillfully navigate your case, creating the best defense for your situation. If you or a family member have been charged with assault and need help, call Leon Matchin today at (833) 732-7320, or contact him via email at [email protected].