Although assault and battery charges are often linked, in the state of New Jersey, they are two different crimes. As the two charges go hand-in-hand, it is important to know the differences between the two, and why battery charges will lead to assault charges, but not the other way around.
Simple and Aggravated Assault
There are two types of assault that a person can be charged with. The first being simple assault. This includes knowingly or recklessly causing bodily harm to another, negligently causing bodily injury using a deadly weapon, or attempting to cause someone else imminent fear of bodily harm by menacing them. Simple assault is classified as a disorderly persons offense. Or, if the assault stems from a mutual fight, it will be a petty disorderly offense. These charges can lead to up to 6 months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. Aggravated assault includes more serious notions, such as assault on a police officer or firefighter, the use of a motor vehicle, attempting to cause bodily injury, knowingly or recklessly, with a deadly weapon, or recklessly pointing a firearm at another person. These actions are dealt with more seriously, leading to aggravated assault charges and more severe punishments. The important thing to note is that a person can be charged with assault without even touching the victim.
Battery is a little different. Although it involves the same type of reckless actions, such as intentional harm to another with or without a deadly weapon, there must be physical contact. This also includes any extension of the person, including their glasses or clothing. The differences in both battery and assault means you can be charged with assault, without committing battery. However, if you commit battery, you will also be charged with assault in some way. The best example of this is someone being charged for assault because they were menacing another. Since the defendant intentionally made another person fear for their safety due to crude comments or menacing actions, that would be assault. However, if the defendant never made physical contact with the victim, there would be no battery charge.
In the case of assault and battery, there are a few defenses that can be used in the court of law. The first being self defense. If there seems to be a case for assault, the argument that a person was defending themselves can keep them out of trouble. Furthermore, an argument of consent can also be a valid defense. This can include mutual fighting, or predetermined consent for certain actions.
Trust Catanzaro Law
If you or someone you know has been charged with either assault or battery, it is important to find legal representation as soon as possible. We at Catanzaro Law have the knowledge, tools and experience to properly represent you in the defense. Our trained attorneys, who know how to navigate the laws and the courtroom, are determined to fight for your justice. Contact us today, for a free consultation, and trust Catanzaro to represent you!