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You may have heard the phrase “assault and battery” used when referring to an illegal offense. However, the terms “assault” and “battery” may not always go hand and hand and therefore may take on very different definitions. Continue reading to learn the differences between assault and battery charges under New Jersey law and how an experienced Morristown criminal defense lawyer at Graves Andrews, LLC can help you avoid these charges altogether.

What are the different types of assault recognized by New Jersey criminal law?

Before getting into the differences between assault and battery, you must first understand the different types of assault recognized by New Jersey criminal law. First off, simple assault may be defined as any action that purposefully or recklessly causes bodily harm to another person, which may or may not involve the presence or use of a deadly weapon. What’s more, another person may not have necessarily incurred bodily harm from a simple assault, but they may have, at the very least, feared imminent bodily injury.¬†That said, being found guilty of committing simple assault may lead to a fine of up to $1,000, a sentence of up to six months in jail, and other criminal penalties.

Then, there is aggravated assault. This may be defined as any action that intentionally causes serious bodily harm to another person, with or without the presence or use of a deadly weapon. Also, it may be considered when committing assault against a protected individual (i.e., law enforcement officer, medical first responder, etc). Or, it may be considered when serious bodily harm results from a domestic violence incident. That said, being found guilty of committing aggravated assault may lead to a fine of at least $10,000, a sentence of up to 18 months in prison, and other criminal penalties.

What is assault versus battery under New Jersey law?

To reiterate, “assault and battery” is one phrase comprised of two different offenses. Assault may be the act of making another person fear imminent bodily injury. Battery may be the act of actually making physical contact with another person and causing them bodily injury.

This is all to say that, contrary to what you may initially assume, battery may not be considered a criminal offense under New Jersey law. Rather, incidents of battery may be handled in a civil court of law. So if you are found at fault for committing battery in your civil court proceedings, then you may be penalized with civil damages. This may entail having to pay for the plaintiff’s medical bills, lost wages, physical pain and emotional suffering, etc.

Whenever you are ready, a skilled Morristown criminal defense lawyer is here to provide legal assistance. So please schedule your initial consultation with us at Graves Andrews, LLC today.