Believe it or not, if you harmfully or offensively made contact with another person, you might have committed a crime. Whether you punched the person, knifed him, grabbed his collar, or ripped something away from him, you might be facing criminal charges.
What is Battery?
Although extremely similar, assault and battery are not entirely the same. In order to be guilty of a criminal battery, you must have made physical contact with the person or an extension of him (i.e. something he was holding, his clothing, etc.).
In contrast, simple assault only requires the victim to be in imminent apprehension of an immediate battery. In other words, fear of being attacked might be enough to constitute simple assault, but it will not be a criminal battery.
Assault vs. Battery in New Jersey
Although assault and battery are technically different, New Jersey will charge you with aggravated assault due to causing bodily injury if you committed a criminal battery.
This means that the crime of battery really falls under the NJ assault statute, N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1.
Remember, you might have committed a battery, but the offense you will be charged with is aggravated assault, which is a second degree crime.
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What Charges Will I Face?
If you found yourself in a fight the other day and the police were called to break it up, you might be facing charges for aggravated assault. Make no mistake, this charge is serious and can dramatically impact the rest of your life.
Under N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1(b), if you intentionally or recklessly caused bodily harm to another with or without a deadly weapon, you will have committed a battery and will be guilty of aggravated assault. If convicted, depending on the seriousness of the circumstances, you can face up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $150,000 (i.e. a second degree crime).
Common Battery Defenses
If you were charged with aggravated assault due to committing a criminal battery but did so in self-defense, you will have a valid defense against the charge. For example, if you were eating at a fancy restaurant and an angry patron came racing your way ready to stab you with a very sharp steak knife, you will likely be able to smack him over the head with the dinner plate on your table in order to avoid being injured.
Why? You were acting in self-defense. If you would not have acted as you did, you could have been seriously injured and perhaps killed. As such, New Jersey recognizes self-defense so long as the force that you utilized was commensurate with (and never greater than) the force you were being threatened with.
Make sure to contact an experienced lawyer who can raise this type of defense for you and help present your case in the best light. Do not gamble with something as important as your liberty.
Who Should You Contact?
If you or a loved was recently charged with assault and battery, contact Rosenblum Law today. Our firm will defend your constitutional rights and do what he can to have your criminal assault and battery charges dismissed. E-mail or call us today at 888-815-3649.