People come to Atlantic City expecting to have a good time. However, sometimes things can get out of hand, and suddenly someone can become embroiled in a dispute or fight. They then may find themselves arrested and charged with simple assault.
Simple assault typically involves a fight, attack or threat of one. If the victim sustains minor injuries, they may still choose to press simple assault charges against their attacker. If the actions cause serious injury or grievous bodily harm, the crime goes up to aggravated assault or even attempted homicide. Anything involving sexual assault or battery also increases the severity of the charge.
The three elements of simple assault
The circumstances of each incident will vary, but some elements for simple assault include:
- Intent: There is some gesture, act or words intended to threaten or scare the victim or give them a sense of imminent threat.
- Reasonable apprehension: The victim perceived the threat as real and directed towards them.
- Harm: The defendant must cause harm in some way or cause the victim to feel like they were in danger of harm.
The penalties for simple assault can involve up to six months in the county jail and a $1,000 fine. If the defendant can get the charges reduced, the immediate downgrade is a petty disorderly person offense, which involves 90 days in jail and up to a $500 fine.
The lasting impact
While these charges are not particularly severe, their impact could be felt for years to come. They remain part of an individual’s criminal record and will show up in background checks when they apply for jobs. It can also create headaches as the person charged tries to explain the situation to parents, family members, friends or people at work.
Common defenses of simple assault
There are several common defenses against simple assault charges:
- The person charged acted in self-defense or in defense of others.
- The incident involved a defense of property.
- The incident was an accident.
- The incident involved two consenting parties.
- The person charged was mistakenly identified as the person who committed the crime.
Attorneys can provide the necessary guidance
It is often helpful to work with an experienced criminal law attorney who charges like this. Perhaps it was a mistake during a night out or a misunderstanding. Whatever the circumstances, it often best to fight simple assault charges.