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Kenneth Vercammen & Associates
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SIMPLE ASSAULT (N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1a(1))

SIMPLE ASSAULT (Bodily Injury)(Lesser Included Offense)
(N.J.S.A.2C:12-1a(1)) Model jury charge
The law requires that the Court instruct the jury with respect to possible (lesser) included offenses, even if they are not contained in the indictment. Just because the Court is instructing you concerning these offenses does not mean that the Court has any opinion one way or another about whether the defendant committed these, or any, offenses. You should consider these offenses along with those for which the defendant is indicted. However, you are not to render a verdict on these offenses or answer the questions on the verdict sheet unless you find that the State has failed to meet its burden with regard to the offense(s) in the indictment.
Simple assault isa lesser-included offense to count ______ of this indictment. The statute which defines simple assault provides that:
A person commits a simple assault if he attempts to cause or purposely, knowingly or recklessly causes bodily injury to another.

Disorderly person criminal offenses- ex Simple Assault, shoplifting & cases in Municipal Court

                                Jail 2C: 43- 8       jail  6 month maximum

                                                           probation 1-2 year                      

                                                           community service  180 days maximum 

                                                           mandatory costs, VCCB and other penalties

Disorderly- fines:          2C: 43- 3        $1,000 Fine  maximum              

 

         There are many other penalties that the court must impose in criminal cases.  There are dozens of other penalties a court can impose, depending on the type of matter.

In order for you to convict the defendant of this offense, the State must prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
(CHARGE AS APPROPRIATE)
OPTION ONE (Causing Bodily Injury)
1.That the defendant did cause bodily injury toNAME OF VICTIM; and

2.That the defendant acted purposely or knowingly or recklessly in causing bodily injury toNAME OF VICTIM(or another).[1]

The first element that the State must prove beyond a reasonable doubt is the defendant caused bodily injury to another.
Bodily injury is defined as physical pain, illness or any impairment of the physical condition.[2]
The second element that the State must prove beyond a reasonable doubt is the defendant acted purposely or knowingly or recklessly in causing bodily injury toNAME OF VICTIMor (Another).
A person acts purposely with respect to causing bodily injury to another if it is a persons conscious object to cause bodily injury to another.A person acts purposely with respect to attendant circumstances if a person is aware of the existence of such circumstances or a person believes or hopes that they exist. One can be deemed to be acting purposely if one acts with design, with a purpose, with a particular object, if one really means to do whathe/shedoes.
A person acts knowingly with respect to causing bodily injury if a person is aware thathis/herconduct is of that nature, or that such circumstances exist or a person is aware of a high probability of their existence. A person acts knowingly with respect to a result ofhis/herconduct if a person is aware that it is practically certain thathis/herconduct will cause bodily injury. One is said to act knowingly if one acts with knowledge, if one acts consciously, ifhe/shecomprehendshis/heracts.
A person acts recklessly with respect to causing bodily injury when a person consciously disregards a substantial and unjustifiable risk that the material element exists or will result fromhis/herconduct. The risk must be of such a nature and degree that, considering the nature and purpose of the actors conduct and the circumstances known to the actor its disregard involves a gross deviation from the standard of conduct that a reasonable person would observe in the actors situation. One is said to act recklessly if one acts with recklessness, with scorn for the consequences, heedlessly, foolhardily.
The nature of the purpose or knowledge or recklessness with which the defendant acted toward the victim of the assaultis a question of fact for you the jury to decide. Purpose and knowledge and recklessness are conditions of the mind which cannot be seen and can only be determined by inferences from conduct, words or acts. It is not necessary for the State to produce a witness or witnesses who could testify that the defendant stated, for example, thathis/herpurpose was to cause bodily injury.It is within your power to find that proof of purpose or knowledge or recklessness has been furnished beyond a reasonable doubt by inferences which may arise from the nature of the acts and the surrounding circumstances.[3]
If you find that the State has proved each element of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt, then you must find the defendant guilty. If, however, you find that the State has failed to prove any element of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt, then you must find the defendant not guilty.
OPTION TWO (ATTEMPT TO CAUSE BODILY INJURY):
1.That the defendant attempted to cause bodily injury toNAME OF VICTIM(or another); and

2.That the defendant acted purposely.

The first element that the State must prove beyond a reasonable doubt is the defendant attempted to cause bodily injury to another.
Bodily injury is defined as physical pain, illness or any impairment of the physical condition.
The second element the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt is the defendant purposely attempted to cause bodily injury toNAME OF VICTIM(or another).
A person acts purposely with respect to causing bodily injury if it is a persons conscious object to cause bodily injury. A person acts purposely with respect to attendant circumstances if a person is aware of the existence of such circumstances or a person believes or hopes that they exist. One can be deemed to be acting purposely if one acts with design, with a purpose, with a particular object, if one really means to do whathe/shedoes.
The law provides that a person attempts to commit the crime of simple assault if, acting purposefully, he:
(select appropriate section)

1.Engaged in conduct that would constitute the offense if the attendant circumstances were as a reasonable person would believe them to be;

(or)

2.Did (or omitted to do) anything with the purpose of causing bodily injury to another without further conduct onhispart. This means that the defendant(s) did something designed to cause bodily injury without having to take any further action.

(or)

3.Did (or omitted to do) anything that, under the circumstances as a reasonable person would believe them to be, was an act (or omission) constituting a substantial step in a course of conduct planned to culminate inhiscommission of the crime.

The step taken must be one that is strongly corroborative of the defendants criminal purpose. The accused must be shown to have had a firmness of criminal purpose in light of the step(s)he/shehad already taken. These preparatory steps must be substantial and not just very remote preparatory acts.[4]
If you find that the State has proved each element of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt, then you must find the defendant guilty. If, however, you find that the State has failed to prove any element of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt, then you must find the defendant not guilty.[5]


[1]A person can violate the provisions of the statute under a theory of transferred intent.SeeN.J.S.A. 2C:2-3(d).
[2]N.J.S.A. 2C:11-1(a).
[3]If causation is an issue, the jury should be instructed on causation.SeeN.J.S.A.2C:2-3a(1) et. seq.
[4]If renunciation of criminal purpose is alleged, seeN.J.S.A.2C:5-1(d), that portion of the Model Jury Charge on Attempt regarding renunciation should also be charged.
[5]Simple Assault is a disorderly persons offense. It is a petty disorderly persons offense if the assault was committed in a fight or in a scuffle entered into by mutual consent.SeeN.J.S.A.2C:12-1.If a reasonable view of the evidence supports a view that such circumstances may exist, the jury should be instructed that the State bears the burden of proving the absence of such circumstances beyond a reasonable doubt.Apprendi v. New Jersey, 530U.S. 466 (2000);State v. Johnson, 166N.J. 523 (2001).See alsoState v. Jordon, 86N.J.Super.585 (App. Div. 1965), interpreting predecessor fighting statute,N.J.S.A.2A:170-27.

 


Kenneth Vercammen was the Middlesex County Bar Municipal Court Attorney of the Year
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Kenneth Vercammen was the NJ State Bar Municipal Court Attorney of the Year and past president of the Middlesex County Municipal Prosecutors Association.

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Ken Vercammen articles

Ken Vercammens Resume Directions to Ken Vercammen and Associates



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