Lampitt Bill to Stiffen Penalties for Domestic Violence Related Assault Advances

Bipartisan legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrat Pamela Lampitt to stiffen penalties for domestic violence-related assault was unanimously approved by an Assembly panel on Monday.

“We want to make it clear that menacing acts of domestic violence are not the same as a bar room scuffle and will not be treated as such,” said Lampitt (D-Camden/Burlington). “Domestic violence is about inciting fear, control and domination over a victim. This behavior can have a lifetime of consequences and can also be life-threatening. We need to send a strong message that it will not be treated lightly.”

The bill (A-1548) would upgrade certain aggravated assaults committed in the course of violating a domestic violence protective order, specifically:
– Attempting or causing serious bodily injury under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life would be upgraded from a second degree to a first degree crime;
– Attempting to cause or purposely or knowingly causing bodily injury to another with a deadly weapon would be upgraded from a third degree to a second degree crime;
– Recklessly causing bodily injury to another with a deadly weapon would be upgraded from a fourth degree to a third degree crime, except that the presumption of non-imprisonment would not apply; and
– Knowingly and under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life by pointing a firearm at or in the direction of another, whether or not the actor believes it to be loaded, would be upgraded from a fourth degree to a third degree crime, except that the presumption of non-imprisonment would not apply.

The bill would also upgrade simple assault from a disorderly persons offense to a fourth degree crime, except that the presumption of non-imprisonment would not apply, when the assault is committed in the course of violating a domestic violence protective order.

A disorderly persons offense is punishable by a term of imprisonment of up to six months or a fine of up to $1,000, or both; a crime of the fourth degree, by a term of up to 18 months or a fine of up to $10,000, or both; and a crime of the third degree, by a term of three to five years or a fine of up to $15,000, or both; a crime of the second degree is punishable by a term of imprisonment of five to ten years, a fine of up to $150,000, or both; and a crime of the first degree is punishable by a term of imprisonment of ten to twenty years, a fine of up to $200,000, or both.

The measure was approved by the Assembly Judiciary Committee and now awaits consideration by the full Assembly.