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While the stars of The Real Housewives series are no strangers to catfights, three New Jersey cast members recently took things to a new level and were each charged with assault after a bloody brawl last April. Fights like that escalate quickly, so it's important to know the basics of the five kinds of assault.

Simple and Aggravated Assaults: In these types of assaults, the actor acts purposely, knowledgably, or recklessly and attempts to cause (or actually causes) bodily injury.

  • In a simple assault, the bodily injury is physical pain, illness or any impairment of the physical condition.
  • In an aggravated assault (the more serious offense), the bodily injury poses a substantial risk of death, causes serious permanent disfigurement, or gradual loss of function of a body part.

Harassment: Three elements must be met for harassment.

  • The actor intended to disturb or upset; and
  • Hits, kicks, shoves, or touches in an otherwise offensive manner; or
  • Engages in repetitive communication and/or conduct that is offensive, annoying, or alarming to another

Disorderly Conduct: The actor publicly engages in improper behavior (such as fighting) or uses offensive language intending to offend others' sensibilities with that language or in reckless disregard of the probability of doing so.

Sexual Assault: The perpetrator has intercourse with someone:

  • Younger than 13 when he or she is more than four years older than him/her
  • Using physical force or coercion
  • Has supervisory or disciplinary power over; or
  • Between 16-18 that he or she is related to and/or supervises as guardian.

A wise man will remember the basics of these five assaults the next time a fight begins - but an even wiser man will remember who can help after the fight ends and charges are filed.

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