Aggravated Assault in NJ
In New Jersey, an assault is a crime where one person attempts to, or actually does, injure another person. Aggravated assaults are violent felonies. After considering how much force was used, what kind of injuries were caused, and your justifications for attacking, prosecutors may decide to charge you with aggravated assault after a fight or other physical confrontation.
If your are convicted on a charge of aggravated assault, you could be facing years in prison and thousands of dollars in restitution. As soon as police contact your about allegations you committed an assault, you should retain a defense attorney. Do not talk to police or sign any papers without speaking to a lawyer.
What is “aggravated assault” in New Jersey?
Attacking anyone without a valid reason is a crime in New Jersey, but if the attack was made as part of a robbery, against a police officer, or caused severe injury, you will be punished much more severely. Here are the factors that make an assault aggravated in New Jersey:
- Causing serious injury to a person, either on purpose or through recklessness and a disregard for human life.
- Injuring or attempting to harm someone with a deadly weapon, either on purpose or by acting reckless.
- Pointing a firearm at someone recklessly in a way that shows indifference to a person’s life. The gun does not need to be loaded.
- Pointing a firearm or imitation gun at a member of law enforcement as a way to threaten or intimidate them.
- Assaulting Public Employees, including firemen, EMS responders, bus drivers and train crews.
- Assaulting healthcare staff, including nurses, doctors, and any other direct care workers.
- Assaulting educational staff, both teachers and administrators, school staff, and Board of Education members.
- Injuring another person while fleeing from the police
- Injuring a person in the process of committing theft
- Starting a fire or explosion that injured first responders
- Pointing a laser gunsight at police. This includes anything that would make a reasonable person believe it was a laser sight, not just weapon-mounted lasers.
These statutes are simplified from N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1(b)
Police won’t usually come right out and say, “we’re investigating you for assault.” If you are asked about doing any of the above by law enforcement, you are probably under investigation and should discuss your options with a defense attorney.
Is Aggravated Assault a Felony Offense in NJ?
Technically, no. New Jersey doesn’t officially use the terms felony and misdemeanor, and you will not find the word in state law or court documents. Instead “felony” crimes are called indictable offenses.
Practically this is the same thing, and other states and the Federal Government will still treat a person convicted of Aggravated Assault in New Jersey as a felon no matter what alternate language New Jersey adopts.
Aggravated Assault vs. Simple Assault
The difference between simple and aggravated assault comes down to how badly injured the victim was and/or the presence of a weapon.
In a simple assault, the victim was uninjured or lightly injured, and the attacker did not use a deadly weapon. If the victim is seriously injured, or had a chance of being badly injured by an attempted attack, or if a deadly weapon is used, then the assault is classified as an aggravated assault.
Attacking public servants like doctors and fireman also makes an assault aggravated, no matter how minor the resulting injury was.
Jail Time for Aggravated Assault in New Jersey
Aggravated assault is a felony in the Garden State. If convicted, expect to spend at least a year in prison. Carrying a weapon during an assault or assaulting law enforcement can mean u to ten years in prison and over a hundred thousand dollars in fines. Here’s what your in facing if convicted of assault:
Fourth Degree Assault
- Jail Time: Up to 18 months
- Fines: Up to $10,000
Third Degree Assault
- Jail Time: 3-5 years
- Fines: Up to $15,000
Second Degree Assault
- Jail Time: 5-10 years
- Fines: up to $150,000
You Need a Defense Lawyer to Fight Assault Charges
Your word alone probably isn’t enough to fight assault charges. If you are falsely accused, a defense lawyer can assemble witnesses and evidence to prove you were not the one who attacked the victim.
Or if you attacked in self defense, a defense lawyer can use the evidence to demonstrate that you lawfully used force to protect yourself, not to criminally assault another person.
If you need a great defense lawyer in South Jersey, call Aita Law LLC for a consultation. When your freedom’s on the line, defense lawyer Kenneth D. Aita’s the kind of man you want in your corner. With years of experience defending against criminal charges like assault, he’ll personally mount the best possible defense in your case.