Aggravated Assault Charges in NJ
Aggravated assault can be a very serious charge that cannot be taken lightly, as the consequences can be severe. Depending on the specifics of your case, an aggravated assault charge can be determined as a fourth, third, or a second degree crime. All degrees of this crime assert that you will be facing jail time and a considerable monetary fine if you are found guilty. There are many grounds to a case that a lawyer and court will examine to determine the degree of the crime, which we will now examine.
If you are facing an aggravated assault charge, you need to seek an experienced, and responsive attorney to ensure that you face the court with the strongest defense possible. If you have any questions or concerns regarding your case, contact us today to discuss your options.
Grounds for an Aggravated Assault Charge
To determine whether you are found guilty or innocent of an aggravated assault charge, a court will consider the New Jersey Statutes that deem a defendant as guilty if:
- The defendant caused, or attempted to cause, serious bodily injury to another individual on purpose, knowingly, or under circumstances manifesting an extreme indifference to the value of human life.
- The defendant caused, or attempted to cause, serious bodily injury to another person with a deadly weapon purposely or knowingly.
- The defendant recklessly caused bodily injury to another person with a deadly weapon.
- The defendant knowingly pointed a firearm at or in the direction of another person, regardless if they were aware the firearm was loaded or unloaded, under circumstances that manifest an extreme indifference to the value of human life.
- The defendant knowingly pointed, displayed, or used an imitation firearm at or in the direction of a law enforcement officer-and under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life-with the intention of threatening, intimidating, putting the officer in fear of bodily injury, or for any unlawful purpose.
- The defendant committed simple assault against any of the following employees during the span of their employment:
- A law enforcement officer
- A fireman
- EMT/EMS responder
- Any employee of a public or private school (e.g. teacher, school administrator, school bus driver, school board member, etc.)
- A DCF (Department of Children and Families, formerly DYFS) employee
- A public transportation employee (i.e. bus driver, train conductor, etc.)
- An employe of a correctional facility
- An employee of a utility or cable company
- A healthcare worker
- A direct care worker at a psychiatric hospital, center, or facility
- The defendant caused bodily injury to another person while attempting to elude or flee law enforcement, or while committing a theft crime
- The defendant caused bodily injury by knowingly or purposefully starting a fire or explosion that results in bodily injury to emergency services personnel
- The defendant activated a laser sighting system or device (or another system or device that would reasonably cause a person to believe that it was a laser sighting system or device) against a law enforcement officer
*These statutes are simplified from N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1(b)
If you believe that these circumstances apply to your case, it is imperative that you contact an attorney as soon as possible to discuss your options, and the steps to take to avoid a serious sentence.
Is Aggravated Assault a Felony Offense in NJ? Simple Assault vs. Aggravated Assault
It can be confusing to determine the difference between simple assault and aggravated assault charges, and knowing which is a felony charge and which is a misdemeanor. A simple assault charge is considered a “disorderly persons offense”, which is NJ’s equivalent of a misdemeanor, while aggravated assault is an “indictable criminal offense”, the equivalent of a felony charge. Therefore, aggravated assault is the same as a felony offense in New Jersey.
What Defines Aggravated Assault?
In general, the previously mentioned New Jersey Statutes define aggravated assault as an act or an attempt to cause serious bodily injury. Serious bodily injuries are classified as any bodily injury that creates permanent disfigurement, extended loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ, or creates a considerable risk of death for an individual affected by a defendant’s actions.
Charges and Penalties for Aggravated Assault in New Jersey
One of the first concerns people express once they are charged is knowing what the jail time is for an aggravated assault charge. Depending on the specifics of your case and what statute you violated will determine what degree you may be charged with. The penalties and sentences per the different degrees of aggravated assault are as follows:
Fourth Degree Assault
A sentence for fourth degree aggravated assault will entail up to 18 months in prison and a fine up to $10,000.
Third Degree Assault
If you are found guilty of a third-degree aggravated assault charge, you are facing a prison sentence for 3-5 years, and a fine up to $15,000.
Second Degree Assault
An assault causing serious bodily injury is a crime of the second degree. A felony conviction will carry jail terms of 5-10 years, and fines as high as $150,000.
Contact Us Today
Aggravated assault can carry up to ten years of incarceration in New Jersey. You need a good lawyer to fight these charges in court. Contact us today if you need help taking the next steps towards preparing for your hearing and/or trial.