What Happens if I am Charged with Aggravated Assault in Atlantic County?
Aggravated assault is a serious criminal offense in New Jersey that can change the rest of your life. The crime of aggravated assault can be incredibly fact based and depends on the situation and circumstances of your case.
If you or a loved one has been charged with aggravated assault then you may be facing a serious criminal charge. At The Law Firm of John J. Zarych, we have years of experience representing those who have been charged with aggravated assault in Atlantic County. We know that the best way of having these charges dropped, lowered, or dismissed is to engage in a thorough investigation of the facts and circumstances of your case, and by providing aggressive representation. If you are facing a charge of aggravated assault contact the experienced criminal defense lawyers of the Law Firm of John J. Zarych. To schedule a free and confidential initial case analysis call our firm at (609) 616-4956 or schedule an appointment online.
What is Aggravated Assault in New Jersey?
In New Jersey, a person can be charged with assault if they injury or attempt to injure another person without legal justification. However, in certain circumstances the facts and circumstances can lead to a more serious charge of aggravated assault. The New Jersey criminal code N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1(b), provides the following circumstances that can lead to an aggravated assault charge. Generally, a person can be charged with aggravated assault in New Jersey if he or she:
- Attempts to cause serious bodily injury to another, or causes such injury purposely or knowingly or under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life recklessly causes such injury; or
- Attempts to cause or purposely or knowingly causes bodily injury to another with a deadly weapon; or
- Recklessly causes bodily injury to another with a deadly weapon; or
- Knowingly under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life points a firearm, as defined in section 2C:39-1f., at or in the direction of another, whether or not the actor believes it to be loaded; or
- Commits a simple assault as defined in subsection a. (1), (2) or (3) of this section upon:
- Any law enforcement officer acting in the performance of his duties…; or
- Any paid or volunteer fireman acting in the performance of his duties…; or
- Any person engaged in emergency first-aid or medical services acting in the performance of his duties…; or
- Any school board member, school administrator, teacher, school bus driver or other employee…; or
- Any employee of the Division of Youth and Family Services…; or
- Any justice of the Supreme Court, judge of the Superior Court, judge of the Tax Court or municipal judge…
- Causes bodily injury to another person while fleeing or attempting to elude a lawenforcement officer in violation of subsection b. of N.J.S.2C:29-2 or while operating a motor vehicle in violation of subsection c. of N.J.S.2C:20-10; or
- Attempts to cause significant bodily injury to another or causes significant bodily injury purposely or knowingly or, under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life recklessly causes such significant bodily injury; or
- Causes bodily injury by knowingly or purposely starting a fire or causing an explosion in violation of N.J.S.2C:17-1…; or
- Knowingly, under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life, points or displays a firearm, as defined in subsection f. of N.J.S.2C:39-1, at or in the direction of a law enforcement officer; or
- Knowingly points, displays or uses an imitation firearm, as defined in subsection f. of N.J.S.2C:39-1, at or in the direction of a law enforcement officer with the purpose to intimidate, threaten or attempt to put the officer in fear of bodily injury or for any unlawful purpose.
What are the Penalties for Aggravated Assault?
In New Jersey, a person can be charged with various degrees of aggravated assault depending on the unique circumstances of the event. This means that even a minor bar fight can potentially result in an aggravated assault charge. The New Jersey legislature has determined and outlined that aggravated assault can be charged as either a second degree, third, degree, or fourth-degree crime. As there are various levels of assault, there are also various penalties.
A prosecutor may file second degree aggravated assault charge against you, if they determine that you attempted to cause “serious” bodily injury. The term serious bodily injury means that the injury exposed the victim to a risk of death. The statute for aggravated assault also provides that a person may be charged with aggravated assault as a second-degree crime if he or she caused bodily injury while attempting to elude a law enforcement officer. A second-degree crime can result in very serious criminal penalties, including a prison term between five and ten years. In addition to a potentially lengthy prison term a person who is convicted of aggravated assault can face a fine of up to $150,000.
When the prosecutor determines that there is a significant bodily injury, meaning that the injury created a temporary loss of the function of a body part or that cause the temporary loss of one of the five sense, then the prosecutor is free to charge aggravated assault with a third-degree crime. Third-degree aggravated assault may also be charged if the defendant knowingly caused bodily injury while they were using a deadly weapon. In addition, when there are certain people involved such as a police officer, firefighter, health care or utility worker or judge, then a charge can be elevated to third-degree charge. A third-degree aggravated assault charge can result in a prison sentence between three and five years, as well as a fine of up to $15,000.
Depending on the facts and circumstances of the case, a prosecutor may seek to bring charges for fourth-degree aggravated assault if the defendant recklessly caused bodily injury with a weapon or “serious” bodily injury with a vehicle. Any person who is charged with aggravated assault in the fourth degree may face a potential prison sentence of up to 18 months and a fine of up to $10,000.
It seems to be a common practice for prosecutors to seek the most severe charge they can based on the facts and events that lead to the charge. That is why it is important to work with an experienced criminal defense attorney. Because each assault charge is unique there are generally facts that an experienced criminal defense attorney can use to have your charge lowered or even dismissed.
Rely on an Experienced Aggravated Assault Attorney in Atlantic City and Atlantic County
If you or a loved one is facing serious criminal charges due to allegations of aggravated assault in Atlantic City the experienced criminal defense lawyers of the Law Firm of John J. Zarych can fight for you. We work to defend your rights by asserting all reasonable defenses and forcing the prosecutor to carry each and every element of their burden of proof. Furthermore, we engage with the prosecution strategically to determine whether there are additional options to mitigate the consequences you face. To schedule a free and confidential initial case analysis call our firm at (609) 616-4956 or schedule an appointment online.