Violent offenses are some of the most serious a defendant can be charged with. Assault is a somewhat common violent offense and is charged as either simple assault or aggravated assault. Simple assault is relatively minor compared to aggravated assault. Simple assault typically involves less harm to the victim and a more lenient sentence upon conviction. However, simple assault charges can be upgraded to more serious aggravated assault charges if certain people are the victims. When a police officer is the victim of simple assault, the defendant may instead be charged with aggravated assault.
Assaulting a police officer will result in aggravated assault charges and be charged as a fourth-degree or third-degree indictable crime. In New Jersey, indicatable crimes are like felonies in other jurisdictions. The penalties are much stricter and you could spend years in prison. In some cases, these kinds of charges result from an arrest gone awry where the defendant did not necessarily intend to hurt the officer involved.
If you or someone close to you has been charged with aggravated assault for assaulting a police officer, you need to reach out to an experienced lawyer for help. Aggravated assault charges are no joke, especially when a police officer is the victim. Schedule a private and free legal consultation with our New Jersey aggravated assault defense lawyers at the Law Offices of John J. Zarych by calling (609) 616-4956.
Aggravated Assault Charges from Assaulting a Police Officer in New Jersey
Ordinarily, aggravated assault is different from simple assault in several crucial ways. Generally, aggravated assault involves more severe injuries to the victim. Also, aggravated assault sometimes involves reckless behavior by the defendant that demonstrates an extreme indifference to human life. Essentially, aggravated assault is more physically harmful to the victim and may involve a more depraved defendant.
When a defendant is charged with aggravated assault of a police officer, the nature of the offense can actually arise to a level of mere simple assault. The charges are upgraded to aggravated assault because of the status of the victim as a police officer.
To be charged with aggravated assault of a police officer, the officer must be on duty and in uniform. If the officer is not in uniform, they must be exhibiting their authority in some other way or making their status as a police officer known. Even if the police officer is off duty, a defendant can be charged with aggravated assault if the assault was based on the victim’s status as a police officer. For example, attacking a police officer because you hate cops will get you charged with aggravated assault even if the officer was off duty at the time.
Aggravated assault charges of any kind are extremely serious and may put you behind bars for a long time. Get help from our New Jersey aggravated assault defense lawyers right away. We will help you fight your charges and protect your rights in the process.
Aggravated Assault Penalties in New Jersey
A defendant can be charged with aggravated assault of a police officer just for attempting the assault. In such cases, aggravated assault for assaulting a police officer is a fourth-degree crime. A fourth-degree crime may be punished by up to 18 months in prison.
If the officer sustained any injuries during the assault, the charges would be upgraded to a third-degree crime. A third-degree crime in New Jersey can be punished by at least 3 years in prison and no more than 5 years.
Depending on how the assault occurred and how many police officers were involved, a defendant could be looking at multiple counts of aggravated assault. Even just a few counts can add up to many years in prison. Call our New Jersey aggravated assault defense lawyers for help today.
Defenses to Charges for Aggravated Assault of a New Jersey Police Officer
Many defendants charged with aggravated assault for assaulting a police officer were likely resisting the officer during an arrest. Arrests can be chaotic and sometimes defendants panic or lash out when the officer tries to take them into custody. Other times, officers use an unnecessary or unlawful amount of force when executing an arrest and the defendant tries to protect themselves.
Self-defense may be a limited defense for these charges, but it could be available in select circumstances. Generally, you cannot use self-defense to resist an arrest, even if the arrest is unlawful. However, if a police officer uses unlawful force against the defendant, the defendant may resist using proportional force in self-defense. Self-defense may not consist of more force than reasonably needed to protect oneself from harm. Using too much force, even in the name of protecting yourself, can lead to aggravated assault charges. Also, self-defense does not apply in scenarios where the excessive force by the officer would have ceased if the defendant stopped engaging in self-defense measures.
It may also be possible to assert a defense based on the defendant’s lack of knowledge about the officer. Usually, for simple assault charges to be upgraded to aggravated assault, the officer must be on duty or his status as an officer is otherwise known to the defendant. If the defendant had no idea the victim was a police officer at the time of the assault, they might only be charged with simple assault. For example, a defendant might assault someone in a fight at a bar and not realize the person they are assaulting is a police officer.
If you were charged with aggravated assault of a police officer, call our New Jersey aggravated assault defense lawyers now. We can help you establish the most effective defense for your case and work to clear your name of wrongdoing.
Contact Our New Jersey Aggravated Assault Defense Lawyers Immediately
If you were charged with aggravated assault after an encounter with a police officer, you might be facing serious penalties. Our New Jersey aggravated assault defense attorneys can help you through this frightening and complicated process. Set up a free legal consultation with our experienced staff at the Law Offices of John J. Zarych by calling (609) 616-4956.