Penalties for Aggravated Assault Charges in New Jersey
Aggravated assault is a serious charge in New Jersey. Unlike simple assault, aggravated assault is a felony, with penalties that can include lengthy jail times, high fines, and the possibility of a permanent criminal record. If you’ve been charged, it’s essential to speak with an experienced New Jersey aggravated assault attorney who understands what’s at stake and will fight to protect your rights.
Get skilled criminal defense lawyer Jason A. Volet on your side. There are valid and effective defenses to aggravated assault charges, and our defense team will do everything within our power to prevent a conviction for you or a family member.
To learn more about how we can help, call or contact us today for a free consultation.
- 1 What is Aggravated Assault?
- 2 What Is the Difference Between Aggravated Assault and Simple Assault?
- 3 What Are the Penalties for Aggravated Assault?
- 4 How Do You Defend Against an Aggravated Assault Charge?
- 5 Is There a Statute of Limitations for an Aggravated Assault Charge?
- 6 Get Help From a New Jersey Aggravated Assault Defense Lawyer
What is Aggravated Assault?
Aggravated assault crimes can be a second, third, or fourth-degree charge. There are 11 different scenarios in which someone can be found guilty of the crime. These include:
- Knowingly and intentionally causing or attempting to cause serious bodily injury to someone else in a manner that shows complete disregard for human life
- Causing or attempting to cause injury to another person using a deadly weapon
- Recklessly causing injury to someone else using a deadly weapon
- Intentionally pointing a firearm at another person, or in their direction, regardless of whether that fireman was loaded or unloaded
- Simple assault that is committed against a specific type of person performing official duties, such as a law enforcement officer, an EMT first responder, or a firefighter
- Causing injury to another person while attempting to flee or elude a police officer, or while committing the crime of theft
- Negligently or recklessly causing serious injury to another person
- Causing injury by starting a fire or explosion
- Intentionally pointing or displaying a firearm at a police officer, or pointing it in his or her direction
- Intentionally pointing or displaying a fake firearm in the direction of a law enforcement officer
- Using or activating a laser sighting system or device that could reasonably cause harm against a law enforcement officer
A knowledgeable aggravated assault lawyer will know how to analyze the evidence that a prosecutor presents and identify flaws in his or her argument. For example, medical records may show evidence of a bodily injury, but not one serious enough to meet the criteria for aggravated assault. The attorney may then request for the charge to be dismissed or reduced.
What Is the Difference Between Aggravated Assault and Simple Assault?
There are two different types of assault charges in New Jersey — aggravated assault and simple assault. The biggest difference is that aggravated assault generally requires serious bodily injury. Another important difference is that a simple assault is considered a disorderly persons offense and is a misdemeanor, with lighter penalties.
There are some instances when a simple assault can be upgraded to an aggravated assault charge. This largely occurs when a simple assault was carried out against a certain type of person, including a law enforcement officer, a teacher, or a first responder carrying out their official duties.
What Are the Penalties for Aggravated Assault?
The penalties for aggravated assault vary depending on the degree of the charge. These include:
- Fourth-degree aggravated assault: A maximum of 18 months in prison and a maximum $10,000 fine
- Third-degree aggravated assault: At least three (but no more than five) years in prison and a maximum fine of $15,000
- Second-degree aggravated assault: At least five years in prison (but no more than 10) and a maximum fine of $150,000
Because so much is at stake when someone is charged with aggravated assault, it’s important to consult with an attorney who can build a solid, evidence-based defense strategy for you.
How Do You Defend Against an Aggravated Assault Charge?
There are several possible defenses in an aggravated assault case in New Jersey:
- Self-defense: New Jersey’s Self-Defense Law allows individuals to use a reasonable amount of force if they believe that they are in imminent danger from another person. Self-defense is also a viable defense when an intruder breaks into someone’s home and the owner of that home uses force that would otherwise be considered aggravated assault.
To use self-defense in a break-in case, a New Jersey aggravated assault lawyer must only show that the defendant it believed he/she needed to use force in the situation, even if that force was later found to be unjustified. Still, the person accused of aggravated assault must have warned the injured person to stop interfering with the property. Deadly force can only be used when the accused believes that the trespasser or intruder was going to use deadly force against him/her.
- Mistake of fact: In this argument, there is no dispute that an assault occurred. However, it must be shown that the defendant was unaware of the injury it would cause. For example, if a defendant hit a victim on the arm after they had said something offensive but didn’t know it was the site of an old injury that would become irritated, this would be a mistake of fact and could serve as a valid defense.
To increase your chances for success in a New Jersey aggravated assault case, make sure that you hire a lawyer that you can be completely honest with.
Is There a Statute of Limitations for an Aggravated Assault Charge?
The statute of limitations on aggravated assault in New Jersey is five years from the date of the alleged assault. This means that charges must be filed within five years of the alleged assault or a person cannot be tried for the crime.
Get Help From a New Jersey Aggravated Assault Defense Lawyer
Being convicted with aggravated assault in New Jersey can have serious long-term consequences. You need to get a tough lawyer working on your case as soon as possible. Don’t delay — reach out to The Law Office of Jason A. Volet to arrange a case review at no cost.
Call or contact us to schedule for free and confidential consultation.