Articles Posted in Aggravated Assault

In some instances, a defendant can assert an affirmative defense to a criminal charge that will allow the defendant to avoid a conviction. For example, a defendant charged with assault may be able to argue that he or she was acting in self-defense, and therefore had a valid reason for committing the acts out of which the charge arose. Recently, a New Jersey appellate court discussed when a defendant is entitled to a jury instruction on self-defense in a case in which the defendant appealed his assault conviction. If you are accused of committing assault, it is prudent to speak with a knowledgeable New Jersey criminal defense attorney regarding whether you may be able to set forth affirmative defenses to protect your interests.

Facts Regarding the Alleged Assault

Allegedly, the defendant and three other individuals engaged in a physical altercation in March 2016. Specifically, the defendant, a man, went to the home of the first woman, along with the second woman. When they arrived, the second woman asked the first woman if she was involved in a sexual relationship with the defendant, and the two women began to fight, after which a man who was in the first woman’s house became involved in the altercation. The defendant then advised the man not to touch the second woman, punched the man, and struck the man with a hammer.

Reportedly, the defendant was charged with aggravated assault, assault with a deadly weapon, and weapons charges. Following a jury trial, the defendant was convicted of simple assault and unlawful possession of a weapon and sentenced to two years’ probation. He then appealed on multiple grounds, including the assertion that the trial court erred in refusing to instruct the jury regarding self-defense.

Continue Reading ›

I never get over individuals who snap and decide to use their car as a weapon.  This is precisely what was reported by the Home News recently about a Plainfield man.  The assailant swerved into his girlfriend’s vehicle on Route 22, sending the car into a spin.  A police officer happened to be in the area and witnessed the incident.  The rogue driver has been charged with Aggravated Assault and Reckless Driving.

N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1(b), the Aggravated Assault Statute, defines this offense to include attempting to cause serious bodily injury…under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life. A second degree aggravated assault carries up to ten years in jail. There is also a charge of Reckless Driving under N.J.S.A. 39:4-96.  Although this charge is clearly secondary, a conviction can nevertheless give rise to license suspension and up to six months in jail.

The accused in this case is going to have a difficult time defending this matter by virtue of numerous factors including his poor luck; the arresting officer apparently witnessed the entire encounter.  The focus will undoubtedly have to be on the nature of the intended injuries, his state of mind, and other potential avenues to establish that this is a third degree aggravated assault as opposed to a second degree.  Provided the accused has no prior criminal record, a third degree conviction and/or plea should allow him to avoid jail time.

A Lakewood New Jersey man has been charged with knowingly leaving the scene of a fatal accident. The charge stems from a Jackson car accident that resulted in the death of a motorist struck by the defendant. Bail has been set at $150,000.

In accordance with N.J.S.A. 2C:11-5.1, an individual is guilty of a second degree crime where he knowingly leaves the scene of a fatal accident. In order to determine whether such a violation has occurred, one must look to N.J.S.A. 39:4-129 which proscribes the circumstances in which someone is guilty of “leaving the scene”.  In other words, the Title 39 motor vehicle statute defines what is necessary to be found guilty of leaving the scene and, when it results in a fatality, N.J.S.A. 2C:11-5.1 essentially sets forth the grading of the offense. This charge is generically referred to as a fatal hit and run.

The offense of knowingly leaving the scene of a fatal accident was a third degree offense up until recently. The law was amended to make this charge a Second Degree. What this means is that anyone charged under N.J.S.A. 2C:11-5.1 is now exposed to 5 to 10 years of prison, whereas  previously jail exposure was limited to 0 to 5 years. The enhancement also created a presumption of incarceration.  What this all means is that jail is highly likely for an individual like the suspect in this case in the event that they are convicted.

I have posted many times on the subject of Assault by Auto in DWI cases. Many individuals may think that these types of charges only effect “problem” individuals. This interpretation could not be more off base and, if you read the StarLedger recently, you would have witnessed this first hand. In this regard, a 55 year old woman from Westfield, who never had any problems with the law previously, struck a pedestrian in the parking lot of Lord & Taylor. It later turned out that this driver was driving while intoxicated.

The suspect in this case was originally issued several motor vehicle summonses. Further investigation apparently substantiated probable cause to issue indictable felony charges. As a result, the motorist was arrested this week on a charge of Aggravated Assault. This offense can be very serious and even includes a grade of Second Degree where injuries are serious enough. I would suspect that this charge is Third Degree based on the facts and the bail amount of $20,000, which is in the range of a Third Degree Aggravated Assault. The defendant is definitely in need of a solid Union County Aggravated Assault Attorney as incarceration could be a possibility depending on the seriousness of the injuries involved, the position of the victim on sentencing, and other factors. My real point is that someone from an affluent community, who is otherwise law abiding, can also be the subject of an Aggravated Assault. The poor judgment in getting into her car drunk could lead to severe penalties for this middle aged suspect.

A person is guilty of Aggravated Assault if he:

  1. 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
  2. Attempts to cause or purposely or knowingly causes bodily injury to another with a deadly weapon; or

The Star Ledger published a brief article Thursday regarding a Simple Assault committed by a Roselle High School student.  The incident offers an interesting example as to how a NJ Simple Assault Charge can be transformed into a much more serious offense of Aggravated Assault when the victim involves a member of a protected class of individuals.  A protected class not only includes police officers and other law enforcement, but other members of the public who the law deems necessary to protect for public policy reasons.  Let me explain this dynamic.

A simple assault is basically any form of unwanted or offensive “touching” of another which causes some element of bodily injury.  This can include momentary pain or discomfort, and need not be lasting or leave residual injury.  A simple assault is transformed under N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1(b) into an aggravated assault when one of the following is the victim: (1) a police officer; (2) fireman or first aid work acting in the course of their duties; (3) teachers, school officials and bus drivers; (4) DYFS workers; and (5) a judge. The escalation of a simple assault to an aggravated assault offense is significant as it triggers an indictable felony charge of the Fourth Degree or even Third Degree.  An individual is exposed to not only a lasting criminal record when this occurs but also up to 18 months in jail for a Fourth Degree conviction, and up to 5 years in jail for a Third Degree.

Our NJ Aggravated Assault Defense Attorneys do their very best to make sure that simple assaults like the one in Roselle never make it to a Superior Court like Union County Superior Court.  If there is no real injury and the defendant does not have a history of this type of behavior, we are typically successful in persuading the prosecutor to remand the case as a NJ Simple Assault charge. We will have to see if the Union County Prosecutor picks up this case as an Aggravated Assault.

Contact Information