New Jersey Criminal Defense Lawyer
Aggravated Assault Charges
If you have been charged or indicted on a charge of aggravated assault, the criminal defense lawyers at the Law Offices of John F. Marshall are available for your assistance. Our criminal defense law firm is comprised of experienced criminal attorneys, including a former New Jersey prosecutor, who are prepared to defend you throughout all phases of an aggravated assault complaint and resulting NJ Aggravated Assault Indictment. We handle aggravated assault complaints and indictments statewide, including those filed in Monmouth County, Middlesex County, Union County, Ocean County, Essex County, Somerset County, and Hudson County.
New Jersey Aggravated Assault Law
There are a variety of factual scenarios in which a complaint and indictment for aggravated assault can arise in NJ. The aggravated assault statute, N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1(b) provides, in pertinent part:
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
(3) Recklessly causes bodily injury to another with a deadly weapon; or
(4) 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
(5) Commits a simple assault as defined in subsection a. (1), (2) or (3) of this section upon:
(a) Any law enforcement officer acting in the performance of his duties...; or
(b) Any paid or volunteer fireman acting in the performance of his duties...; or
(c) Any person engaged in emergency first-aid or medical services acting in the performance of his duties...; or
(d) Any school board member, school administrator, teacher, school bus driver or other employee...; or
(e) Any employee of the Division of Youth and Family Services...; or
(f) Any justice of the Supreme Court, judge of the Superior Court, judge of the Tax Court or municipal judge...
(6) Causes bodily injury to another person while fleeing or attempting to elude a law enforcement 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
(7) 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
(8) Causes bodily injury by knowingly or purposely starting a fire or causing an explosion in violation of N.J.S.2C:17-1...; or
(9) 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
(10) 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.
Penalties for Aggravated Assault in New Jersey
As with other criminal offenses under New Jersey's Criminal Code, the penalties for commission of an aggravated assault hinge on the Degree of Offense involved. The Degrees of Offenses committed under N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1(b) are as follows:
- A violation of subsections (1) or (6) is a Second Degree Offense;
- A violation of subsections (2), (7), or (9) is a Third Degree Offense;
- A violation of subsections (3) or (4) is a Fourth Degree Offense;
- A violation of subsection (5) is a Third Degree Offense if the Victim Suffers Bodily Injury, otherwise, it is a Fourth Degree Offense;
- A violation of subsection (8) is a Third Degree Offense unless the victim suffers "significant bodily injury" or "serious bodily injury" and then it is a Second Degree Offense. N.J.S.A. 2C:11-1(b) and (d) define serious bodily injury as one which involves "a substantial risk of death or which causes serious, permanent disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ", and significant bodily injury as "bodily injury which creates a temporary loss of the function of any bodily member or organ or temporary loss of any one of the five senses."
In addition to those sentences which would apply based on the Degree of Offense involved, the No Early Release Act ("NERA") embodied at N.J.S.A. 2C:43-7.2 may be applied and/or invoked when the assault is "violent" such that an eight-five percent (85%) parole ineligibility would apply to any sentence imposed.
An Illegal or Unlawful Arrest is No Defense to Aggravated Assault
Our office frequently consults with individuals and clients who are perplexed when they have been charged with aggravated assault stemming from an illegal or unlawful arrest by a police officer. The universal question in this instance is "how can I be prosecuted for defending myself from a police officer who had no legal basis to arrest me?" The plain and simple answer is that there is absolutely no right to resist or fight off an illegal or unlawful arrest. The law and public policy of the state is that physical confrontations with police should be discouraged and so too the potential for escalation of a physical encounter with police and, as such, the mechanism for dealing with an unlawful arrest is our legal system and not a physical battle with police.
Consensual Fighting and/or Self-Defense are Viable Defenses
Our defense attorneys make sure that all legitimate defenses are asserted whenever a client is charged with aggravated assault. Two of the more common defenses to an aggravated assault charge are that the physical encounter was a consensual fight and/or that the client was acting in self-defense. Both defenses are fertile, however, they do not provide a basis for infliction of bodily injury when an individual is defenseless. An individual cannot continue to inflict punishment when an individual is already in a state of submission as the consensual nature of the encounter and/or the need for self-defense no longer exists. Bodily injury inflicted beyond this point is construed as being for the purpose of causing bodily injury and harm, i.e., an aggravated assault.
If you are in need of a criminal defense lawyer to represent you on an aggravated assault charge, please do not hesitate to contact the Law Offices of John F. Marshall. Our law firm is accessible throughout NJ including Monmouth County, Middlesex County, Union County, Somerset County, Ocean County, Essex County, Ocean County, Mercer County, Hudson County, and Morris County. Initial consultations with our New Jersey defense attorneys are free of charge.