Under New Jersey law, a specific subcategory of assault laws applies when a vehicle is involved in an act constituting an assault offense. This subcategory is known as Assault by Auto. New Jersey law views Assault by Auto to be a very serious offense, and charges for this offense are usually classified as felony offenses. A conviction for Assault by Auto can result in serious and life-altering legal ramifications and often significant jail sentences are at stake. If you are facing Assault by Auto charges, the facts of your case will be considered by the judge in reaching a decision as to what penalties you will ultimately be subjected to, but you can help stack the deck in your favor by working with the right defense attorney. At the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall, our powerful defense team is ready to put our more than 100 years of experience to work for you in order to help you reach the most favorable outcome possible. We have successfully represented many clients against Assault by Auto charges in Atlantic City, Galloway Township, Brigantine, Hamilton Township, Egg Harbor Township, and throughout Atlantic County. We are available any time of the day or night for a free consultation to review your case and help you navigate the potentially confusing legal landscape of your Assault by Auto charges. Because of these high stakes involved in an Assault by Auto case and the complexity of crafting a successful legal defense for these charges, it is crucial that you work with a skilled and knowledgeable attorney if you are facing this type of criminal charge. At the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall, many attorneys on our team have also worked as prosecutors in more than 25 New Jersey municipalities. With this valuable experience on our side, we are prepared to put our insider knowledge of the legal system to work on your behalf. We are regularly able to achieve excellent results for our clients, often successfully reducing charges or even getting matters completely dismissed.
New Jersey Assault by Auto Law
In order to convict a defendant of Assault by Auto, the prosecutor must prove that the defendant (1) was operating an automobile; (2) acted recklessly; (3) caused an accident; and (4) caused injury to another as a result of the reckless conduct. Reckless conduct is defined as behavior that exhibits extreme indifference to the wellbeing of another person. Issues such as speeding, reckless driving, or driving under the influence can be interpreted as reckless conduct for the purpose of the prosecutor successfully proving his or her case.
Grading of the Offense
Assault by Auto charges can be classified under the following categories in New Jersey:
Disorderly Persons Offenses include any assault by auto charge for an offense that results in “bodily injury”, which includes any form of injury, even minor cuts or contusions.
Fourth Degree offenses include any assault by auto charge where “serious bodily injury” results from the defendant’s reckless actions.
Third Degree offenses include any assault by auto charge where “serious bodily injury” results from an accident related to a defendant’s driving while intoxicated. This escalation of the grading of the offense solely based on the involvement of intoxication exemplifies how seriously New Jersey treats issues relating to driving while intoxicated.
Second Degree offenses arise when an otherwise third-degree assault by auto offense takes place in a school zone. Similar to the escalation of an offense to a third-degree crime solely based on the involvement of DWI, this escalation of grading shows how seriously New Jersey takes protection of school zones.
New Jersey Assault by Auto Penalties
Harsh potential penalties apply to defendants who are convicted of, or plead guilty to, assault by auto offenses in New Jersey. For a disorderly persons offense, penalties include probation, jail time of up to 6 months, and fines of up to $1,000. Fourth Degree offenses can result in consequences including up to 18 months of jail time, probation, and fines of up to $10,000. Potential legal ramifications for a third-degree assault by auto offense include fines of up to $15,000 and jail time of up to 5 years. Second-degree offense penalties include a staggering 5-10 years of jail time and a fine of up to $150,000.
Contact Us Today for a Free Consultation
Since assault by auto is one specific type of aggravated assault charge, but also often involves factors relating to a DWI charge or issue, it is important to work with an attorney who thoroughly understands the legal landscape of both of these issues in New Jersey. Our defense team’s experience exceeds 100 years of fine-tuning our legal knowledge and skill, with significant experience handling these types of legal issues in particular. If you are facing charges arising from an assault by auto allegation, please call us today for a free consultation. Our skilled and knowledgeable attorneys are well prepared to help you better understand your case and to assist you in pursuing the best possible outcome. Call us at 1-877-450-8301 or e-mail our office to arrange a free consultation for your Atlantic County assault by auto case today.