Third Degree Assault by Auto for DWI
A DWI offense alone is serious enough in New Jersey, but when you combine a DWI with a car accident that results in injuries (which can include injuring yourself) you can be charged with a crime known as assault by auto. The charge of assault by auto for a DUI is typically a third-degree crime which can carry a state prison sentence of 3 – 5 years. Under the New Jersey law, the prosecutor is required to prove that the accident resulted in “serious bodily injury.” However, this can misleading because the law has a broad interpretation of what “serious” injury means and it is not unheard of to see a defendant get indicted for what most would consider a fairly minor injury such as stitches to a pinky finger. To make matters worse, the County Prosecutor’s Office has a directive to routinely reject defendants charged with assault by auto from admission in Pre-Trial Intervention (“PTI”), which is a program normally reserved for first time offenders charged with a third or fourth-degree crime that can result in a dismissal of the charges upon successful completion. Needless to say, these charges are very serious and it is important to have the representation of an experienced and proven New Jersey DWI attorney with an extensive knowledge in criminal defense. With nine office locations throughout the state, our lawyers defend clients throughout New Jersey for assault by auto and related charges of DUI & DWI.
DWI Assault by Auto Can Be Upgraded to Second-Degree Crime
A typical third-degree assault by auto involving a DWI or DUI can sometimes be enhanced to a second-degree crime when the accident and injury involves a DWI in a school zone. The significance of this upgrade has a huge impact because a second-degree assault by auto carries 5 – 10 years in state prison. Perhaps most importantly though is the fact that if you are convicted of a second-degree crime, it is presumed under the law that you will be sentenced to incarceration even if you have never been in trouble in your entire life. To avoid a second-degree assault by auto conviction or plea, often times you will have to challenge the prosecutor’s allegation that the defendant was actually within a “school zone” within the meaning of the statute or whether they can prove that the defendant was actually operating the vehicle while intoxicated or under the influence of drugs. This requires an attorney with an extensive knowledge on the inner-workings and caveats of New Jersey DWI law and criminal defense. To learn more about how our lawyers may be able to help you or your loved one, contact our office today for a free consultation.
Resources for DWI Assault by Auto