New Jersey Assault by Auto Charges
The law in NJ contains a specific provision which addresses assaults involving automobiles. An assault by auto case can come in the form of a disorderly persons offense, fourth-degree crime, third-degree crime or even a second-degree crime. This can be a very serious offense with significant jail exposure and requires the involvement of an attorney experienced in both traffic law and criminal defense. Our firm, the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall, possesses this knowledge and expertise and even includes a former prosecutor in New Jersey. One of our lawyers is available to assist you 24/7 and would be happy to answer your questions and concerns.
Assault by Auto Law
In order for an individual to be found guilty of assault by auto in NJ, he or she must: (1) be the operator of a car or other motor vehicle; (2) engage in reckless conduct; (3) cause an accident; and (4) cause injury to another as a result of this conduct. Reckless conduct involves actions manifesting extreme indifference to the welfare of others and can be established through, for example, speeding under N.J.S.A. 39:4-97 or reckless driving under N.J.S.A. 39:4-96. Recklessness is conclusively established for purposes of assault by auto where an accused is convicted of drunk driving under N.J.S.A. 39: 4-50 or refusal to submit to a breath test under N.J.S.A. 39:4-50.4. It is therefore very important that a lawyer be skilled in NJ DWI when handling an alcohol related assault by auto case.
Disorderly Persons Offense
Assault by auto is a disorderly persons offense under N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1(c)(1) where the reckless conduct results in “bodily injury.” If an individual consciously disregards the risk of injury to others and this results in some form of injury to another, then he can be convicted of a disorderly persons of assault by auto offense. Bodily injury is essentially established if a person suffers any form of injury even a contusion or cut. A disorderly persons offense involves up to six (6) months in jail, fines, penalties and probation.
If an individual operates an automobile recklessly and it results in “serious bodily injury” then he can be convicted of fourth-degree assault by auto. The distinction between a fourth-degree crime and disorderly persons prosecution hinges on the extent of the injury resulting to others; if the injury is “serious” then it is a fourth-degree charge whereas the case involves a disorderly persons offense where the situation is limited to simple bodily injury. Where an individual is convicted of fourth-degree assault by auto, he is exposed to up to eighteen (18) months of jail.
Assault by auto is a third-degree criminal offense where “serious bodily injury” results from a DWI-related accident. In other words, if an individual is involved in a DWI-related accident which results in serious injury to another, he can be convicted of third-degree assault by auto. A third-degree offense involves jail of five (5) to ten (10).
A third-degree assault by auto is enhanced to a second-degree offense when it is committed in a school zone. Second-degree assault by auto involves ten (10) to twenty (20) years of jail exposure.
If you or a loved one has been charged with assault by auto, the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall is here to assist you. Every lawyer at our firm has years of experience defending criminal and traffic cases. An attorney from our firm would be happy to address your concerns and discuss how we can protect you. Our lawyers are just a telephone call away at 1-877-450-8301.