When a physical encounter results in serious injury or involves a protected victim such as a police officer, the situation can result in an aggravated assault charge. If you were arrested for aggravated assault in Paterson or elsewhere in Passaic County, you are facing a serious criminal charge and could lose your liberty if convicted. Don’t wait. Contact an experienced Paterson criminal defense lawyer to protect your legal rights.
The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall consists of a team of experienced criminal defense lawyers with a track record of success in representing clients arrested for aggravated assault in Passaic County. A conviction of aggravated assault carries harsh penalties in New Jersey, so it is crucial to have a seasoned Paterson criminal attorney defending you against the aggravated assault charges.
If you’re facing charges, the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall offer the following credentials as reasons to contact our criminal defense firm first:
- Ten attorneys with more than 200 years of combined experience who focus exclusively on criminal defense and protecting the rights of those accused of criminal offenses such as aggravated assault
- Certified criminal trial attorneys designated by the Supreme Court of New Jersey to recognize a specialized knowledge of an area of law
- Defense attorneys who have worked previously as prosecutors and public defenders and headed up a Major Crimes Bureau, Special Operations, Domestic Violence Unit, Guns Task Force, and even an entire Trial Division. Now they use that insider knowledge of how the system works to serve clients.
- Defense attorneys who are reputable and respected in Passaic County courts and have established working relationships that allow our proposals to receive reasonable consideration when negotiating plea agreements and reductions in charges
- An accomplished record that includes numerous criminal trials ending in dismissals
- Availability 24/7 to respond to your legal needs.
Every criminal case has its own set of factors to consider. But our attorneys are frequently successful in having criminal charges downgraded, dismissed and/or resolved via Pretrial Intervention. Almost all of these outcomes allow our clients to avoid a felony conviction.
We are certified criminal trial attorneys who have secured dismissals of charges for our accused clients. If you would like the opportunity to speak to an attorney on our team immediately, call us today at (877) 450-8301. We are available 24/7 to help you, and initial consultations are always free and confidential.
What Are the Penalties for Aggravated Assault in NJ?
Aggravated assault is an indictable criminal offense that can be a second-degree, third-degree, or fourth-degree charge in New Jersey depending on the circumstances of the alleged assault. It’s a serious charge. The degree of force involved, the extent of the injuries to the alleged victim, and whether or not a weapon was involved will be factors in determining whether the offense is a second degree, third degree, or fourth degree.
A conviction of aggravated assault can result in a possible jail term of eighteen (18) months for a fourth degree, five (5) years for a third degree, and ten (10) years in prison for a second degree. The maximum fine, if convicted, ranges from $10,000 to $150,000. All aggravated assault charges are handled at the Passaic County Superior Court in Paterson, NJ, unless they are remanded as a downgraded charge.
For additional information, please contact the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall for immediate assistance at (877) 450-8301. In Passaic County, we have law offices in Wayne, Clifton and Paterson.
Aggravated Assault Charges in Paterson, NJ: N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1(b)
The aggravated assault law in New Jersey is complicated. A criminal charge for aggravated assault in New Jersey is governed by N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1(b).
A person may be found guilty of aggravated assault if he or she commits any of the following acts:
- 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
- Attempts to cause or purposely or knowingly causes bodily injury to another with a deadly weapon; or
- Recklessly causes bodily injury to another with a deadly weapon; or
- Knowingly under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life points a firearm, at or in the direction of another, whether or not the actor believes it to be loaded; or
- Commits a simple assault as defined in subsection a. (1), (2) or (3) of this section upon:
- Any law enforcement officer acting in the performance of his duties…; or
- Any paid or volunteer fireman acting in the performance of his duties…; or
- Any person engaged in emergency first-aid or medical services acting in the performance of his duties…; or
- Any school board member, school administrator, teacher, school bus driver or other employee…; or
- Any employee of the Division of Youth and Family Services…; or
- Any justice of the Supreme Court, judge of the Superior Court, judge of the Tax Court or municipal judge
- Causes bodily injury to another person while fleeing or attempting to elude a law enforcement officer or while operating a motor vehicle in violation of subsection c. of N.J.S.2C:20-10; or
- 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
- Causes bodily injury by knowingly or purposely starting a fire or causing an explosion in violation of N.J.S.2C:17-1…; or
- 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
- Knowingly points, displays or uses an imitation firearm 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.
Defenses for Aggravated Assault
There are several defenses in an aggravated assault case. Two of the most common defenses used to beat an aggravated assault charge are acting in self-dense and mistake of fact.
Self-defense: New Jersey’s Self-Defense Law allows you to use a reasonable amount of force if you believe you are in imminent danger from another. Self-defense is also a valid defense when an intruder breaks into your home, and you use force that would otherwise be considered aggravated assault. It is also legal to defend another person against an intruder in situations where that person would have been justified in using self-defense.
With this defense, your attorney only needs to show that you believed you needed to use force in the situation, even if the force was later found to be unjustified. You must have warned the person you assaulted to stop interfering with your property. Deadly force can only be used if you reasonably believed that the intruder was going to use deadly force against you.
Mistake of fact: With this defense, there is no dispute that an assault occurred. However, it must be proven that you didn’t intend to injure someone and were unaware of the injury your actions would cause.
For instance, if you kicked someone on the leg after they had threatened you, but you did not know the person had an old sports injury that would become aggravated, this would be a mistake of fact and could possibly serve as a defense.
First Aggravated Assault Offense
The punishment you face for a first-time aggravated assault offense in New Jersey depends on the degree of the charges. In general, second degree carries five to ten years in jail with a presumption of incarceration even for first-time offenders. A conviction of a third-degree aggravated assault charge will likely mean three to five years in prison, and for fourth-degree.
An aggravated assault should not be taken lightly. You could lose your freedom if you don’t have experienced legal defense. If you are facing your first aggravated assault charge, you need to schedule a consultation with an experienced New Jersey criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible.
Juvenile Aggravated Assault Charges
If you are facing juvenile delinquency charges for aggravated assault in New Jersey, you are subject to the rules and procedures of the New Jersey Juvenile Justice system. Your case will likely be heard in the Family Division of Passaic County Superior Court. The law requires that juveniles have a lawyer during juvenile proceedings. A juvenile assault charge attorney who is skilled and experienced in juvenile defense will give you the best chance for a favorable outcome.
It’s important to note that in juvenile court, you are not entitled to a trial by jury. A Juvenile Court judge will decide your case. A juvenile who is found guilty of aggravated assault is “adjudicated delinquent” instead of “convicted.”
During sentencing, the judge is bound by the legal standard of the best interests of the juvenile. The judge will consider the nature and circumstances of your offense, your prior criminal record, your age, and other factors before imposing a sentence. Alternative sentences are common in juvenile court. You may be granted probation, community service, mental health counseling, or restitution payments.
Frequently Asked Questions
At the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall, we get many questions about aggravated assault charges. Listed below are answers to a few of the most commonly asked questions. If you have any questions about your specific aggravated assault case, please contact the knowledgeable Passaic County criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall by calling (877) 450-8301.
Is aggravated assault an indictable offense in NJ?
Unlike simple assault, aggravated assault is an indictable offense. Simple assault cases are typically handled within the municipal court system. Aggravated assault charges are handled by the Superior Court in the county where the crime was allegedly committed.
Under New Jersey’s criminal code, a person can be charged with aggravated assault in the second, third, or fourth degree. A person convicted of aggravated assault in the third degree may be sentenced to prison for three to five years. A conviction of aggravated assault in the second degree carries a longer sentence.
Can aggravated assault be reduced?
In many cases, a New Jersey criminal defense lawyer may be able to negotiate with prosecutors to reduce a charge of aggravated assault to simple assault.
What factors can increase a simple assault to an aggravated assault charge?
The most critical factor is the severity of the victim’s injury and whether or not a weapon was used. Under the New Jersey statute for aggravated assault, the most important factor is the degree of the injury. Even if an individual did not intend to hurt the other person, if the accidental results cause physical harm, it will be considered aggravated assault.
The New Jersey statute on aggravated assault uses the following terms frequently:
Serious bodily injury: Injury that creates a risk of death or causes serious harm to an individual’s bodily function.
Significant bodily injury: Injury that leads to bodily injury, which creates a short-term loss of function of any body part or of the five senses.
Bodily Injury: Physical pain, sickness, or any harm to an individual’s physical condition.
You may be charged with aggravated assault if the prosecution can prove any of the following:
- Reckless cause of bodily injury to someone with a deadly weapon
- Attempt to cause or purposefully or knowingly cause bodily injury to another person with a deadly weapon,
- Attempt to cause serious bodily injury to someone or cause such an injury purposely, knowingly, or under a negligent, or reckless situation, or
- Recklessly pointing a firearm at another individual.
Contact a Paterson Aggravated Assault Defense Attorney
Have you or a loved one been charged with aggravated assault in Passaic County? If so, you need experienced legal counsel guiding you through the criminal justice system. It is critical to exercise your right to consult a criminal defense attorney. A reputable and aggressive criminal defense lawyer can fight your charges and help you achieve a more favorable outcome.
Choosing a qualified New Jersey criminal defense lawyer may be the most important decision you ever make. The Passaic County criminal defense lawyers at the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall understand the seriousness of aggravated assault charges. Our attorneys know the implications a conviction can have for your future.
We have been defending people accused of assault in Passaic County for decades. No matter the level of the charge you are facing, the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall will put together a strategic criminal defense plan with the goal of getting the charges dismissed or reduced and minimizing the impact on your life. Call us today at (877) 450-8301 to schedule a free and confidential consultation.