Aggravated assault in New Jersey is considered an indictable crime. It is a second, third or fourth degree felony, but that depends on the facts and circumstances of the case. Depending on the degree of aggravated assault, this charge carries a state prison term of 18 months to 10 years if convicted.

New Jersey Aggravated Assault Defense Lawyer

Aggravated assault in New Jersey typically refers to assault cases in which weapons are used, or relatively serious bodily injury occurs. This charge also happens when someone is accused of assault on a police officer. 

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Aggravated Assault Charges in NJ

This is clearly considered to be a “violent crime,” and should be handled carefully. If you or a loved one has been charged with aggravated assault in NJ, you may be wondering what the consequences of an aggravated assault charge are and what specifically you may be facing. Since aggravated assault is an indictable crime, it exposes you to more severe legal consequences than simple assault. Our criminal defense law firm has a series of defense strategies that we use in assault cases, and will certainly apply to an aggravated assault charge. If you have been arrested for aggravated assault in New Jersey, it is vital that you seek knowledgeable legal counsel as soon as possible. For additional information about these charges, please feel free to access the information on this page and give our criminal defense lawyers a call any time for a free consultation: (201) 556-1570.

What is Aggravated Assault?

Causing serious physical injury to another person is illegal in New Jersey. The law defines this type of offense as “assault.” In severe cases, involving deadly weapons, causing harm to certain types of public officers, serious injuries, and other aggravated circumstances, you can be charged with aggravated assault, an even more serious charge than the lower-level simple assault. Aggravated assault is a felony (indictable) charge in New Jersey that must be handled in the Superior Court in the county in which you are charged.

What are the penalties for aggravated assault in New Jersey?

This requires you to understand the various degrees of aggravated assault charges and the corresponding penalties for each degree. You may also want to know what specific conduct leads to a second degree aggravated assault versus a fourth degree charge for aggravated assault and why it matters. Aggravated assault can be a second, third, or fourth degree felony offense, depending on the extent of the injuries to the alleged victim and whether or not a weapon was involved.

Second Degree Aggravated Assault

On a second degree aggravated assault charge, the defendant is facing five (5) to ten (10) years in prison with a presumption of incarceration even if the defendant has no prior criminal history. You can also face fines of up to $150,000 in addition to other serious penalties. You may lose your right to own weapons, be subject to parole, and be under court-ordered monitoring. You must also serve 85% of your prison sentence under the No Early Release Act. The penalties for a second degree aggravated assault charge are among the most severe in the state.

You can be charged with a second degree aggravated assault offense if you cause injury to another person under certain sets of severe circumstances. These circumstances include causing or attempting to cause serious bodily injury, either purposely or knowingly, in a situation where you showed an extreme indifference to the value of human life. Serious bodily injury means injury causing the loss of function of certain bodily functions, the loss of a limb, a substantial risk of death, and other types of sustained and severe injuries.

You can also be charged with a second degree crime if you caused bodily injury to another person while you were trying to evade arrest, fleeing a law enforcement officer, or driving a car with the car owner’s consent. Additionally, you can be charged with second degree aggravated assault if you cause serious bodily injury by purposely or knowingly starting a fire or causing an explosion resulting in injury to first responders. These are just a few examples of second degree aggravated assault.

Third Degree Aggravated Assault

On a third degree aggravated assault charge, the defendant is facing three (3) to five (5) years in prison but there is a presumption of non-incarceration for first time offenders. This means that, if you have no prior record and are convicted of a third degree aggravated assault charge, you are presumed to be sentenced to probation rather than jail. In addition, aggravated assault is a violent offense which falls under the No Early Release Act. This means that, if you are convicted of either a second or third degree aggravated assault charge, you must serve 85% of your prison sentence before becoming eligible for parole.

You can be charged with this offense if you purposely or knowingly caused or attempted to cause bodily injury to another person with a deadly weapon. You can also be charged with third degree aggravated assault if you caused significant injury, under circumstances showing extreme indifference to the value of human life. It can also be a third degree crime to knowingly point or display a firearm or near or in the direction of a police officer.

Pointing or displaying an imitation firearm or even a laser-pointer in an attempt to threaten a law enforcement officer also qualifies. Certain domestic violence situations can also result in third degree aggravated assault charges as well. Lastly, you may be charged with third degree aggravated assault for committing assault that results in bodily injury to certain types of government officials and other workers, including police and corrections officers, firemen, EMTs, teachers, bus drivers, judges, utility or cable company works, and healthcare workers.

Is third degree aggravated assault a felony in New Jersey?

Yes. Any degree of aggravated assault (second, third or fourth degree) is a felony (indictable) charge in New Jersey. Simple assault, on the other hand, is a misdemeanor (disorderly persons offense).

Fourth Degree Aggravated Assault

A 4th degree aggravated assault charge is the lowest level of this type of offense. This means that you are facing less severe penalties than the other two levels of aggravated assault. Nevertheless, a 4th degree crime carries up to 18 months in NJ state prison and a maximum fine of $10,000.

In some cases, depending on the circumstances of the charge and if you have any prior record, you may be eligible to apply for a first offender program known as Pre-Trial Intervention (“PTI”). This diversionary program can only be used once in your life and is for individuals with no prior criminal history. If you apply and are accepted into the PTI program, you will avoid any jail time and you will avoid an aggravated assault felony charge on your permanent record. Once you successfully complete the probationary period, the case is dismissed. Then, you can apply to expunge the arrest from your record after 6 months to have the entire charge and arrest removed from your background.

You can face fourth degree charges for recklessly causing bodily injury with a firearm or other deadly weapon, for knowingly pointing a firearm at or in the direction of someone else under circumstances showing extreme difference for the value of human life, assaulting an elderly person if you work at a care facility, or committing assault at school or youth sports events around children under 16 years of age, among other potential circumstances.

Aggravated Assault as Grounds for a Restraining Order

Aggravated Assault also falls under the category of “predicate acts of domestic violence,” which means this charge can be used as grounds for a restraining order if the assault occurs in the context of domestic violence. In other words, if someone you are dating, married to, share a child with, related to, or living with accuses you of aggravated assault, he or she can file for a temporary restraining order (TRO). Once a TRO has been issued, you will be required to appear in the Superior Court, Family Division for a final restraining order hearing. This court proceeding will either result in a permanent restraining order against you or not. An FRO will prohibit you from having any contact whatsoever with the alleged victim and does not expire. The consequences of having a restraining order against you will come in addition to the criminal penalties for aggravated assault explained above.

Aggravated Assault while Fleeing or Attempting to Elude a Police Officer

Under N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1(b)(6), a person is guilty of aggravated assault if he or she causes bodily injury to another person while fleeing or attempting to elude a law enforcement officer. Bodily injury is defined as physical pain, illness, or any impairment of physical condition.

Contact an NJ Aggravated Assault Lawyer to Discuss Your Best Defense

It is in your best interests to consult a lawyer immediately if you are charged with aggravated assault. At the Tormey Law Firm, we have handled many aggravated assault cases over the years. Our criminal trial team is composed of former prosecutors and experienced New Jersey criminal defense lawyers. This means that, some of our attorneys used to prosecute aggravated assault cases for the State of NJ. Now, let them use their knowledge and experience to draft a comprehensive defense strategy to fight your aggravated assault charges. We have years of experience defending clients charged with aggravated assault in New Jersey, so get your free consultation today. Contact our offices now for immediate assistance at 201-556-1570. The initial consultation is always provided free of charge. Our accomplished team of criminal defense attorneys can answer about your specific case and discuss your possible options.

Assault Defense Strategies

Our criminal defense attorneys at The Tormey Law Firm are experienced with aggravated assault cases and we know how to examine the facts of the alleged crime, including your arrest and investigation by law enforcement or jail officials. We often find holes in the prosecutor’s case. We may be able to raise a number of defenses to obtain a great resolution of your case. We are also skilled at negotiating with prosecutors and can often convince them to reduce an aggravated assault charge to simple assault or even dismiss the charges against you entirely if there are flaws in the prosecutor’s case.

Some of the Strategies on How To Beat Assault Charges Are Listed Below:

Here are a few other methods that can be used to beat your case: Top 5 Ways To Beat A Criminal Charge

Other Assault Information that You may Find Useful 


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With unmatched knowledge and experience in the practice of law, the seasoned attorneys at The Tormey Law Firm are committed to serving their clients and tenaciously confronting the allegations against them.

We will examine every facet of your case in order to defend your constitutional rights and reputation. With a dedicated legal advocate to assist you, our attorneys will ensure that you are never forced to navigate the complex legal process on your own.

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Learn More About How to Fight Your Charges

If you've been charged with a criminal offense, disorderly persons offense, or traffic / DWI violation, you have the right to an attorney who will defend you against your charges and fight for your best interests. To learn more about how your attorney can fight to have your charges dismissed or reduced, click a link below to see our video library of legal defenses and strategies.

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