Defining Aggravated Assault
Aggravated assault can be charged if:
- The assault was against an officer, security guard, fireman, or any public official including judges, teachers, certain employees, etc.
- The assault was against a family member
- There was serious bodily injury to the victim
- A deadly weapon was used in the assault
- You threaten someone with a gun or point it at someone
- The assault occurred while eluding or attempting to elude an officer or while resisting arrest
Determining Degree of the Assault
Aggravated assault may be charged as a 2nd-degree offense, a 3rd-degree offense, or as a 4th-degree offense. How you are charged depends upon many things, including:
- The unique circumstances of your crime
- Where the assault took place
- If the assaulted person was a minor or on school property
- If there was bodily injury and if the injury was severe
- If you have a prior history of convictions, or, if other charges are being brought against you at the same time
- The skill and experience of your defense attorney
Second-Degree Aggravated Assault Penalties
- Fines and court costs
- Jail time
- Loss of the right to own or possess a firearm or weapon
- Mandatory anger management classes
- Probation and electronic monitoring
- Restitution to the victim
Suppose the defendant is found guilty of inflicting serious bodily injury. In that case, the assault is a second-degree aggravated assault crime subject to 5 to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $150,000.
Also, if the assault occurred while eluding an officer, you can be charged with 2nd degree aggravated assault.
A second-degree aggravated assault conviction invokes a No Early Release (NERA) provision that requires that 85% of the prison sentence must be served before an individual is eligible for parole.
Third-Degree Aggravated Assault Penalties
If a defendant is convicted of third-degree aggravated assault, they can be sentenced to 3-5 years in prison and be fined up to $15,000.
Fourth-Degree Aggravated Assault Penalties
If a defendant is convicted of fourth-degree aggravated assault, they can be sentenced to up to 18 months in prison and fined up to $10,000.
Assault with a Deadly Weapon
Assault with a deadly weapon is a type of aggravated assault in New Jersey. It occurs when someone acts intentionally with a deadly weapon and causes apprehension or fear in another of personal injury.
A “deadly weapon” is any weapon capable of killing or causing death. Firearms and blades clearly fall into this category, but everyday objects used in a dangerous way can also constitute deadly weapons. Even ordinary objects such as a bottle, a pen, a rock, or a hockey stick can all be classified as deadly weapons if used in a way that could have, or did, cause serious bodily harm.
Assault with a Deadly Weapon Produces Varying Penalties
There is a wide range of possible penalties for assault with a deadly weapon. The initial charge will most likely be harsh, such as a second-degree offense. However, assault with a deadly weapon can be reduced to a disorderly persons offense if there was no intent to kill and no bodily harm occurred.
The severity of penalties for assault with a deadly weapon depends on the harm inflicted or potential that existed for harm to be inflicted. In some jurisdictions, the use of force causing bodily harm is equivalent to assault with a deadly weapon. But most cases involving assault with a deadly weapon include the use of that weapon to cause harm, adding a battery charge and often elevating charges.
Pointing a gun at someone (but without firing or causing them harm) may garner fewer or weaker penalties than attacking and striking someone with a metal teapot. Even though a gun is more likely to be considered a deadly weapon, the offense involving the teapot includes physical contact and personal injury. The assailant with the teapot also may have been closer to intent to kill than the person who pointed the firearms.
Aggravated Assault Sentencing
Prior assaults or violent crimes also play a major factor in potential penalties and sentencing. In New Jersey, a first offense of assault with a deadly weapon may be eligible for a pre-trial intervention program. If the program is completed without any additional offenses, the charges may be dropped or dismissed.
Other Violent Crimes Involving Firearms
Our lawyers have handled hundreds of violent crimes cases involving firearm offenses including:
- Murder and homicide
- Armed robbery
- Domestic violence
- Unlawful possession of a firearm
- Unlawful possession of a weapon
- Possession of a firearm or weapon for an unlawful purpose
Aggravated Assault Resources & FAQs
- New Jersey Criminal Statutes — N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1.b. Aggravated Assault
- What are the prison terms for aggravated assault?Depending on the degree and severity of your offense, the prison terms for aggravated assault can range from 18 months to 10 years.
- Assault vs Battery in New Jersey – What’s the Difference?Assault and battery charges in New Jersey are very similar. While battery is the act of causing physical injury or striking someone, assault charges only require a victim to be in imminent fear of battery; as a result, battery is considered a form of assault.