Have You Been Charged with Aggravated Assault in Camden County?
Aggravated assault is a very serious crime, one that you may be shocked to discover you are facing even if the alleged victim did not actually suffer harm. Understanding the complicated nature of an aggravated assault charge is the first step to building a successful defense. Without one, you could be facing years in prison and thousands of dollars in fines. The best thing to do is speak with an experienced Camden County criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Call Wimmer Criminal Defense Law at 215-712-1212 for a free consultation.
How is Aggravated Assault Different from Simple Assault?
When you are charged with aggravated assault, it is important to understand the elements of the charge against you and how aggravated assault is different from simple assault. Under New Jersey law, you can be charged with simple assault in any of the following situations:
- You caused or attempted to cause bodily injury to another person.
- You recklessly caused bodily injury to another person.
- You negligently caused bodily injury to another person with a deadly weapon.
- You put someone in fear of imminent serious bodily injury by way of physical menace.
What is Aggravated Assault?
In New Jersey, any of the following conduct is considered evidence to support the charge of aggravated assault:
- Intentionally causing or attempting to cause serious bodily injury
- Causing serious bodily injury “under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life”
- Intentionally causing or attempting to cause bodily injury with a deadly weapon
- Recklessly causing bodily injury with a deadly weapon
These are the basic aggravated assault charges you may face. However, there are a number of more specific situations that could also result in an aggravated assault charge:
- Pointing a firearm at another person “under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life,” regardless of whether or not you believed the gun to be loaded
- Committing a simple assault upon a law enforcement officer or other specified civil servant such as an EMT
- Causing bodily injury to another person while fleeing from a law enforcement officer
- Causing bodily injury to another person during a carjacking
- Knowingly or recklessly causing significant bodily injury
- Causing bodily fire as a result of committing arson
- Pointing a firearm (including imitation firearms) at a law enforcement officer, or pointing a laser targeting device at them
There are more situations where you can be charged with aggravated assault, as opposed to simple assault. As a result, aggressive prosecutors will often charge you with aggravated assault when a simple assault charge would be more appropriate.
Bodily Injury vs. Serious Bodily Injury
New Jersey law differentiates between the two types of injuries as follows:
- Bodily injury – physical pain, illness, or any impairment of physical condition
- Serious bodily injury – a bodily injury which creates a substantial risk of death, or which causes serious and permanent disfigurement, or a protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ
Although these definitions sound simple, what constitutes a “substantial risk of death” isn’t always clear.
You can also face an aggravated assault charge if you caused “significant bodily injury.” Significant bodily injury is defined as “bodily injury which creates a temporary loss of the function of any bodily member or organ or temporary loss of any one of the five senses.” Significant bodily injuries are a middle ground between bodily injuries and serious bodily injuries – they are less grave than serious bodily injuries but more serious than bodily injuries. It is important to understand that you could be charged with aggravated assault even if you did not cause life-threatening harm or permanent disability.
Assault with a Deadly Weapon
As noted above, you can also be charged with aggravated assault if your assault involved the use of a deadly weapon. New Jersey’s definition of a deadly weapon is broader than you might think, and includes much more than just firearms. A deadly weapon is “anything readily capable of lethal use or of inflicting serious bodily injury.” This can include the following:
- Brass knuckles
- Unloaded or inoperable firearms
- Stun guns
You can be charged with aggravated assault if you intentionally cause or attempt to cause bodily harm with a deadly weapon. You can also be charged with aggravated assault if you recklessly caused bodily harm with a deadly weapon. However, you may be charged with simple assault if your actions were deemed negligent rather than reckless. Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to distinguish between negligence and recklessness, and aggressive prosecutors are likely to simply charge you with aggravated assault.
Degrees of Aggravated Assault and Penalties
As mentioned above, aggravated assault is an indictable offense. The penalties you face will depend on the circumstances surrounding your arrest and the severity of your charges. The severity of aggravated assault charges are as follows:
- Fourth degree aggravated assault: This is the least serious aggravated assault charge. If convicted, you could face up to 18 months in prison and fines of up to $10,000.
- Third degree aggravated assault: If convicted, you could face up to five years in prison and fines of up to $15,000.
- Second degree aggravated assault: This is the most serious aggravated assault charge. If convicted, you could face anywhere from 5 to 10 years in prison and fines of up to $150,000.
The consequences of an aggravated assault charge are very serious. The good news is that you do not have to face your charges alone.
Contact a Camden County Aggravated Assault Lawyer
Aggravated assault is a very serious crime in Camden County and charges are aggressively prosecuted. You need someone on your side who can help you through this process and fight for your rights. Camden County aggravated assault attorney Lauren Wimmer has the knowledge, experience, and skill you need to get a fair result. Call us for a free consultation at 215-712-1212 today. The sooner you call, the sooner we can help.