Mercer County NJ Aggravated Assault Lawyer
Aggravated assault is by far one of the most common offenses issued in Mercer County. It is a rather complex statute and the potential penalties drastically differ depending on the degree of aggravated assault that a Defendant is convicted of. In addition, based on the new bail guidelines which came into effect in 2017, a Defendant may find themselves being detained in the Mercer County jail without bail pending trial. Pursuant to the new bail guidelines, if the prosecution seeks to detain a Defendant in jail, without bail pending trial, a detention hearing must take place. During that detention hearing an experienced defense counsel can contest the state’s case and seek to have a Defendant released on bail pending trial. So, now more than ever it is imperative that you speak to an experienced Mercer County criminal defense attorney as soon as possible about your options. In addition, if the aggravated assault charges are considered an act of domestic violence, the chance of being detained increase.
Consult with a Local West Windsor Aggravated Assault Attorney
If you have been arrested and charged with aggravated assault in Mercer County, the Keith Oliver Criminal Law can help. Our attorneys defend client’s accused of aggravated assault, unlawful possession of a weapon, stalking, terroristic threats, robbery, burglary and heroin possession in Mercer County. If you would like to come into our office to discuss your options with one of our Mercer County criminal defense attorneys then please contact us at (609) 789-0779. We serve all of Mercer County including towns like Robbinsville, Hamilton, West Windsor, Trenton, Lawrence, East Windsor and Hopewell. Our initial consultations are always free so please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.
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100% Lawyer 100% magician
“Keith represented me twice and he has been nothing but amazing. Both times he made sure there was nothing to worry about. The utmost professional attitude with a dash of he got your back feeling. The man is an amazing lawyer and I would advise EVERYONE who seeks an attorney to have him represent you. If I ever have another a problem when it comes to the courtroom I would gladly have him represent me again. He is a lawyer plus a magician because he literally works magic when it comes to the law. Thank you again Keith!!”
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What You Need to Know About Aggravated Assault Charges in NJ
The governing statute in New Jersey for aggravated assault is N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1(b). As touched upon above, it is a complex statute and it covers a variety of different circumstances. The subsection that a Defendant is charged under will dictate what degree of a felony they will face. Here is a complete breakdown of the different degrees and what the State must show beyond a reasonable doubt before a Defendant could be convicted.
Understanding Fourth Degree Aggravated Assault Charges in NJ
There are two different subsections of the aggravated assault statute that are considered fourth degree felony offenses. Here they are:
- When a Defendant points a firearm at or in the direction of another under what has been referred to as “under circumstances manifesting an extreme indifference to the value of human life” the Defendant will be charged with a fourth degree felony. Although this subsection is a fourth degree felony, it requires a mandatory 18 month New Jersey State Prison sentence with a mandatory 18 month parole ineligibility period as well. This is a rather stiff penalty when compared to what an ordinary fourth degree felony sentence would be.
- If a Defendant recklessly cause bodily injury to another with a deadly weapon they will be charged with a fourth degree felony. A Defendant convicted of this section of the statute would subject a Defendant to up to 18 months in a State Prison. With that being said, unlike the above section this offense does not require a parole ineligibility period or mandatory incarceration. For more information on what is “bodily injury” please see below.
What You Need to Know About 3rd Degree Aggravated Assault Cases in NJ
There are four different subsections of the aggravated assault statute that are considered third degree felony offenses. Unlike the fourth degree felony version, everyone convicted of a third degree felony aggravated assault charge will be facing the same penalties. They include up to five (5) years in a State Prison and a fine up to $15,000. Now, here is a breakdown in the different subsections:
- When a Defendant is accused of attempting to cause or purposely or knowingly causing bodily injury to another with a deadly weapon they will be charged with a third degree felony.
- If the Defendant is accused of attempting to cause significant bodily injury to another or causing significant bodily injury purposely or knowingly or, under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life recklessly causes such significant bodily injury the Defendant will be charged with a third degree felony.
- When a Defendant points a firearm at or in the direction of a police officer “under what has been referred to as “under circumstances manifesting an extreme indifference to the value of human life” the Defendant will be charged with a third degree felony. The sole difference between this subsection and the fourth degree felony version is who the “pointing” was directed at.
- If a Defendant points an imitation firearm at or in the direction of a police officer with the purpose to either intimidate, threaten or attempt to put them in fear of bodily injury or for any unlawful purpose they will be charged with a third degree felony.
How Serious is a Second Degree Aggravated Assault Offense in NJ
There are two different subsections of the aggravated assault statute that are considered second degree felony offenses. Similar to the third degree felony version, everyone convicted of a second degree felony aggravated assault charge will be facing the same penalties. Those penalties include a prison sentence anywhere from five (5) to ten (10) years and a fine up to $150,000. Furthermore, this subsection falls under the No Early Release Act (NERA). NERA in essence requires a Defendant to serve at least 85% of their sentence before they can become eligible for parole. Now, here is a breakdown in the different subsections:
- When a Defendant purposely or knowingly attempts to cause or causes serious bodily injury to another they will be charged with a second degree aggravated assault.
- If a Defendant causes bodily injury to another while they are eluding a police officer they will be charged with a second degree felony.
Frequently Asked Questions About Aggravated Assault Cases
As touched upon above, one of the major difference between the different degrees of aggravated assault offenses is the type of injury suffered. Here is a breakdown of the three different types of injuries, bodily injury, significantly injury and serious bodily injury.
- Bodily injury has been defined by the courts as causing “physical pain, illness, or any impairment of physical condition”;
- Significant bodily injury has been defined by the courts as causing 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.
- Serious bodily injury has been defined by the courts as causing a substantial risk of death or which causes serious, permanent disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ.
New Jersey’s bail system went through a major overhaul. The days of simple appearing at the local police station, posting bail, and securing the release of a loved one are long gone. Our system is now based purely on a risk assessment. That means that if a Defendant is charged under a Compliant-Warrant, which most aggravated assault charges are, they must be taken from the local police station and lodged in the Mercer County Jail for at least 24 hours. During that time period Pretrial Services will conduct a risk assessment and that assessment will be used by the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office to determine if bail is appropriate. If the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office will be agreeing to release the Defendant on certain bail conditions, that will take place at their Central Judicial Processing Hearing. If however, they decide to file a formal motion for detention that means they will be seeking to convince a Judge that the Defendant must be denied bail and held without bail pending trial. In order for this to happen a formal hearing must take place. During that hearing the Judge will hear arguments from both sides and after hearing the arguments they will be called upon to make the final decision regarding bail. For more information on bail hearings in Mercer County, please click the link.
If the aggravated assault case is classified as an act of domestic violence pursuant to New Jersey’s Domestic Violence Prevention Act then the alleged victim could petition the Court of a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO). TRO’s are civil in nature and will be handled in the Chancery Division, Family Part of the Mercer County Superior Courthouse. A temporary restraining order is separate and apart from the criminal charges despite the fact that they involve the same set of facts. If the TRO becomes a final order of protection, it would carry with it its own devastating consequences. For more information on Final Restraining Orders, including the ramifications if one is imposed, please click the link. Also, it is important to note that any testimony taken during the final restraining order hearing could be used against the defendant in certain circumstances in their criminal trial. That is one of the many reasons that we suggest you consult with an attorney about your options prior to appearing for your FRO hearing.
Speak to an Experienced Ewing NJ Aggravated Assault Lawyer Today – 609-789-0779
As you can tell from reading above, the aggravated assault statute is very complex. As such, it is imperative that you speak to any experienced criminal defense attorney about your options. There is a tremendous amount of room to litigate these charges and the difference between the potential penalties are catastrophic. If you have been charged with aggravated assault, cocaine possession, possession of a weapon for unlawful purpose, eluding, heroin possession in Mercer County, we can help. Our office appears in courts throughout Mercer County including the Mercer County Superior Courthouse, the Hamilton Municipal Court, the Trenton Municipal Court, the Robbinsville Municipal Court, the Ewing Municipal Court and the West Windsor Municipal Court. If you would like to come into our office for a free consultation then please contact us at (609) 789-0779.