Middlesex County Aggravated Assault on a Police Officer Defense Lawyers
Felony Assault on Law Enforcement Attorneys in Edison, New Jersey
Under N.J.S.A. 2C:-12-1(b)(5)(a), assaulting a law enforcement officer raises simple assault to aggravated assault automatically. The extent of the assault, meaning the particular facts showing a dangerous or serious assault on the officer, determines the punishment. Aggravated assault charges exist on a spectrum, but it is often charged as a third degree crime in New Jersey, which means an individual convicted faces a prison term of up to five (5) years and a fine of up to $15,000.00. When dealing with a charge where the alleged victim is law enforcement, aggravated assault is a third degree crime if the assailant physically harms the police officer and a fourth degree charge when the officer was not physically harmed. Given the severity of indictable crime sentences and the life restrictions due to a criminal record, you should retain a highly effective criminal defense attorney to defend you against the state’s charges for assaulting an officer.
Prosecutors and judges do not look favorably on those who allegedly harm police officers or interfere with law enforcement and public protection. If you are facing assault charges in New Brunswick, Edison, Piscataway, Woodbridge, Metuchen, Plainsboro, or another town in Middlesex County, you want to choose someone who will work tirelessly in Middlesex County Superior Court while handling your case. An experienced criminal defense lawyer at Proetta & Oliver may be able to show the court that the facts of your case do not rise to the level of aggravated assault or that there are mitigating circumstances that should be considered. Ultimately, the burden is on the prosecutor to convince each juror that without a reasonable doubt that you committed the charged crime. We can sow the seeds of doubt when so much is on the line for you and your future. For an absolutely free consultation regarding your aggravated assault on police charge in Middlesex County, contact our office now. Our lawyers can be reached around the clock at (732) 659-9600 to further assist you.
Aggravated Assault on an Officer Charges in NJ: Degrees & Penalties
To convict you of the crime that violates N.J.S.A. 2C:-12-1(b)(5)(a), the prosecutor must show that you intentionally or recklessly harmed or threatened physical harm to a police officer while they were performing their duty. Even pointing a gun at or raising a fist to a police officer may be enough to prove aggravated assault. If the officer is struck, say the fist lands on the officer’s face and causes injury, the assault is minimally a third degree crime. While raising a fist at someone may otherwise be simple assault, when it is aimed at a firefighter, security guard, public official, or a uniformed officer, it is fourth degree aggravated assault. A fourth degree crime carries an 18-month prison term and a potential $10,000.00 fine.
To prove aggravated assault, the prosecutor must show that the defendant intentionally or recklessly directed the assault at the officer because of their role as an officer or while the officer was performing their official police duties. Simple assault is intentionally or recklessly causing another physical harm, negligently harming another with a dangerous weapon, or causing another to fear for their safety by threats of harm. A simple assault is a disorderly persons offense punishable by up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.00. Aggravated assault, a felony crime, results in harsher sentences because of the greater likelihood of or actual physical bodily damage to the victim or to the public.
The more serious the bodily harm, the more likely a defendant will be punished more severely for a higher crime. Worst case scenario, someone who assaults an officer may be guilty of aggravated assault as a second degree crime. For example, if a police officer is seriously injured in a car chase with a suspect who, while fleeing the crime scene, rams their car into the police car and seriously injures an officer, the accused is probably going to be charged with second degree aggravated assault. If convicted on such a charge, the individual faces 5 to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $150,000.00 with No Early Release Act sentencing requirements, meaning the now convicted felon must serve 85% of their prison term before being eligible for parole. Second degree aggravated assault typically involves resisting arrest or eluding a police officer accompanied by serious injury to the officer.
Is Excessive Use of Force a Valid Defense for Assaulting a Police Officer in New Jersey?
You may be wondering: what if an officer is injured by an individual who was defending against the officer’s wrongful use of force? It is sometimes a defense to assaulting an officer that a defendant who was neither resisting arrest, nor using excessive force to defend against wrongful police force, and fought back in self-protection. Much depends on the circumstances, however. For example, if a defendant fought a police officer to defend against wrongful force but kept using force after the officer backed off, then the facts may not yield a viable defense.
After reviewing your case, a knowledgeable attorney may be able to find other defenses available to you. Our lawyers have achieved successes in these cases by highlighting the facts that show that our client did not intend to assault an officer to defend against the charges, or leverage specific evidence to challenge the validity of the charges or lessen the sentence.
Consult Assault on an Officer Attorneys in New Brunswick, NJ
The fact remains that the law is strict: a disorderly persons offense like simple assault is far more serious when directed at law enforcement. Finding out what particular options you may have should be a top concern if you or someone you love is facing these serious felony charges in Middlesex County NJ. Our criminal defense law firm is here to help you with defending against a single assault charge or several charges like criminal mischief, eluding, and obstruction of law. When you need an advocate who is dedicated to criminal law in New Jersey and providing your best defense, you can count on Proetta & Oliver. Call (732) 659-9600 to discuss your case in a free consultation.