Criminal Charges for Road Rage in New Jersey
Can a Road Rage Incident Lead to Criminal Charges in New Jersey?
It is not uncommon to hear about a dispute between two drivers that rapidly escalates to violence. Some people have a tendency to become angry more quickly while on the road than in any other context of their life, and they use the road to take out their aggression. Or maybe someone else cut you off, drove—purposely in your opinion—way too slowly right in front of you, or took some other aggravating action while driving near you, and you ended up in a “road rage” situation. If this sounds like you or if you encounter another person on the road like this, it is important to understand that heated tensions can become violent and criminal in a short period of time.
For instance, a recent road rage attack in Edison, New Jersey seriously injured a 57-year old man who was slashed across the neck by another driver. The alleged attacker, Louis Rosado, ran away from the scene of the crime, leaving a passenger in his car behind and causing police to chase him. When apprehended, he was arrested and charged with aggravated assault and two weapon possession offenses.
If you or a loved one has been charged with a crime after a road rage incident in Middlesex County or any other part of New Jersey, you can learn more about common charges related to road rage below. For additional information, contact the Edison law offices of Proetta & Oliver at (732) 659-9600 to speak with an attorney. We can provide you with a free consultation about your specific case.
Criminal Charges Related to Road Rage in NJ
Some of the possible charges that could stem from a road rage episode include reckless driving, simple assault, aggravated assault, and weapon offenses. Let’s take a closer look at each of these offenses and the penalties you face if you’re convicted.
If you willfully or wantonly drive with disregard for the safety of others in a way that endangers other people or property, you may be charged with reckless driving. Reckless driving can carry penalties of up to 60 days in jail, fines, and suspension of your driver’s license.
You may be charged with simple assault, a disorderly persons offense, if you attempt to cause or knowingly, recklessly, or purposely cause another person bodily harm. If convicted, you can face up to six months in prison and fines of up to $1,000.
If you assault a person in circumstances showing extreme indifference to human life, cause or attempt to cause bodily injury with a deadly weapon, knowingly point a firearm at a person showing indifference to human life, or assault certain enumerated employees in the scope of their employment including a police officer, firefighter, or paramedic, you may be charged with aggravated assault. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the assault, you may be charged with a fourth, third, or second degree indictable offense.
New Jersey’s gun control laws are very strict. A road rage situation can turn deadly when firearms are involved. Even if you do not fire a weapon at another person, you could still be charged with a weapon offense if you are in unlawful possession of a firearm or the police have probable cause to believe you were in possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose.
I was charged with assault in a road rage fight that I did not start. Can I claim self-defense?
If you are charged with assault, depending on the facts of your case, you may be able to argue that you acted in self-defense. Self-defense is an affirmative defense. This means that, rather than arguing that you did not commit the offense, you are admitting that you assaulted another individual, but that you were justified in your actions.
In order to be successful in a self-defense argument, you must convince the jury by a preponderance of the evidence that you were justified in using force against the other person because you reasonably believed that the use of force was immediately necessary to protect yourself against unlawful force from the other person in that moment.
It is important to note that you must have an objective and subjective reasonable belief that the use of force was immediately necessary, meaning that you must have actually, personally believed it was necessary to protect yourself in that moment, and the average reasonable person would have also believed it was necessary in those circumstances. A criminal defense lawyer can evaluate your specific case to determine if self-defense is a possible argument and successfully employ this defense strategy in court.
Arrested for a Roadside Fight in Middlesex County, NJ?
If you have been charged with a crime after a road rage episode in Middlesex County or elsewhere in New Jersey, do not face these charges alone. Contact Proetta & Oliver in Edison, New Jersey at (732) 659-9600 today for a consultation with one of our experienced criminal defense lawyers.