New Jersey has a statute called assault by auto which is normally applicable when reckless driving results in injury to another. Assault by auto charges are serious in this state and are usually categorized as indictable felony charges but can differ in severity depending on the circumstances. Nevertheless, a conviction for assault by auto will result in a permanent criminal record and can expose you to license suspension and incarceration. An experienced criminal attorney can challenge the state’s case against you and work with prosecution to secure you a downgrade or even a dismissal of the charge altogether. At the Proetta & Oliver we have successfully defended thousands of clients against criminal and municipal charges throughout New Jersey. We represent clients charged with assault by auto in Union County and surrounding areas including Roselle, Linden, Union Township, Clark, Elizabeth, Westfield, Hillside, and Rahway. If you would like to learn more about how we can help you or your loved one then contact us at (908) 838-0150 for a free consultation with an experienced criminal defense lawyer. We have representatives available 24/7 to answer your call.
New Jersey Assault by Auto Law 2C:12-1(c)
The New Jersey assault by auto statute 2C:12-1c is provided below, in pertinent part, for your reading convenience. This article goes on to describe how an assault by auto charge is graded for the severity of the crime.
N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1c. Assault by Auto
(1) A person is guilty of assault by auto or vessel when the person drives a vehicle or vessel recklessly and causes either serious bodily injury or bodily injury to another. Assault by auto or vessel is a crime of the fourth degree if serious bodily injury results and is a disorderly persons offense if bodily injury results.
What is Assault by Auto?
The general elements of assault by auto are that that the defendant (1) was the operator of the motor vehicle; (2) that they drove recklessly or engaged in reckless conduct; (3) which caused an accident; and (4) and an injury resulted. However, under the New Jersey law, the charge can vary in severity or “degree” depending on all other factors surrounding the incident.
- Assault by Auto Disorderly Persons Offense – this results when the victim sustained “bodily injury” or minor injury. A disorderly persons offense is punishable by up to 6 months in jail and $1,000 fine.
- Fourth Degree Assault by Assault – the charge is upgraded to a felony when the victim suffers “serious bodily injury.” A fourth degree crime carries up to 18 months in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
- Third Degree Assault by Auto – it is a third degree offense is the victim suffered serious bodily injury from a DWI related accident. A conviction can lead to a 3 to 5-year prison sentence in addition to any penalties associated with a conviction for DWI.
- Second Degree Assault by Auto – the charge is upgraded to a second degree crime if the DWI related accident took place within a school zone. Second degree crimes have a presumption of incarceration, which means even if you have no prior criminal record you are subject to time in prison. The sentencing range for second degree crimes in New Jersey is 5 to 10 years.
If you are convicted of assault by auto in any degree, you will have a criminal record that cannot be expunged for at least 5 years.
Linden NJ Assault by Auto Lawyer
In assault by auto cases the severity and scope of the victim’s injury and interpretation of “serious bodily injury” is usually a large contention. In cases involving DWI charges the level of intoxication and the state’s ability to prove the intoxication can often be contested as well. This offers an experienced criminal defense lawyer some leeway when negotiating with the prosecution to resolve the case. At Proetta & Oliver, we are highly experienced criminal and DWI attorneys that know how to challenge the weaknesses of the state’s case against you. We offer free initial consultations for prospective clients so contact us today at (908) 838-0150 to speak with a criminal attorney who can answer your questions and address any concerns.
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