Most people go to the park to experience some peace and quiet or recreation. But certain New Jersey parks—even parks relatively safe neighborhoods—can be a source of crime and numerous arrests by local police. For instance, it was recently reported that a man attacked an 87-year-old woman with a golf club in an Ocean County Park, specifically Miller Air Park in Berkeley Township, in late September. Assault charges, drug crimes, and other criminal offenses are common in public parks, and in some cases, the mere fact that the offense occurred in close proximity to a park leads to enhanced penalties. If you have been arrested in or around a public park in Berkeley, Stafford, Toms River, Lakewood, Barnegat, Beachwood, or are otherwise facing charges in Ocean County, contact our experienced criminal defense attorneys to discuss your case. Please feel free to call (848) 238-2100 if you have questions or contact us online 24/7 for a free consultation.
Facing Assault Charges in Berkeley Township, NJ
In the case mentioned above, which occurred in an Ocean County park, the woman was reportedly practicing her golf game at the park’s fairgrounds area when the man approached her. According to witnesses, they engaged in a brief conversation, after which the man struck her with the golf club and ran off with some of the woman’s belongings. It is unclear whether the interaction was a robbery or a random act of violence. Given the facts reported by witnesses, the attacker described above would likely face an aggravated assault charge and may also be charged with a robbery offense.
How does a Prosecutor Prove an Aggravated Assault Charge?
A prosecutor could prove an aggravated assault charge if they established that any person attempted to cause or caused serious bodily injury to another person either purposely, knowingly, or recklessly and with an extreme indifference for the value of human life (a second degree indictable offense); or by proving that the actor knowingly or purposely caused bodily injury with a deadly weapon (a third degree offense), or that the defendant recklessly caused bodily injury with a deadly weapon (a fourth degree offense). Each of these different scenarios involves a different level of proof, and each will result in a different sentence upon conviction.
Can an Everyday Item like a Golf Club be Considered a “Deadly Weapon”?
You may be surprised to hear that the Miller Air Park attacker could be charged with causing injury with a deadly weapon, given that he used a golf club, not a firearm or a knife. But under New Jersey law, the term “deadly weapons” includes more than just a rifle or a switchblade; the term also legally encompasses any object that can cause serious bodily injury or death. A golf club can almost certainly maim or kill a person if the attacker strikes the victim with sufficient force, so a person could definitely be charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon for hitting someone or otherwise causing injury with a golf club, or any other everyday item able capable of causing physical harm, for that matter.
What does a Berkeley NJ Aggravated Assault Charge Carry?
Depending on the circumstances, there are different penalties for various degrees of aggravated assault crimes. For example, if you are convicted of fourth degree aggravated assault, you can face up to 18 months in prison and fines of up to $10,000. A third degree aggravated assault conviction carries up to 5 years in prison and fines up to $15,000. And a second degree aggravated assault conviction exposes you to up to 10 years in prison and $150,000 in fines. Consider that you could end up owing over one hundred thousand dollars in criminal fines if convicted.
What Other Criminal Charges are Common in Public Parks in Ocean County?
Police also commonly arrest people in New Jersey’s public parks for possessing controlled dangerous substances (from marijuana possession to hard drugs like possessing heroin), possessing drug paraphernalia, disorderly conduct, and sometimes, simple and aggravated assault. Parks can also be the site of lewdness charges and sexual assault. Police routinely patrol parks where crimes have been reported and even around parks to find potential drug dealers, drunk drivers, and others who may be violating New Jersey laws.
Arrested in a Park in Toms River, What Should I do?
If you are arrested and charged with these or any other crime in a park, you should contact a well-respected criminal defense lawyer without delay. Contact our Ocean County criminal law firm with offices in Point Pleasant for immediate assistance. We have handled countless criminal cases involving assault, drugs, and other crimes in parks, residences, school property, and more more. Call (848) 238-2100 to speak with an attorney free of charge.