Aggravated Assault on Police Officer Attorney in Hudson County
HOBOKEN NJ AGGRAVATED ASSAULT ON A POLICE OFFICER LAWYER
The term “aggravated assault of a police officer” even sounds serious and that should right off the bat give you a good indicator that New Jersey takes these offenses very seriously. Most people do not realize that you do not even need to hit or hurt a police officer to be charged with this crime. In fact, a large portion of the cases we handle involve rather minor actions on behalf of the defendant. This because the crime would normally be considered a Simple Assault but it is escalated to an Aggravated Assault simply because the victim is a law enforcement officer. Moreover, this is why a Resisting Arrest, DWI, Eluding, or Disorderly Conduct charge can quickly escalate to an aggravated assault of a police officer. This article breaks down the elements of aggravated assault on a police officer, the pertinent law, and answers a lot of other questions we commonly receive such as the potential punishments.
IS AGGRAVATED ASSAULT ON AN OFFICER A FELONY?
The answer is yes it is a felony, however in New Jersey we use the term “indictable crime”. A charge for aggravated assault of a police officer will be graded as a 3rd degree crime if the officer suffers any bodily injury. If the defendant attempts to assault an officer but there is no injury then it is a 4th degree crime. An example of this would be a defendant throwing a bottle at a police officer but missing. If the law enforcement agent suffers a serious bodily injury then the crime will be upgraded to a 2nd degree Aggravated Assault. All of these crimes are punishable by state prison and as a general rule of thumb, prosecutors are normally inclined to oppose admission into Pre-Trial Intervention because it involves assault on a police officer performing his official duties.
WHAT ARE THE PENALTIES & JAIL TIME FOR AGGRAVATED ASSAULT ON A POLICE OFFICER?
We often have potential clients ask us how much jail time can you get for aggravated assault on a police officer in New Jersey? There are several factors that can affect the length of incarceration you could be facing such as your prior record, the strength of the prosecutor’s case, and the impact on the victim. Moreover, the law establishes a range of state prison that is correlated to the degree of the crime. For instance, on a 2nd degree crime you face 5 – 10 years in New Jersey state prison and a fine of up $150,000, if convicted, and to make matters worse, there is a presumption for incarceration even if you have no prior record. On a 3rd degree crime you face 3 – 5 years in New Jersey state prison and fine of up to $15,000, if convicted. Lastly, a 4th degree charge will carry up to 18 months in New Jersey state prison and a $10,000. You typically will enjoy a presumption against state prison incarceration for 3rd and 4th degree convictions if you have no prior record. This means a sentence of county jail or probation is presumed over prison assuming there are no egregious facts.
ARE THERE WAYS TO DEFEND AGAINST ASSAULT ON LAW ENFORCEMENT IN NJ?
Ordinarily, there are some reasonably strong defenses available when facing an aggravated assault charge in New Jersey. However, many of these defenses simply won’t apply in a case involving aggravated assault on a police officer. For instance, it will probably be impossible to argue that you and the victim entered into the fight by mutual consent when the other person was a police officer attempting to do his or her job. Similarly, it will likely be difficult if not impossible to argue that you only used force against the officer in self-defense. Since it is never okay to resist arrest, self-defense typically won’t apply. There is one exception to this rule, however. If the officer uses excessive force when making an arrest and you are in reasonable fear for your safety, you are entitled to use sufficient force to protect yourself. Nevertheless, the amount of force can only amount to what is reasonably needed when defending yourself against injury. Likewise, using force as the person being arrested is not allowed if the police officer’s force when arresting you would have ceased immediately upon you stopping your resistance.
However, there may still be a chance for an experienced criminal defense attorney to get the charges against you downgraded to a lesser offense. For example, if the police officer who was allegedly assaulted in your case was not actually on duty at the time of the fight, it may be possible to get the charges downgraded from aggravated assault to simple assault. While you can still be charged with assault against an off-duty police officer, the elevated charges (and lowered degree of injury) for aggravated assault only apply when the incident involved an active-duty cop who was acting in performance of his duties.
NJ AGGRAVATED ASSAULT ON POLICE OFFICER LAW 2C:12-1B(5)
Moreover, this subsection of the statute protects more than just police officers. In fact you can be charged with aggravated assault if the victim is a fireman, first-aid medic, teacher, school bus driver, or corrections officer. A portion of the statute, in pertinent part, has been provided below for your reading convenience.
2C:12-1b(5) (a) Aggravated assault on police officer.
A person is guilty of aggravated assault if he:
(5) Commits a simple assault as defined in subsection a. (1), (2) or (3) of this section upon:
(a) Any law enforcement officer acting in the performance of his duties while in uniform or exhibiting evidence of his authority or because of his status as a law enforcement officer; or
(b) Any paid or volunteer fireman acting in the performance of his duties while in uniform or otherwise clearly identifiable as being engaged in the performance of the duties of a fireman; or
(c) Any person engaged in emergency first-aid or medical services acting in the performance of his duties while in uniform or otherwise clearly identifiable as being engaged in the performance of emergency first-aid or medical services; or
(d) Any school board member, school administrator, teacher, school bus driver or other employee of a public or nonpublic school or school board while clearly identifiable as being engaged in the performance of his duties or because of his status as a member or employee of a public or nonpublic school or school board or any school bus driver employed by an operator under contract to a public or nonpublic school or school board while clearly identifiable as being engaged in the performance of his duties or because of his status as a school bus driver; or
(e) Any employee of the Division of Youth and Family Services while clearly identifiable as being engaged in the performance of his duties or because of his status as an employee of the division; or
(f) Any justice of the Supreme Court, judge of the Superior Court, judge of the Tax Court or municipal judge while clearly identifiable as being engaged in the performance of judicial duties or because of his status as a member of the judiciary; or
(g) Any operator of a motorbus or the operator’s supervisor or any employee of a rail passenger service while clearly identifiable as being engaged in the performance of his duties or because of his status as an operator of a motorbus or as the operator’s supervisor or as an employee of a rail passenger service; or
(h) Any Department of Corrections employee, county corrections officer, juvenile corrections officer, State juvenile facility employee, juvenile detention staff member, juvenile detention officer, probation officer or any sheriff, undersheriff, or sheriff’s officer acting in the performance of his duties while in uniform or exhibiting evidence of his authority; or
(i) Any employee, including any person employed under contract, of a utility company as defined in section 2 of P.L.1971, c.224 (C.2A:42-86) or a cable television company subject to the provisions of the “Cable Television Act,” P.L.1972, c.186 (C.48:5A-1 et seq.) while clearly identifiable as being engaged in the performance of his duties in regard to connecting, disconnecting or repairing or attempting to connect, disconnect or repair any gas, electric or water utility, or cable television or telecommunication service; or
b. (5) is a crime of the third degree if the victim suffers bodily injury, otherwise it is a crime of the fourth degree
CONTACT AN AGGRAVATED ASSAULT ON POLICE OFFICER LAWYER IN JERSEY CITY, NJ
Aggravated assault of a police officer is an indictable felony crime that will be handled in the County Superior Court. Therefore, it is especially important that you a represented by an experienced criminal defense lawyer who can defend your rights. At William Proetta Criminal Law we have successfully defended clients against thousands of criminal charges including aggravated assault of a police officer. You can contact our office at (201) 793-8018 to learn more about how we can help you during a free initial consultation with an experienced aggravated assault lawyer. We have representatives available 24/7 to answer your call.