Assault by Auto Attorney in Hudson County


Assault by Auto is typically charged in all DWI cases where there is an accident and an injury results. The crazy thing is that the defendant does not even necessarily need to cause the accident to get charged. This means that if you are driving home after a few drinks and someone crashes into you because they are not paying attention and there are injuries as a result of the accident, you will be charged with an assault by auto – which is actually considered an Aggravated Assault. Our attorneys even represented a client who was driving back home the next morning after responsibly sleeping off a night of drinking in the city with friends and was hit by another driver that ran a stop sign. The worst part was the other driver should not have even been on the road because they had a suspended drivers license. However, the police and prosecutors office did not care and charged our client anyway because there was alcohol still in our client’s body from the night before even though they were actually under the legal limit. This scary example can unfortunately happen to almost anyone so if you or your loved one find yourselves in a similar position it is important to hire an experienced criminal lawyer to defend you. Our assault by auto attorneys defend clients throughout Hudson County, New Jersey and surrounding areas. If your accident happened in Jersey CityWeehawkenHobokenUnion CityNorth BergenWest New YorkBloomfield, or Secaucus then give us a call today at (201) 793-8018. Our attorneys offer a free consultation for all potential clients that is private and confidential.


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.


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.


A disorderly persons offense results when the victim sustained “bodily injury” or minor injury. These charges are rarely filed initially because the “reckless” standard can be hard to prove and most regular everyday accidents can result in some degree of injury and always going to be someones fault. That is why the only time we normally see this charge is when it is the result of a downgraded plea deal because the prosecutor cannot prove the elements of the DWI.


A 4th degree charge is upgraded to a felony when the victim suffers “serious bodily injury”. We normally see this charged initially after an accident where the police suspect the driver was intoxicated but they are still waiting on the laboratory results from the blood or urine taken. Once the prosecutor gathers the evidence, these charges are typically indicted as a third degree assault by auto. Sometimes it can be advantageous to try and work out a proposed deal before the charge is upgraded.


This is the typical charge or indictment that we see commonly after someone gets into accident with injuries and the driver is charged with a DWI under 39:4-50. A third degree offense occurs the victim suffered serious bodily injury from a DWI related accident. A third degree carries a state prison sentence of up to 3 – 5 years if convicted. It is important to note that although Pre-Trial Intervention is typically available for most 3rd degree charges, prosecutors will normally not consent to admission for assault by auto charges because of the public safety implications.


In rare cases an assault by auto charge can be upgraded to a second degree crime if the there is accident with injuries combined with a DWI within a school zone. In cases such as these, aside from the normal challenges and defenses that you want to bring up in lower graded assault by auto charges, it becomes extremely important for your attorney to request the official city and records to designate the locations of the schools, measure the distance between the school property and site of the accident, and whether those schools are actually designated as such under the statute.


Hudson County, New Jersey and surrounding areas such as Essex County are some of the busiest and most congested areas in our state. All of these people jammed into a small area makes for high car insurance and a high volume of car accidents with injuries. If police suspect that you have been drinking, smoked marijuana or taken other drugs then they will charge you with an assault by auto and DWI. To make matters more complicated, if you have your child or a minor in the vehicle then you will also be charged with Endangering the Welfare of a Child. If you have been charged with an assault by auto or companion charges then it is in your best interest to contact a lawyer today. Our law firm has 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 (201) 793-8018 to speak with a criminal attorney who can answer your questions and address any concerns.