Assault by Auto Charges and Penalties New Jersey Law
Experienced attorneys handling assault by auto cases in Woodland Park, Wayne, Clifton, and across Passaic County, New Jersey
Assault charges are extremely common in New Jersey. One of the most serious assault charges is an assault by auto. NJ lawmakers impose special penalties for assaults involving motor vehicles because the injuries are often severe in auto accidents. Anytime a person operates a motor vehicle in the State of New Jersey, they are expected to drive safely and with full awareness of the risks posed to other motorists. NJ prosecutors often seek maximum penalties in an assault by auto cases in order to discourage dangerous drivers and minimize the risk of serious accidents.
The Montanari Law Group, LLC is a highly respected law firm with more than 40 years of experience handling assault by auto cases. Our criminal defense lawyers appear on a daily basis in courtrooms. If you were involved in an auto accident and have been accused of assault by auto, call The Montanari Law Group, LLC today to speak with a member of our litigation team and begin your defense.
Assault by Auto Charges in Passaic County NJ
Assault by auto charges in New Jersey are set forth by N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1(c). The elements of an assault by auto charge are:
- The driver operated a motor vehicle on a road in New Jersey.
- The driver engaged in reckless conduct.
- The driver caused an auto accident.
- The driver caused bodily injury to another person.
“Reckless conduct” means that the driver knew of a substantial and unjustifiable risk and ignored it, thus manifesting extreme indifference to the welfare of others. Examples of reckless conduct include a driver who violates NJ speeding laws, a driver who is convicted of reckless driving, and a driver convicted of driving under the influence.
Keep in mind that intent is not an element of an assault by auto charge. The prosecution does not need to prove that the driver intentionally injured another person; it is enough that the driver engaged in reckless conduct.
Penalties for Assault by Auto in Wayne NJ
The penalties for assault by auto vary, depending upon the severity of the injury and the circumstances of the accident:
- Disorderly Persons Offense: Anyone who knowingly disregards the risk of injury to other people and then causes an accident resulting in bodily injury to another person may be charged with assault by auto. “Bodily injury” means any kind of physical pain, illness, or impairment of the physical condition. In these instances, assault by auto is classified as a disorderly persons offense. If you are convicted of a disorderly persons offense, you are subject to a sentence of up to 6 months in the local county jail and a fine of $1,000.
- Fourth Degree Felony: Anyone who recklessly operates a motor vehicle and causes serious bodily injury to another person may be charged with fourth-degree assault by auto. “Serious bodily injury” means an injury that creates a substantial risk of death or that causes permanent disfigurement, impairment, or loss of the function of a body part or organ. If you are convicted of fourth-degree assault by auto, you are subject to a sentence of up to 18 months in NJ State Prison and a fine of $10,000.
- Third Degree Felony: Anyone responsible for a DWI accident that causes serious bodily injury to another person may be charged with third-degree assault by auto. A conviction for this charge will subject you to a potential sentence of 3–5 years in NJ State Prison and a fine of $15,000.
- Second Degree Felony: Anyone responsible for a DWI accident in a school zone that causes serious bodily injury to another person may be charged with second-degree assault by auto. A school zone is defined broadly to include any elementary or secondary school property used for school purposes. This very serious charge will subject you to a sentence of 5–10 years in NJ State Prison and a fine of $150,000.
Related Charge: Death by Auto in Little Falls NJ
If you recklessly operate a motor vehicle on New Jersey roadways and cause an accident that results in the death of another person, you could be charged with death by auto.
This offense is typically classified as a second-degree felony, which is punishable by a sentence of 5–10 years in NJ State Prison. However, if the driver was operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and in a school zone, the offense may be classified as a first-degree felony. A conviction for first-degree vehicular homicide is punishable by a sentence of 10–20 years in NJ State Prison.
Free Consultation with Assault by Auto Attorneys handling cases across Northern New Jersey
The attorneys at The Montanari Law Group, LLC are prepared to fight your assault by auto charges. Call us at 973-233-4396 now to discuss your case over the phone, or fill out the online contact form to schedule a meeting at our offices in Little Falls.