Navigating an aggravated assault case can be extremely complicated, especially when the perpetrator is a teenager. There are many factors that determine how serious an aggravated assault charge is and what the consequences may be. Simple assault is a disorderly persons offense, which is essentially a misdemeanor, but aggravated assault can be much more severe. According to N.J.S.A. 2C:121(b) of New Jersey’s criminal code, aggravated assault can be a second, third or fourth degree felony, depending on the circumstances surrounding the attack.
Two main factors determine the degree of an assault charge. The first is the type of injury that was caused (or attempted), and the type of weapon that was used in the assault. Aggravated assaults can include any of the following:
• Threatening to strike or striking a person with a dangerous object or weapon
• Threatening to shoot or shooting a gun at someone
• Threatening to kill someone with a gun pointed at him or her
• Attack that results in serious physical injuries
• Attack against a member of a law enforcement officer, healthcare worker, or other protected field, or against a disabled person or older person
• Attack with a concealed identity
For an adult, any of these crimes can lead to serious convictions and lengthy periods of imprisonment. An aggravated assault committed by a teen carries the same weight because second-, third- and fourth-degree crimes may result in the minor perpetrator being charged as an adult. This is problematic for younger defendants because any incident of violence, even among friends or high school rivals, could lead to criminal charges.
Teen Assault in New Jersey
In a recent case, a fight over a girl broke out between two teenage boys, which led to both being hospitalized. According to police reports, the two boys arranged to meet up in a local church’s parking lot to settle the issue and the fight broke out immediately after they started. Surveillance video from the scene showed one boy attacking the other as soon as he exited his car. The attacker then stood over the victim, kicking him in the face repeatedly.
Both boys were taken to separate hospitals and reports note the victim’s eye socket was broken. Because the injury is so severe, the young attacker will likely be charged with second-degree aggravated assault. Such a charge can result in a punishment of up to 10 years in prison.
No Early Release
Second-degree aggravated assault falls under the No Early Release Act which states that a defendant must serve at least 85 percent of his or her sentence before the individual can be considered for parole. For a young teen charged with aggravated assault and facing ten years in prison, 85 percent of that sentence is an amount of time that could deeply impact the rest of his or her life.
At The Gorman Law Firm, Scott Gorman represents teenagers who have been charged with serious crimes, whether they are prosecuted as adults or as juveniles. For more information, contact a Morris County criminal defense lawyer at the Gorman Law Firm today.
Published in Categories: Criminal Defense