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Union County NJ Criminal Defense Lawyers

Over 200 Years Combined Experience

Former County & Municipal Prosecutors

Assault of a Public Official

Cranford NJ Aggravated Assault Defense Lawyers

If you were accused of simple assault and the victim was a teacher, EMT or other public official in Cranford or elsewhere in Union County, the offense you are facing is enhanced to aggravated assault under N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1(b)(5). The resulting charge can come in the form of a third degree or fourth degree crime depending on the injuries, if any, resulting from the encounter. It is a fourth degree crime if the fireman, teacher, EMT, or employee suffers no bodily injury from the assault. If bodily injury is sustained, you face a third degree crime. Irrespective of which grade of aggravated assault you are facing for allegedly assaulting a public official/employee, the violation is a felony indictable offense which triggers the potential for over $10,000 in fines and assessments and a stiff state prison term.

The attorneys at The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall have extensive knowledge and experience defending aggravated assault charges arising in Elizabeth, Cranford, Summit, Linden, Rahway and towns in Union County. Our former prosecutors and other skilled lawyers have over 100 years in practice combined with many of our cases clients indicted and/or charged at the Union County Superior Court in Elizabeth. This is the venue where all aggravated assault cases are heard since no municipal court possesses jurisdiction to decide a violation this serious. Contact our Union NJ Office for a free consultation by calling 908-272-1700.

Who Qualifies As A Public Official Under 2C:12-1(b)(5)?

N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1(b)(5) outlines those individuals who are afforded heightened protection from physical force, including assault. The following employees and government officials are covered in this manner when acting in the line of their official duties:

  1. Police officers or other law enforcement
  2. Fireman
  3. EMT or other first-responders
  4. School board members, administrators, teachers, bus drivers, or other school employees that are clearly identifiable as such and are working in that capacity
  5. DYFS representatives
  6. Judges
  7. Corrections officers

What Needs To Be Established To Prove Aggravated Assault Under N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1(b)(5)?

As previously stated, this offense is triggered if the accused commits a simple assault on an individual who is afforded enhanced protection under 2C:12-1(b)(5). The types of public employees protected in this manner have been identified in the previous heading. Assuming the victim falls within of these categories, an aggravated assault results if they are the victim of a simple assault. This occurs under subsection (a) of N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1 when the actor: (1) attempts to cause or purposely, knowingly or recklessly causes bodily injury to another person; (2) negligently causes bodily injury with a deadly weapon; or (3) engages in physically menacing behavior which puts another person in fear of immediate serious bodily injury.

State of Mind Required. An individual can committed a simple assault with a wide range of mental states provide the conduct falls under one of the three circumstances previously described.  Recklessness means the person acted with conscious disregard for some substantial and unjustifiable risk to human life. A person consciously disregards a risk when they appreciate its existence and their actions are a gross deviation from the reasonable accepted community standard for a person in a similar situation.  Purposeful means the results or circumstances are the conscious or intended object of their actions.  In other words, it was their desire to achieve a given end or act in a certain way.  A person is negligent when they should have be aware of a substantial risk of harm, and their actions were a gross deviation from the reasonable standard of care. A reasonable person acts in a manner that gives ordinary care and respect of a common individual within the community. 

Penalties That Apply For Assaulting A Public Official

Fourth degree aggravated assault of a public official results in a prison term of up to 18 months and a fine up to $10,000. Third degree aggravated assault on a public official carries up to 5 years in jail and a potential fine of $15,000. Courts are free to prescribe a range of other penalties for those found guilty of third and fourth degree crimes of assault on a police officer/public official.  In some instances the alternative punishments can include anger management training, license revocation, or probation.

Rahway NJ Aggravated Assault Defense Attorneys

This is one of the most common varieties of aggravated assault in Union County since it can result with virtually no injury to the alleged victim. So a minor alteration in Hillside, Roselle, Scotch Plains, Westfield or Clark can turn into a felony case at the county courthouse in Elizabeth very easily. What is pivotal is that you make sure that such an unfortunate encounter does not further mushroom into a conviction for assault. The highly knowledgeable attorneys at The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall are here to insure that this does not occur. Our staff has represented many individuals just like you with most avoiding a finding or plea of guilty. To speak to a lawyer immediately, call us at 908-272-1700. Lawyers are available 24/7 for free consultations.