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FAQ About Aggravated Assault

Q: What factors typically increase a simple assault to become an aggravated assault charge?

A: The most important factor is the degree of the injury and whether a weapon was used. Under 2C:12-1 statute for aggravated assault, in practice, the most important factor is the degree of the injury. Even if the person didn’t intend to hurt the other person, they were maybe trying to threaten them, but it accidentally resulted in injury, causing physical harm. Then it will be considered aggravated assault. It depends on the degree of the injury.

Q: What Is Aggravated Assault In New Jersey?

A: The law defines a number of scenarios that constitute aggravated assault, many of them center upon the defendant attempting to cause or actually causing some level of bodily injury. In addition, the injury must have been caused either purposely, knowingly, or recklessly.

Some scenarios focus on an injury caused when the defendant acted under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life. Other incidents also involve a deadly weapon because these factors drive so many of the aggravated assault scenarios and give you a little bit more information.

When talking about the injury, many aggravated assaults involve attempts to cause the actual infliction of an unjustified injury. The level of injury ranges from simple bodily injury to a more severe, significant bodily injury, up to a serious bodily injury. Acting purposely, acting knowingly and acting recklessly are generally the same as in the simple assault definitions. However, the new terminology under aggravated assault is acting under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life.

The legal phrase focuses not on the state of mind of the defendants but on the circumstances under which the defendant acted. So, instead of looking whether the defendant is acting knowingly, purposely, or recklessly, the extreme indifference standard asks whether the defendant’s conduct resulted in a probability as opposed to mere possibility of injury.

One example would be if there were a crowd of people and you drove your car into the crowd, that would exhibit extreme indifference. The inclusion of a deadly weapon, not just involving firearms and knives but any object or substance that is not usually a weapon, can be used in a way that can cause serious bodily injury. One example would be using a brick to hit somebody.

Q: What Are Some Examples Of Aggravated Assault?

A: Some examples of aggravated assault would be to attempt to cause serious bodily injury or actually cause such injury purposely or knowingly or recklessly under the circumstances, manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life that could be either a second-degree, a third-degree, or a fourth-degree crime depending on whether a weapon is used or not. Then there is knowingly exhibiting extreme indifference to the value of human life. Pointing a firearm in the direction of another person is going to be a fourth-degree crime. It doesn’t matter whether the defendant believed the firearm was loaded or unloaded, as long as he put the person in that fear will be all that’s required.

Another example is causing bodily injury while fleeing or attempting to elude a law enforcement officer or unlawfully operating a motor vehicle. That’s going to be a second-degree crime. As long as injury was involved or the defendant committed another crime, it’s aggravated assault even if the defendant did not intend to cause injury.

Q: What Is Aggravated Assault With A Body Fluid?

A: Aggravated assault with a bodily fluid is a crime under 2C:12-13. It usually comes up in connection with corrections employees. These incidents happen in jails commonly. Taking the example of the movie The Silence of the Lambs, where an inmate ejaculates in his hand and then throws it at Jody Foster. Jails are not a fun place. Inmates will throw feces at the corrections officers and worse. That can also amount to blood, and it’s a pretty serious thing when you’re dealing with some people who have all kinds of different diseases in the jail.

If you need answers to frequently asked questions about aggravated assault, call the law office of attorney James Abate for a free initial consultation at 908-643-7005.

The Law Offices of James A. Abate LLC

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