Pennsylvania + New Jersey Aggravated Assault Lawyer
If you have been arrested for aggravated assault in Pennsylvania or New Jersey, you should consult with an experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. Compared to other types of assault charges, aggravated assault is among the most serious crimes a defendant can be accused of committing. An aggravated assault conviction can put a defendant in prison for years, cost many thousands of dollars, and have other consequences when it comes to employment, gun ownership, housing opportunities, military service, and more.
Make sure that you are working with a knowledgeable defense attorney who has extensive experience handling felony assault cases. At the law offices of Young, Marr & Associates, we bring over 30 years of experience to every case we take on. We know the defenses, we know the strategies, and we know how to protect your rights. For a free legal consultation, contact us online today.
What is Aggravated Assault?
Pennsylvania’s assault laws are compiled under Chapter 27 of Title 18 of the Pennsylvania Code. This chapter outlines various types of assault charges in Pennsylvania. Aggravated assault is just one of many assault offenses, and is charged under 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 2702. In New Jersey, aggravated assault is charged under N.J.S.A. § 2C:12-1b.
Aggravated assault charges should not be confused with “simple” assault charges, which are based in other laws. In Pennsylvania, the simple assault statute is found at 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 2701; in New Jersey, at N.J.S.A. § 2C:12-1a.
Aggravated assault is a more serious crime than simple assault due to the severity of the injuries involved. The legal definition of aggravated assault is also different from the definition of simple assault, which means that prosecutors have to prove a different set of facts for a defendant to be found guilty.
There are no fewer than nine situations where a person can be charged with aggravated assault in Pennsylvania. Some examples include:
- Attempting to seriously injure someone
- Deliberately or “recklessly” causing serious injury “under circumstances [that show] extreme indifference to the value of human life”
- Intentionally causing injury “with a deadly weapon,” such as a knife or gun
New Jersey’s aggravated assault law contains similar terms and follows similar definitions. For example, under N.J.S.A. § 2C:12-1b(3), it is aggravated assault to “recklessly” inflict injury “with a deadly weapon.”
Aggravated Assault Felony Penalties: Sentencing and Fines
New Jersey and Pennsylvania follow different systems for categorizing and punishing criminal offenses like aggravated assault. In Pennsylvania, crimes are typically called “misdemeanors” or “felonies,” with felonies being more serious. In New Jersey, the word “crime” or “indictable crime” indicates a felony. Instead of using the word “misdemeanor,” New Jersey uses the term “disorderly persons offense.”
Unlike simple assault, which is a misdemeanor (in Pennsylvania) or disorderly persons offense (in New Jersey), aggravated assault is felony (in Pennsylvania) or indictable crime (in New Jersey). That means there are severe penalties for defendants who are convicted, including prison time and debilitating fines.
Penalties for Aggravated Assault in Pennsylvania
In Pennsylvania, the penalties for aggravated assault depend on how the crime is classified, or “graded.” Depending on how they are graded, some felonies have greater penalties than others.
The way the crime is graded depends on factors like the defendant’s intent, whether the defendant used a firearm or other deadly weapons, and even the age difference between the defendant and the other person. Depending on these factors, aggravated assault is graded as either a second degree felony or a first degree felony. The lower the number, the more serious the offense, making a felony of the first degree the most serious type of felony charge.
In Pennsylvania, the maximum penalties for a first degree felony can include a prison sentence of up to 20 years, plus a fine as high as $25,000. In addition, the defendant may be ordered to pay the victim restitution. Pennsylvania’s maximum penalty for a second degree felony is a fine of $25,000, and a prison sentence of up to 10 years.
Penalties for Aggravated Assault in NJ
Like Pennsylvania, New Jersey enforces tougher penalties for aggravated assault than for simple assault. And, once again, there are different levels of penalties depending on how the crime is graded.
Similar to how aggravated assault is either a first degree felony or second degree felony in Pennsylvania, aggravated assault can classified as a fourth degree crime, third degree crime, or second degree crime in New Jersey. Again, grading depends on the details specific to the offense.
The maximum penalties for a fourth degree crime in New Jersey can include fines of up to $10,000, and up to 18 months (one and a half years) in prison. The penalty for a third degree crime is more severe: a sentence as long as five years, and a fine as large as $15,000.
The most serious penalties can arise in cases where aggravated assault is graded as a crime of the second degree. In New Jersey, the criminal penalty for a second degree crime can include a fine of up to $150,000, and up to a decade in prison.
Aggravated Assault Attorneys Serving Pennsylvania and NJ
The aggravated assault lawyers of Young, Marr & Associates provide criminal defense representation throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Our trial attorneys represent adults and juveniles, including individuals who have been accused of violating probation or parole.
We know that you are feeling nervous and anxious about dealing with the legal system, and we will work tirelessly to protect and uphold your constitutional rights at every step of the way. To set up a free legal consultation about aggravated assault charges in New Jersey, call (609) 257-4019. For a free consultation about an arrest in Pennsylvania, call (215) 372-8667. Our phones are open 24 hours. Additionally, you can also contact us online.