The crime known as assault by auto arises when someone recklessly operates a car, truck, boat or other motor vehicle and it results in injury to a passenger, pedestrian or another motorist. Depending on the underlying circumstances of the accident including, but not limited to the severity of the injuries to the third party, assault by auto can be a second degree, third degree, or even fourth degree crime. The discussion that follows breaks this charge down by individual grade of crime. If you have been charged with assault by auto, we encourage you to contact our office at 908-272-1700. We are one of the largest defense firms of the state and have been defending criminal charges like this at the Elizabeth Courthouse for decades now. A knowledgeable attorney, possibly one of the former prosecutors on our team, is ready to assist you now.
Assault by Auto Resulting from Driving While Intoxicated (“DWI”)
When an individual operates a motor vehicle in violation of the Driving While Intoxicated Law (“DWI) or Breath Test Consent Law (“Refusal”) and it results in serious bodily injury, third degree assault by auto occurs. If bodily injury is sustained, it is a fourth degree crime. The potential penalties resulting from third degree assault by auto include 5 years in prison and a $15,000 fine. The maximum penalties for fourth degree assault by auto include 18 months in state prison and a $10,000 fine. If serious bodily injury results from DWI in a school zone, then the offense is enhances to second degree assault by auto. The jail term and fine can reach 10 years and $15,000 if you are convicted of second degree assault by auto.
- “Bodily Injury” means physical pain, illness or any impairment of physical condition.
- “Serious Bodily Injury” is bodily injury which creates a substantial risk of death or which causes serious permanent disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function
of any bodily member or organ.
Fourth Degree Assault by Auto
When an individual recklessly operates a motor vehicle and it results in serious bodily injury, assault by auto is a fourth degree crime. “Recklessly” is defined as the conscious disregard of a substantial and unjustifiable risk. The risk must be of such a nature and degree that, considering the nature and purpose of the actor’s conduct and the circumstances known to him, its disregard involves a gross deviation from the standard of conduct that a reasonable person would observe in the actor’s situation.
It is also a fourth degree aggravated assault to operate a motor vehicle in “an aggressive manner directed at another vehicle” resulting in accident with bodily injury to another.
Third Degree Assault by Auto
If an individual purposely drivers his/her car, truck or other vehicle in an aggressive manner previously described and it results in serious bodily injury to another, it is a third degree crime. An individual acts “purposely” when it is his conscious object to engage in conduct of that nature or to cause such a result.
Accidents Resulting from Talking On A Cell Phone. In accordance with N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1(c)(1), an inference of recklessness is created if the accused as operating a hand-held wireless telephone at or about the time of the accident.
Elizabeth NJ Assault by Auto Defense Attorneys
If you are facing an assault by auto indictment and/or a related second degree aggravated assault charge, you case definitely will be heard in one place, the Union County Superior Court, 2 Broad Street, Elizabeth, NJ 07201. This is the court that decides all felony indictable crimes that have been filed in the county. Accordingly, whether your accident occurred in Linden, Roselle Park, Rahway or another municipality, it will go to Elizabeth for prosecution. Our attorneys are experienced in working in this court, with this prosecutor’s office, and in handling assault by auto cases. We are prepared to assist you now in a free initial consultation at 908-272-1700.