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When a Car Becomes a Weapon: Assault by Auto in NJ

In today's world, where vehicular transportation is an essential part of our lives, it is important to be aware of the legal implications and consequences associated with the misuse of a motor vehicle. In the state of New Jersey, a car can turn into a weapon when used with malicious intent, leading to charges of assault by auto. This article aims to shed light on this legal offense and provide an understanding of its different degrees of severity.

I. Understanding Assault by Auto in New Jersey:

Assault by auto is a criminal offense in New Jersey that occurs when a person causes bodily injury to another individual using a motor vehicle, either intentionally or recklessly. The severity of the charge depends on the circumstances surrounding the incident, the driver’s intent, state of mind, and the resulting harm inflicted.

II. Degrees of Assault by Auto:

  • Disorderly Persons Offense:

A disorderly person's offense is the least severe category of assault by auto. It applies when a person causes bodily injury to another while operating a motor vehicle. This offense is punishable by up to six months in jail, fines, and a driver's license suspension.

  • Fourth Degree-Assault by Auto:

A fourth-degree crime is applicable when the offender operates a vehicle recklessly, willfully disregarding the safety of others on the road, displaying a disregard for the potential consequences of their actions, and causing serious bodily injury to another person.

Serious bodily injury refers to injuries that create a substantial risk of death, long-term disfigurement, protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily organ, or prolonged loss of consciousness. A conviction of a fourth-degree crime can result in up to 18 months in prison, significant fines, and a driver's license suspension.

  • Third Degree-Assault by Auto:

Assault by auto becomes a third-degree crime when the offender acts with extreme indifference to human life, resulting in serious bodily injury. Extreme indifference refers to behavior that shows a disregard for the value of human life, such as excessive speeding, racing, or participating in reckless driving contests.

If the driver caused bodily injury to another person while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or other substances and was within 1,000 feet of a school, they may be charged with third-degree assault by auto. A conviction for a third-degree crime can lead to 3-5 years in prison, substantial fines, and a driver's license suspension.

  • Second Degree-Assault by Auto:

The most severe form of assault by auto is a second-degree crime, which occurs when the offender causes serious bodily injury while under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or other substances and the accident happened within 1,000 feet of a school or school crossing.

Serious bodily injury refers to injuries that create a substantial risk of death, cause permanent disfigurement, or result in the loss or impairment of a bodily function. A conviction of a second-degree crime carries a potential sentence of 5-10 years in prison, hefty fines, and a driver's license suspension.

When faced with charges of assault by auto, it is crucial to seek legal representation from a qualified attorney who specializes in criminal defense. A skilled attorney may employ various defense strategies, including challenging the evidence, disputing the intent or recklessness of the defendant, or questioning the accuracy of witness testimonies.

Contact Davis Law Firm, LLC Today to Schedule a Free Consultation About Your Criminal Defense Case

At Davis Law Firm, we understand the gravity of assault by auto charges and the impact they can have on your life. Our team of dedicated attorneys has extensive experience in criminal defense, and we are committed to fighting tirelessly on your behalf.

With our firm, you gain access to a wealth of knowledge and expertise in New Jersey's legal system. We will carefully analyze the details of your case, exploring every angle and crafting a robust defense strategy tailored to your specific circumstances. Our goal is to minimize the potential consequences and strive for the best possible outcome.

Don't let a momentary lapse in judgment or a misunderstanding define your future. Trust the Davis Law Firm to provide you with a strong defense that safeguards your rights and interests. We have a proven track record of successfully handling criminal cases, and we are ready to put our skills to work for you.

Contact us today to schedule a confidential consultation. Let us be your unwavering advocates and help you navigate the legal complexities of your criminal charges. Remember, with us by your side, you are not alone in this fight.

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