Newark Defense Attorneys for Second Degree Aggravated Assault while Eluding
Eluding an officer is a serious act that can lead to harsh consequences, especially when someone is injured because of your actions. Aggravated assault while eluding police is known as a strict liability offense and a second-degree crime. If you are charged with aggravated assault while eluding law enforcement, you urgently require the representation of an excellent, skilled criminal defense attorney. A conviction usually results in jail time, and you need someone who knows how to defend you in the best way possible.
Contact our criminal attorneys to discuss your aggravated assault and eluding case and get the answers you need to prepare for what happens next. We can talk you through the details of these serious second degree felony charges and explain how we can help you present the best case in your favor as we have done for so many clients in Essex County and elsewhere in New Jersey. Call 201-654-3464 for a free consultation.
The Five Required Elements of a 2nd Degree Assault for Eluding Offense in New Jersey
The prosecution, beyond a reasonable doubt, must prove five elements.
- To begin, the defendant must have been driving a motor vehicle.
- Secondly, the driver must have been instructed to stop by the police (lights, siren, hand signals).
- Third, the defendant must have purposefully evaded law enforcement.
- Fourth, the driver must have been fully aware of their actions.
- Finally, bodily injury to bystanders or law enforcement while eluding must have occurred.
It is imperative for the prosecutor to prove that the defendant hurt someone in an attempt to elude police, and was it not for that attempt, no one would have been harmed.
What are the Penalties for Aggravated Assault While Eluding Police in NJ?
This is a second-degree offense as a type of aggravated assault. A conviction carries a penalty of 5-10 years in prison. Because this crime falls under the No Early Release Act, at least one-third or one-half of the imposed jail sentence must be completed before the sentenced person can receive parole. There is also a fine of up to $150,000.
Understanding a Mandatory Minimum Sentence for this Offense
Minimum mandatory sentencing began in the 1990s with a movement to make penalties for drug-related convictions stricter. Since then, minimum sentencing has spilled over into other areas. According to a recent study conducted by the University of Maryland in 2018, approximately 75% of judges encounter minimum mandatory sentences in their daily work on the bench. 83% of the judges surveyed in the study were uncomfortable using minimum sentencing in every instance and felt it took away from the flexibility of providing alternatives to incarceration. Some judges expressed feeling guilty when being forced to apply a mandatory minimum sentence. The minimum mandatory sentence for aggravated assault while eluding police is five years of incarceration.
If your attorney can prove that the defendant’s attempt to elude law enforcement was not intentional or there are other circumstances such as the police car was unmarked, or there was no apparent indication that the defendant was the target of the stop, a plea deal may be garnered with the prosecutor, lessening the charge to third or fourth-degree eluding. The lesser charges offer PTI (Pre-Trial Intervention), which includes community service, payment of restitution, and random drug testing for 1 to 3 years. The program keeps the indictable offense the defendant is charged with off their criminal record as long as the program is successfully completed and they aren’t arrested again.
What Other Charges Can A Defendant Face for Causing Injury while Eluding?
Depending on how the situation played out, there are many other charges a defendant can face. Some are minor traffic offenses such as speeding, failing to yield a stop sign or traffic signal, and unsafe lane changes. More serious charges could include reckless driving, driving under the influence of drugs, driving while intoxicated, driving on a suspended or revoked license, or driving the wrong way towards oncoming traffic. Weapons and drug charges are possible if they are found in the car. Auto theft charges could be applied if the driver in question was not the car’s owner. Resisting arrest, crossing state lines to elude police, and manslaughter may even occur if the injured party passed on due to their condition.
Any combination of these charges, in addition to aggravated assault while eluding police, can add on many more years of incarceration and expensive fines. Unless mandatory sentencing is required, the judge can order that the sentences for each crime be served concurrently (all simultaneously) or consecutively (one after the other). The New Jersey court system judges can choose either way to apply the sentence. There are guidelines that apply involving aggravated and mitigating circumstances.
Aggravating circumstances are instances such as a defendant who has several convictions, there are clear indications that they are directly involved in gang or drug-related activity, the victim(s) of the crime were seriously injured or killed, and the sheer quantity of offenses committed simultaneously shows a profound disregard for the law. Mitigating circumstances include mild injuries on the part of the victim(s), the defendant has no prior history of crime, the demeanor and attitude of the defendant demonstrate sincere remorse and a desire to complete restitution measures, and the defendant’s conduct was a combination of circumstances that are not likely to reoccur.
Will I Be Responsible if Someone Got Hurt During the Eluding Incident?
If you injure someone in a car accident or hit a pedestrian while eluding police, the prosecutor will likely charge you with second-degree eluding and aggravated assault. Though it may be more challenging to avoid prison with multiple second-degree charges, your attorney may still be able to plea bargain with the prosecutor for lesser charges. For example, they can agree to charge you with a fourth-degree resisting arrest charge in exchange for a guilty plea. In that way, you avoid the incarceration presumption and open possibilities for probation or diversion.
Need a Criminal Defense Lawyer for Aggravated Assault while Eluding Police in Essex County
The possible outcome of the charges for aggravated assault while eluding law enforcement is serious. This is a second-degree crime that, in all likelihood, will have other charges added due to the nature of the crime. It is imperative that you have excellent representation. The skilled and knowledgeable attorneys at our law firm have what it takes to work hard and get you the best possible result. Our lawyers know the factors that will determine your future, and with our skills, it is possible to get your charges reduced or dropped, depending on the circumstances. We have the experience of negotiating a plea bargain and getting charges lessened or dropped altogether. By focusing on your mitigating circumstances, your charge could be lowered to a third or fourth degree, making it possible for you to avoid jail time and participate in the PTI program, keeping your record spotless.
Our team of lawyers has handled numerous cases in Verona, Essex Fells, Livingston, Millburn, Bloomfield, West Caldwell, Maplewood, Belleville, and Montclair. We serve all towns and cities in the greater Essex County region. If you or someone you know needs a criminal defense attorney for an aggravated assault while eluding charge, contact us today for your free consultation at 201-654-3464.