With a significant number of impatient drivers on the road, you should be aware that road rage is not only very dangerous but also against the law in New Jersey. However, you may not think that incidences of road rage may be escalated and charged as aggravated assault – a very serious criminal offense.
When you think of assault, you likely think of a physical fight involving punches and other combat. However, assault can be alleged even if you never actually touch anyone and even if you are in your car. One incident in NJ demonstrates how road rage can lead to serious criminal charges.
According to reports, a school bus driver was trying to unlawfully pass a FedEx truck. In response, video evidence shows the FedEx driver swerved toward the bus, as if to threaten to crash into it. While both drivers were cited for traffic violations, the accusations against the FedEx driver also included aggravated assault.
Aggravated Assault and Penalties
Assault occurs anytime someone injures someone or attempts to injure someone, thereby putting them in fear of imminent harm. Neither harm nor physical contact must occur for assault charges to be issued. In the above case, the threat of crashing into the bus was enough for the prosecutor to pursue assault charges.
In addition, simple assault can be escalated to aggravated assault due to several different factors set out by NJ law. Such factors include:
- Bodily injury occurred
- Knowing or reckless actions
- Acting with a deadly weapon (which can include a vehicle)
- While eluding police officers
- The identity of the victim – including emergency personnel, law enforcement officers, school personnel, judges, bus or train operators, utility workers, health care workers, among others.
Because the alleged victim of the FedEx driver was involved in his duties as a school bus driver, the charges could be escalated to aggravated assault.
If convicted, the penalties for aggravated assault can include up to ten years in prison and a fine up to $150,000, depending on the degree of the crime charged. Therefore, it is critical to seek assistance from a highly experienced assault defense attorney if you have been arrested.
Call 732-662-7658 today for a free consultation.
Assault charges can be severe and can arise from a variety of circumstances. If you have been charged with is or any other criminal offense, call the Law Offices of Leon Matchin for more information about our criminal defense services.