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Consequences of Being Charged with Assault at a Youth Sporting Event in NJ

April 27, 2024

Evesham Township Defense Lawyers for Assault at a Youth Sports Event

Charged with Aggravated Assault at a Youth Sporting Event in Burlington County NJ

Where do you draw the line between passionate support for your child and their team and criminal conduct? Parents get heated watching their children play sports, arousing their competitive and protective instincts. Rivalry, mixed with dangerous players, poor officiating calls, and long-standing grudges with teams and coaches, can make sporting events a ground for festering anger and outbursts. Shouting matches turn into throwing punches until the police arrive. It may be just a game to most, but when someone gets hurt in an altercation at a youth sporting event, New Jersey law takes it seriously. For that reason, assault at a youth sporting event exposes you to severe consequences, as this is considered an indictable fourth degree crime in New Jersey, equivalent to a felony in another state. Over a year in prison, thousands in fines, and an indictable offense conviction on your record demand that these charges be taken seriously. Securing the best defense representation you can is paramount to avoid prison and the ramifications of a criminal conviction.

Trust our skilled criminal defense lawyers to help you escape the worst consequences of a heated response at the wrong place and time. Proetta, Oliver, & Fay is equipped to help you defend your case if you have been charged with assault at a youth sports event in Pemberton, Cinnaminson, Mount Holly, Evesham Township, Mount Laurel, Riverside, Florence, Bordentown, or another Burlington County municipality. Contact our local office in Marlton at 609-850-8284 for a free consultation. An attorney on our defense team is available now to discuss your case.

Charges for Assault at a Youth Sporting Event in Burlington County, New Jersey

N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1f charges anyone who commits simple assault when children under 16 are playing at a school or community-sponsored sports event with a fourth degree crime. A conviction may occur when the state proves beyond a reasonable doubt that an assault occurred, which means someone intentionally or recklessly caused or attempted to cause another physical injury at a youth sporting event while a minor younger than 16 years old was present. The injuring action must be more than a mere accident. In other words, someone must mean to cause someone harm by inflicting or attempting to inflict pain on another.

A reckless action may also be the source of an assault charge. For example, when someone aggressively pushes someone out of their way forcefully enough to cause them to fall, that may be assault. The individual may not have intended the person to fall, but pushing someone with such force that they do fall may amount to reckless behavior since a fall is not an unexpected result of a rough push.

The essence of recklessness is that the actor consciously disregards the risk that the injury would result. Circumstances may play a role in determining recklessness. Let’s say someone pushes another on a narrow bench in the school stadium stands, then the probability of someone losing their balance and falling among the bleachers to their physical damage is relatively high.

Negligently causing someone injury or fear of injury with a deadly weapon can also result in an assault offense. A lethal weapon includes a gun, instrument, device, or anything else that can seriously hurt or kill someone. Negligence, like recklessness, is taking an unjustifiable risk that harm could reasonably be expected from your actions. A deadly weapon may also be the source of placing another in fear of immediate severe physical harm or physical menace, like exposing a knife or gun to someone as a threat.

What Constitutes a School or Community Event for the Purposes of N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1f?

As long as the assault occurred at a school or community event in the presence of a minor under 16 (even if the actor did not know minors were around), then the actor is guilty of a fourth degree crime under N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1f. A school or community event includes any activity considered a game, competition, practice, or training with youth sports teams existing under the auspices of a nonprofit organization or similar organization in a city’s community recreation section.

Lack of Knowledge vs. Strict Liability in Aggravated Assault at Youth Sports Event Cases

It is not a defense to the crime that the accused did not know that a minor under 16 was present when they acted and caused another harm. In other words, one who assaults another at a youth sporting event in the presence of a minor under 16 is strictly liable for the crime. The state does not have to prove that the accused knew or did not know the minor was present.

Criminal Penalties for Fourth Degree Assault at a Youth Sporting Event in NJ

When the state does prove all the elements of this crime, the accused is looking at up to 18 months in state prison and a maximum fine of $10,000.00. A simple assault in circumstances other than at a youth sporting event with a minor under 16 present is a disorderly persons offense, punishable by up to six months in jail and a $1,000.00 fine.

A conviction for fourth-degree assault at a sporting event can change your life when you face financial obstacles and embarrassment due to a criminal record. You could even lose your job, be denied your new apartment, or get expelled from a university as a result. The legislature enacted the law to curb the notorious violence at youth competitions, and the consequences of violating the law are severe.

Mount Laurel Assault at a Youth Sports Event Attorneys

If the police arrested and charged you with violating N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1f, hire a criminal defense attorney who represents clients accused of assault at youth sporting events and community-sponsored events, such as our attorneys at Proetta, Oliver, & Fay. Our familiarity with this crime can benefit your defense and help to avoid your potential sentence. For example, our aggravated assault defense lawyers may negotiate a deal with the prosecution that allows you to avoid jail. If this is your first offense, you may be sentenced to attend anger management classes and counseling rather than serving a prison term. Our lawyers also have the know-how to highlight some mitigating circumstances that help lower your sentence, such as provocation and mutual consent of the injured party.

Another factor is where the altercation occurred and how far away a youth under 16 was in relation to the fight. Could the minor see what happened, or did they not even know that a fight had occurred? You might not avoid a conviction altogether, but our skilled attorneys may be able to reduce your charges to a disorderly persons offense. We may also help you gain access to a probationary program that allows for a dismissal of the charges at the completion of the probationary period. Lastly, when the situation warrants it, our litigators are fully prepared to go toe to toe with the prosecution and defeat the state’s charges at a trial.

If you face charges of assault at a youth sporting event in Burlington County towns such as Willingboro, Shamong, Springfield, Palmyra, New Hanover, Edgewater, or Chesterfield, do not take chances. Contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at our firm today at 609-850-8284.

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525 Highway 73,
Suite 104, Marlton,
New Jersey 08053
Phone: 609-850-8284
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Boulevard, Hamilton,
New Jersey, 08691
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3828 River Road,
Suite A, Point Pleasant,
New Jersey 08742
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Middletown Office

180 Kings Highway,
Middletown Township,
New Jersey 07748
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