With recent headlines, assaults taking place at sporting events or in relation to high school sports Jim Dowd have become a hot topic button. Whether the defendant is an adult and the victim a child or both parties are teenagers, the criminal penalties are severe. While charges were not brought against High School Hockey coach Jim Dowd by the Wall Township Police Department, the alleged actions did shed light on a concern amongst our community. While the civil complaint against Mr. Dowd still will proceed, the Wall P.D. declined to pursue criminal charges. The line between simple assault, a disorderly persons offense, and aggravated assault, an indictable crime, is not as wide as you may suspect. Depending on the location of the incident, a physical altercation between parents of opposing athletes could result in aggravated assault charges, even if the injuries were minor.

Assault at Youth Sporting Events for Youths

In 2002, the New Jersey Criminal Code was amended to add another aggravated assault offense. A simple assault, which is normally a disorderly persons offense, has been elevated to a crime of the fourth degree if it is committed in the presence of a child under 16 years of age and if the assault occurs at a school or community sponsored youth sports event. “School or community sponsored youth sports event” means a competition, practice or instructional event involving one or more interscholastic sports teams or youth sports teams organized pursuant to a nonprofit or similar charter or which are member teams in a youth league organized by or affiliated with a county or municipal recreation department. It does not include collegiate, semi-professional or professional sporting events. Therefore, punching, kicking or smacking another person at a Wall High School Football game could result in indictable charges at the Monmouth County Superior Court.

If convicted of a fourth degree assault, you face up to eighteen (18) months of imprisonment, along with a $10,000 fine. Alternative forms of sentencing could include anger management, probation, and community service.

If you or someone you love are facing charges for assault in Wall Township, NJ, then contact the Law Offices of Jonathan Marshall and receive your free consultation today.