Governor Christie has signed a new road rage law, known as “Jessica Rogers Law”, named for a victim who was paralyzed as a result of a road rage accident. The new law upgrades the offense of assault by auto in cases involving road rage. It creates a third degree offense which is punishable by three to five years imprisonment if serious bodily injury results and a fourth degree offense punishable by up to 18 months imprisonment if bodily injury results.
Under the law, a person is guilty if he/she operates an automobile in an aggressive manner directed at another vehicle and bodily injury results. Aggressive manner includes, but is not limited to, unexpected altering of speed, erratic and improper lane changes, disregarding traffic control devices such as stop signs and lights, failing to yield the right of way, or following another vehicle too closely.
Prior to this law, a person could only be charged at most with a fourth degree assault by auto under N.J.S.A 2C:12-1c(1) based upon reckless driving that results in serious bodily injury. Although this new law is well-intentioned, it will likely be very difficult for the State to distinguish “aggressive” driving directed at another driver from general reckless behavior under the lesser charge. Another problem will likely be establishing which driver was truly the aggressor.
Timothy Farrow, of Dash Farrow, LLP, is an experienced criminal defense attorney and former Prosecutor who handles these offense and crimes, misdemeanors, and traffic offense of all levels. When you need experienced, focused, and responsive legal help, call Dash Farrow, LLP at 856-235-8300 or contact us online at www.dashfarrow.com. We serve individuals and businesses throughout Burlington and Camden County and all of South Jersey