Common DC Assault Charges
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What Are Assault Charges?
An assault can be defined as the use of force or threats on an individual that causes them to have a reasonable fear of an immediate injury. For instance, if a person acts as if they are going to hit or attempt to hit another individual, and that individual reasonably believes that they could be injured, the alleged attacker could face assault charges. In other words, even threatening someone menacingly without completing the act can result in assault charges. However, certain aspects of the assault have to be proven to be convicted.
Assault crimes are treated very seriously in the District of Columbia. Moreover, there are many different types of assault charges depending on the circumstances of the crimes. In some instances, assault can be prosecuted as a felony charge.
Facing assault charges can be scary, and a conviction comes with serious penalties, fines, and other consequences. If you are in this situation, a DC assault lawyer at Scrofano Law PC may be able to help you defend such charges successfully.
Understanding what type of assault offense you are charged with is crucial because it may affect the potential penalties you are facing. Title 22, Chapter 4 of the Code of the District of Columbia, deals with different assault offenses.
Simple assault is probably the most common assault charge. Such charges can be brought even if there are no or minimal injuries to either party.
Minor fights, scuffles between roommates, or minor family conflicts that don’t result in serious injuries can lead to simple assault charges.
Additionally, threatening someone in a way that would cause another person to fear immediate injury can also be categorized as a simple assault. For instance, when a person abruptly raises their fist in the direction of another individual, even though they had no intention of physically striking them.
Simple assault is a misdemeanor crime that can result in up to 180 days in jail, a fine of up to $1,000, or both.
If an assault results in an injury that requires hospitalization, such as broken bones, loss of consciousness, or severe pain, assault can be prosecuted as a felony offense. Felony-level assault charges can result in harsher fines and prison time if a person is convicted.
These felony charges can include:
Assault with significant bodily injury
Assault with a dangerous weapon
Assault with the intent to kill, rob, or poison or to commit first-degree sexual abuse, second-degree sexual abuse, or child sexual abuse
Assault with the intent to commit any other offense
In these cases, an assault includes added elements such as whether a weapon was used or whether there was a specific intent. Moreover, some of these charges include additional criminal conduct along with the offense of assault. Let’s look at some of these crimes in detail:
Assault With the Intent to Murder, Poison, or Commit Sexual Abuse
If an individual is found guilty of:
Attempting to harm someone with the intention to cause death
Trying to commit first-degree sexual abuse, second-degree sexual abuse, or child sexual abuse
Mixing poison with the intent to cause harm
Deliberately contaminating a well, spring, or cistern of water with harmful intent
They will face a mandatory prison sentence of no less than 2 years and up to a maximum of 15 years. Additionally, the guilty party may be subject to fines, with the maximum fine applicable specified in § 22-3571.01.
Assault With the Intent to Commit Mayhem or With a Dangerous Weapon
In cases where an individual is found guilty of assault with the intent to cause mayhem or when a dangerous weapon is involved, they face a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment. Furthermore, the offender may be subject to hefty fines.
Aggravated assault occurs when an individual:
- Intentionally or purposely inflicts severe bodily harm on another person by any means.
- Engages in conduct that deliberately endangers another person’s life, causing serious bodily injury while showing a reckless disregard for human life.
For those convicted of aggravated assault, penalties may include fines, imprisonment for up to 10 years, or a combination of both.
However, if, for example, the aggravated assault doesn’t result in a serious bodily injury, the defendant may face charges for an attempted aggravated assault. For such charges, it’s necessary to show that the defendant acted with extreme indifference to human life and that their behavior created a severe risk of serious bodily injury to another person. In cases of attempted aggravated assault, penalties may involve fines, imprisonment for a maximum of 5 years, or a combination of both. These consequences aim to address and deter such serious offenses.
Defense Strategies Against Assault
Possible defenses against assault charges in DC include:
- Self-Defense: Arguing that the assault was legally justified, typically based on self-defense. This defense hinges on proving that force was necessary, reasonable, and proportional to prevent harm from being caused by the alleged victim.
- Defense of Others: Similar to self-defense, this argument focuses on protecting someone else from harm, provided the belief in the danger is reasonable.
- False Accusation: Challenging the accuser’s credibility by demonstrating inconsistencies, witnesses’ statements, video evidence, or circumstantial proof that the claim is fabricated or exaggerated.
- Mistaken Identity: Asserting that the wrong person was accused or questioning the accuracy of the identification. Providing evidence that the defendant has an alibi or doesn’t match the assailant’s description can be pivotal.
- Consent: If consent was given for a touch or act, it may negate an assault charge unless the actions exceeded the agreed-upon scope.
- Innocence: Establishing an alibi or presenting witness testimony that the accused couldn’t have committed the assault, including cases of mistaken identity.
How Can Attorneys From Scrofano Law PC Help With Assault Charges?
Whether a misdemeanor or a felony, an assault offense in Washington, D.C., is a serious crime that can have detrimental consequences on the defendant.
A skilled DC assault lawyer from Scrofano Law PC can subpoena witnesses to testify on your behalf or challenge the prosecutor’s evidence. We can also help you find mitigating circumstances that can reduce the potential sentence.
If you have more questions on assault charges in DC, don’t hesitate to contact a DC criminal lawyer from Scrofano Law PC. Let’s figure out a way to help you. Contact us for a free consultation today!
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