DC Assault Lawyer
Scrofano Law PC defends all types of criminal assault cases, including violent offenses
Typical violent offenses typically include crimes like simple assault, assault on a police officer, threats, assault with a dangerous weapon, assault with intent to kill, robbery, armed robbery, kidnapping, and murder.
The most common assault type offense in the District of Columbia is simple assault. Simple assault is a misdemeanor that carries a maximum penalty of 180 days in jail and/or a $1,000.00 fine. That is the maximum allowable penalty under the law. It does not mean if convicted the defendant will automatically get that sentence. Its just the legal maximum sentence. Simple assaults often occur at bars and other public places where one individual physically touches another in an unwanted way.
However, not all physical touching is considered an assault. For example, if you get on the metro and its so crowded someone accidentally bumps into you, that is not considered an assault. In addition, if friends are horsing around and the touching is with consent, then that also is not an assault. Whether a physical touching constitutes an assault comes down to the mental state of the parties involved. If someone knocks a drink out of your hand purposely, that can be an assault even though the person never even touched your body. Moreover, things like spitting or threatening someone that do not involve person to person contact can also be considered an assault.
Several defenses exist to assault type offenses. These include self-defense, defense of others, and mistake or accident. Self-defense typically boils down to the reasonableness of one’s actions. If someone shoves another person, it would not be self-defense for that person to shoot or stab the other in response. Defense of others is when so
meone steps in to protect a third-party from being assaulted by another. The same reasonableness standard applies to that defense as well. Finally, mistake or accident is a defense to assault. As previously mentioned, if someone accidentally bumps into another person, the fact that the person did not intend to do the physical touching makes it not an assault.
The United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia prosecutes assault offense in DC. Diversion options are usually limited in these types of cases and often the government will offer diversion only when the complaining witness (or alleged victim) will agree to a resolution of the case through diversion. Misdemeanor threats is a crime that also carries a maximum penalty of 180 days and/or a $1,000.00 crime.
More violent assault crimes like assault with a dangerous weapon, assault with significant bodily injury, assault with intent to kill, and murder are felony offenses that can include substantial prison time if convicted. Assault with significant bodily injury is just like simple assault but with the added element of causing what DC law considers a significant bodily injury. Cases in the District of Columbia Court of Appeals have created a high standard for what constitutes significant bodily injury. Typically, the victim must sustain an injury that requires some form of medical attention. Bruises, bumps, and scrapes are not typically enough to satisfy the element for significant bodily injury.
If you or someone you know is charged with a DC assault offense whether it’s a misdemeanor or a serious felony, contact Scrofano Law PC today for a full consultation and case evaluation.