Experienced DC Assault Lawyer Protecting Your Rights
Have you been charged with a misdemeanor or felony assault in Washington, DC? Hire a skilled DC assault lawyer from Scrofano Law. Contact us today!
What Are Assault Offenses?
Scrofano Law PC defends all types of criminal assault cases, including violent offenses. Typical assault offenses include crimes like simple assault, assault on a law enforcement officer, threats, assault with a dangerous weapon, felony assault, resisting arrest, assault with serious bodily injury, and battery.
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 it’s so crowded that 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 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 physical contact can also be considered an assault.
All of this information can be easily explained to you by an experienced Washington, DC, assault lawyer.
Misdemeanor Assault Offenses
The most common assault-type offense in the District of Columbia is simple assault. Simple assault in DC 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. It’s just the legal maximum sentence.
Assault on a police officer is a misdemeanor assault offense in the District of Columbia. It is very similar to simple assault charges, but for the government to prove this crime, it must show the victim or complainant is a police officer. This crime carries a maximum penalty of 6 months in jail and/or a $1,000.00 fine. This offense is also jury demandable. However, the government prosecutors may amend the charge to simple assault to deny the defendant a jury trial.
Threats to bodily harm is a crime similar to assault and a misdemeanor in the District of Columbia. Threats require the government to prove that the defendant spoke words to another that caused that person to reasonably believe the threatened harm would occur and that the defendant intended to say the words they said. It carries a maximum penalty of 6 months in jail, which makes it jury-demandable. However, the Washington DC government often amends this charge to “attempted threats” to deny the defendant a jury trial.
Contact an assault lawyer to decide on the best course of action for your defense. They will have a clear understanding of the various assault charges and can help you determine if your case falls under one of them.
Read on to learn more about the different types of assault charges and how a DC assault lawyer can help protect your rights and clear your name.
Felony Assault Offenses
Another common assault offense in Washington, DC, is felony assault or assault with serious bodily harm. A felony assault has basically the same elements as a simple assault, except it requires that the complaining witness suffer what the law defines as a “significant bodily injury.”
Assault and battery 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. Assault with significant bodily injury carries a maximum penalty of up to three years in prison and/or a fine of $12,500.00
Assault with a deadly weapon is another felony assault crime in Washington, DC that requires the same elements of simple assault. However, this crime requires an added element that the government proves the defendant used a dangerous weapon in the commission of the crime. This felony offense carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and/or a $25,000.00 fine, and this is where you can get the most help from your Washington, DC, lawyer.
Felony threats are an offense that requires the government to prove the same elements as misdemeanor threats, but the words must make the listener fear serious injury or kidnapping. Felony threats carry a maximum penalty of up to 20 years in prison and/or a $5,000.00 fine.
Defenses to DC Assault Crimes
Several defenses exist to assault-type offenses in Washington, DC. Some of the most common include the following:
Self-defense is a defense that allows someone who committed an assault to be still found not guilty if the person acted in self-defense. This means the person reasonably believed they needed to use some level of force or violence against another to protect themselves from imminent harm by that other person.
Defense of Others
Defense of others is similar to self-defense, but it involves using force or violence to protect another person from imminent bodily harm. The defendant must reasonably believe the other person is in immediate danger of being harmed by someone else. For example, if a person sees someone being attacked and they intervene to stop the attack, they may be able to use the defense of others as a defense.
Defense of Property
Assault cases occasionally also involve the defense of property, such as when a homeowner uses force against an intruder in their home. In this case, the defendant must prove that they reasonably believed using force was necessary to protect their property and that the force used was proportionate to the danger faced.
Mistake of Fact
A mistake of fact can be a defense in assault cases where the defendant had a good faith belief that their actions were necessary and legal. For example, suppose someone mistakenly believes that another person is about to attack them. In that case, they may use self-defense as a defense, even if it turns out that the other person had no intention of attacking.
How a DC Assault Lawyer Can Help
Facing an assault charge, whether it is a misdemeanor or aggravated assault, can have serious consequences. In addition to potential jail time and fines, an assault charge can also result in a criminal record that may impact future employment opportunities and other aspects of your life. That’s why it is crucial to seek the help of an experienced DC assault lawyer who can protect your rights and fight for the best possible outcome in your case.
To build a strong defense and challenge the evidence against you, your lawyer may:
Conduct a thorough investigation into the incident, including gathering witness statements and reviewing any available surveillance footage or other evidence.
Challenge the credibility of witnesses and the accuracy of their testimony.
Present evidence to support any potential defenses, such as self-defense or lack of intent.
Negotiate with prosecutors for a reduced charge or sentence.
Advocate for alternative sentencing options, such as probation or community service, to avoid incarceration.
Remember, even if you are innocent of the charged assault offense, it is crucial to have a strong legal defense on your side. Your lawyer can help guide you through the criminal justice process and ensure that your rights are protected every step of the way.
Contact an Experienced DC Criminal Defense Lawyer Today
Whether you are charged with a misdemeanor or felony assault in Washington, DC, facing the full weight of the criminal justice system is impossible to do alone. Often, an assault arrest may occur after the incident takes place and the police investigate the crime. In those cases, the defendant may get a call from a detective informing the person that the police have an arrest warrant.
You must contact an experienced Washington, DC, assault lawyer in that instance. A Washington, DC, assault attorney can arrange a self-surrender where you turn yourself in at a scheduled time. Doing it that way may save you from spending the night in jail, can speed up the booking process, and ultimately minimize the amount of time you spend in custody.
At Scrofano Law PC, we have successfully defended individuals charged with assault crimes. We will thoroughly investigate the charges against you and provide you with the best possible defense based on the facts of your situation.
If you or someone you know is charged with a Washington, DC, assault offense, whether it’s a misdemeanor or a serious felony, contact Scrofano Law PC today for a full consultation and case evaluation from an experienced lawyer.
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