Washington DC Assault Lawyer
An assault in DC is defined as the threat or the use of force on another person that caused that person to have a reasonable apprehension of imminent harmful or offensive contact.
When facing an assault charge in the DC, a DC criminal lawyer can help you navigate through the complicated DC legal system. A skilled DC assault attorney will be essential in giving you a detailed examination of DC assault laws.
Types of Assault
In DC, a person may be charged with simple assault (misdemeanor), assault with significant injury, or aggravated assault. Simple assault is when a person makes an attempt or effort, with the use of violence, to injure another person, and at the time of the attempt has the ability to injure the person. A DC simple assault charge also requires that the action is committed voluntarily and on purpose. A simple assault offense can also be charged under an “intent to frighten” theory.
Simple assault convictions in DC are punishable by a fine of up to $1,000, as well as a period of imprisonment not to exceed 180 days. It is important to note that someone may be charged with simple assault in DC by the mere threat of violence with the apparent means to actually carry out the threat.
It is a common misconception in simple assault cases that an accuser has the ability to drop charges or not press charges. That is not true. Any criminal case, including a simple assault case, is filed and prosecuted by the US Attorneys’ office. That means that an alleged victim does not have the ability to decline to press charges or drop charges. That is solely up to the US Attorneys’ office. The US Attorneys’ office will consider the feelings and the desires of the alleged victim when deciding how to proceed in the matter, but the US Attorneys’ office can prosecute cases without the consent or the input of the alleged victim.
Significant Bodily Injury
In DC, assault with significant injury charge is when someone intended or knew that “significant bodily injury” would occur from their conduct. “Significant bodily injury” is defined as an injury that requires hospitalization or immediate medical attention. This offense carries a potential prison sentence of three years and/or a $12,500 fine.
Assault and Battery
A battery is defined as an actual offensive contact from one person to another person. An assault, on the other hand, does not require that a person had actual physical contact with the other person, it only requires that at a minimum there is a threat of force against another person that caused that person to have a reasonable apprehension of imminent harm.
So, even if there is no physical contact a person could have committed an assault, whereas a battery typically requires that there is actual physical contact.
The charge of aggravated assault is deemed applicable in DC if the accused knowingly or purposely caused serious bodily injury to another person. “Serious bodily injury” is defined as an injury that creates substantial risk of death, unconsciousness, extreme physical pain, or protracted and obvious disfigurement.
Any person convicted of an aggravated assault charge shall either be fined up to $25,000, imprisoned for not more than 10 years, or both. Any person convicted of attempted aggravated assault in DC shall be fined not more than $12,500, be imprisoned for not more than five years, or both.
Benefits of an Attorney
It is important for a defendant arrested on a charge of simple assault to not attempt to contact or negotiate with an alleged victim, because that can result in allegations of obstruction of justice, which are much more serious criminal charges than simple assault. A person should immediately get the assistance of a criminal defense lawyer to discuss the case with the prosecutor to minimize the consequences and potentially try to get the charges dismissed or reduced.
When a person is facing a felony assault charge, the prosecutors will aggressively move forward on these cases and a person could be facing years of prison time if convicted. So, having an assault attorney in DC defending a person in those cases has clear benefits. Even in a simple assault case, a defendant should not approach with the assumption that it will be dismissed or that it could be resolved easily, because that might not always be the case. A person can still face up to 180 days in jail for a simple assault case.
Contacting an Attorney
If you find yourself accused of assault charges in DC—whether simple assault, assault with significant injury, or aggravated assault—it is vital that you begin developing a defense using the assistance of an experienced DC defense lawyer. A DC assault attorney has the know-how to defend clients facing all different types of assault charges.
If convicted of assault in DC, you face not only fines, jail, and probation, but you will also be faced with a criminal record. If you have been accused of assault, you need the help of a skilled DC assault lawyer to defend against your criminal charge.
By: An Assault Client
David is a terrific lawyer. I was falsely accused of an assault charge in DC. This was my first encounter with a criminal charge and Dave thoroughly answered all of my questions. Dave drafted a payment plan to fit my financial requirements. After a difficult trial, Dave got me acquitted of all charges!