DC Aggravated Assault Lawyer
A person can be charged with aggravated assault if the defendant knowingly or purposely caused serious bodily injury to another person. Serious bodily injury is defined as an injury that creates the substantial risk of death, unconsciousness, extreme physical pain, or protracted and odd disfigurement.
These terms are all defined in DC law. Aggravated assault is the most serious level of assault charge in DC because it requires proof of the most serious level of injuries. If you are facing such a charge, it is important that you contact a DC aggravated assault lawyer as soon as possible. An experienced assault attorney can begin mounting a defense early on.
Where Are First-Degree Assault Cases Heard in DC?
Most prosecuted crimes that are alleged to have been committed in Washington, DC are local crimes and are prosecuted in the Superior Court for the District of Columbia. These crimes are prosecuted under DC court rules and under the DC criminal statutes.
These are different from federal crimes that are prosecuted in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. Aggravated assault charges, even if they may have been committed or alleged to have been committed on federal property like the national mall or a federal building, are nearly always prosecuted in the Superior Court for the District of Columbia. A DC aggravated assault lawyer could defend individuals who have been charged.
Serious Bodily Injury
Because aggravated assault involves proof of serious bodily injury, it is not uncommon for aggravated assault to also be charged alongside assault with a dangerous weapon. The reason is that there were serious bodily injuries caused or allegedly caused by weapons. Those weapons can include knives, guns, baseball bats, rocks, bottles or any number of other objects.
A DC aggravated assault attorney can help an individual better understand the specifics of their charge as it is not required that a person use a dangerous weapon to be charged with aggravated assault. It is not uncommon for the level of injuries that are required under aggravated assault charges to be caused by dangerous weapons, in which case being charged with aggravated assault would be accompanied by a charge of assault with a dangerous weapon.
Assault Without a Weapon
Aggravated assaults, which do require proof of serious bodily injury, could be committed without the use of a weapon. For example, an aggravated assault that would not involve the use of weapon would be when a person punches another person to the point where the alleged victim loses consciousness.
The person committing the assault can be charged with aggravated assault because loss of consciousness is considered a serious bodily injury. This would be a common situation that could result in a person being charged with aggravated assault without being armed.
Use of a Weapon
It is not required for the prosecutors to show that a defendant accused of aggravated assault used a weapon to employ serious bodily injury upon an alleged victim. A person charged with aggravated assault could potentially be accused of causing serious bodily injuries on a person by using their own hands. However, it is not uncommon for the types of injuries required under an aggravated assault charge to be allegedly caused by a weapon.
An aggravated assault while armed charge is an extremely serious offense that can result in prison time for a minimum of five years in the event that the weapon used is a firearm. Even in the event that a weapon used is not a firearm, a person could face up to 30 years of prison time if a person is convicted of an aggravated assault while armed. A person can also be charged with both aggravated assault and assault with a dangerous weapon if there is an allegation that aggravated assault was committed and that it was committed using some kind of dangerous weapon.
Hearing the Case
Aggravated assault charges are prosecuted by the US Attorneys’ office from the District of Columbia, which is the government prosecutor’s office that brings criminal cases that are allegedly committed in the District. These cases are heard before judges and the Superior Court from the District of Columbia, which is the Court of General Jurisdiction for crimes allegedly committed in the district.
Even though Washington, DC is considered a quasi-federal jurisdiction because of the large amount of federal property and the fact that DC is not a state, that does not mean that every crime committed or allegedly committed in Washington, DC is a federal crime.
There are many federal crimes that can be committed in Washington, D.C., but for the most part, aggravated assault cases are prosecuted by the DC US Attorneys’ office and prosecuted in the DC Superior Court. An individual should be sure to consult with a DC aggravated assault lawyer before the case reaches this level.
Long-Term Consequences of an Assault Conviction
The most serious levels of assault charges in Washington, DC, which are referred to as aggravated assault charges rather than first-degree assault charges, can carry long-lasting consequences directly related to a person’s criminal case and to a person’s job, family situation, and, potentially, their freedom.
If a person is convicted of aggravated assault, the immediate potential consequences include long-term prison sentences, probation or parole periods, and the loss of freedom that accompanies those possible sentences.
In the long term, because aggravated assault is considered to be a very serious felony-level charge, being convicted for that kind of charge can have an impact on a variety of things including a person’s ability to:
- Find employment after they are released from prison
- Secure housing
- Qualify for public benefits
- Retain custody of their children
- Enroll in school or licensing programs, etc.
In addition, people who have felony convictions may be denied apartment leases. They also may not be able to keep a security clearance that they may have through their job as a contractor or government employee, and many other kinds of jobs may be out of reach as a result of a felony conviction like aggravated assault. In general, such a conviction can limit a person’s ability to be able to get back on their feet even after they have completed their sentence. A DC aggravated assault lawyer could attempt to mitgate the severity of the consequences that a person may face.
Benefit of a Lawyer
Aggravated assault charges are extremely serious felony cases that can result in multiple years of prison time, significant fines, lengthy probation periods, loss of employment, and long-term consequences that may not be reversible.
For these reasons, if a person is facing an aggravated assault charge, it is important to have every defense and resource available to be able to mount a proper response to the prosecutor’s allegation. This would include having a DC aggravated assault lawyer who can conduct a thorough investigation, interview witnesses, search for any possible video evidence or security surveillance footage, and aggressively negotiate with the prosecutors, ensuring that all available evidence is obtained so that a person has the best shot at responding in a thorough way to the prosecutor’s allegations.
This could help a person properly prepare to go to trial to raise the defense and seek an acquittal from the jury. It can also include aggressive negotiations to minimize charges and penalties. It may very likely also include advocacy before a judge to decrease sentencing penalties so that a person can minimize the chances of facing permanent long-term consequences.