DC Assault Cases Involving Serious Bodily Injury

Aggravated assault is defined as one of the more serious levels of felony assault in Washington, DC based on the level of injury required to prove an aggravated assault charge.

The phrase serious bodily injury is defined under DC law as an injury that involves unconsciousness, extreme physical pain, obvious disfigurement, loss or impairment of the function of a bodily member, organ, or mental faculty, or in general, an injury that causes a substantial risk of death. If you want to know more about DC assault cases involving serious bodily injury, consult a knowledgeable assault lawyer that could answer your questions.

Elements the Prosecution Must Prove

One of the important elements of aggravated assault is proving serious bodily injury. Serious bodily injury is considered an extremely high level of injury to prove if a prosecutor wants to secure a conviction for aggravated assault.

In DC assault cases involving serious bodily injury, the prosecutor must show beyond a reasonable doubt that the person caused serious bodily injury to another individual to prove aggravated assault. They either intended to cause serious bodily injury or knew that serious bodily injury would result from their conduct. The person was aware that their conduct created an extreme risk of serious bodily injury and under the circumstances, demonstrated an extreme indifference to human life.

Role of Knowledge or Intent in Aggravated Assault Cases

Although one element the prosecutors must prove in an aggravated assault case is serious bodily injury; the case does not stop there. There is a certain intent level with additional elements that prosecutors must prove to secure a conviction at trial.

A prosecutor must prove that the person intended on causing serious bodily injury; the person knew that serious bodily injury would result from their misconduct; or the person was aware that their conduct created extreme risk of serious bodily injury and disregarded that risk.

Defining Serious Bodily Injury in the Context of Aggravated Assault

In an aggravated assault case, serious bodily injury is different from significant bodily injury, which is a lower-level felony assault charge that does not require the same high level of injuries required for aggravated assault. DC assault cases involving serious bodily injury require injuries that involve unconsciousness, extreme physical pain, protracted and obvious disfigurement, loss or impairment of a bodily function or mental faculty, or a substantial risk of death.

Penalties for Aggravated Assault in DC

Aggravated assault in Washington, DC is a felony-level offense. A felony means that the maximum possible penalty a person faces more than one year in prison. A person convicted of aggravated assault faces a maximum possible penalty of up to ten years in prison and a maximum possible fine of up to $25,000.

That does not necessarily mean that a person convicted of aggravated assault automatically gets ten years in prison. Washington, DC has sentencing guidelines that recommend a range of penalties. The circumstances of the case and the person’s criminal history identify the sentencing range that are usually lower than the maximum possible penalty.

Long-Term Consequences for Aggravated Assault Convictions

Aggravated assault is a serious felony-level crime in Washington, DC and is based on the level of injuries required to prove an aggravated assault charge. Aggravated assault charges can sometimes involve dismemberment, serious risk of death to a complainant, and in some situations, the loss of certain mental faculties or bodily functions.

Because prosecutors and judges see aggravated assault as a high-level assault charge, it can result in:

  • Lengthy prison sentences
  • Permanent felony convictions on a person’s record
  • Longer periods of parole in which a person is required to regularly check in with parole officers
  • Other restrictive conditions

Even after a person completes a prison sentence from an aggravated assault conviction, the long-term consequences can continue well after they are released from incarceration. The consequences include:

  • Loss of employment
  • Denial of public benefits
  • Inability to maintain custody of the children
  • Issues with gaining security clearance
  • Inability to possess a weapon/ secure a firearm permit
  • Loss of freedom of movement

Value of Contacting a DC Assault Attorney

If you are on parole, you can be prohibited from moving to different states or traveling for work purposes. Felony convictions make it difficult for people to obtain housing, apartment leases, or other kinds of necessities that people need to live their daily lives.

Because of the seriousness of aggravated assault charges, it is essential for anyone facing the possibility of being charged with aggravated assault to contact an attorney who has experience defending DC assault cases involving serious bodily injury. You need an attorney who understands high-level felony charges, has a background in those charges and is able to explore all possible defense strategies to minimize the chances of the short-term and long-term consequences.