WHAT TO DO IF YOU’VE BEEN CHARGED WITH ASSAULT
Assault is a very serious criminal charge. Moreover, if you and the assault victim live under the same roof together, you could also be charged with domestic violence, which carries additional criminal penalties.
If you have been charged with assault, time is of the essence, and you need experienced legal representation on your side throughout your case.
Assault charges, like many criminal charges, are very fact-specific. An experienced criminal defense assault lawyer will be able to listen to your version of what happened and can safeguard all of your constitutional and legal rights while your criminal case is pending. A lawyer may also be able to assist you with formulating legal defenses to your assault charges, obtaining a dismissal of your assault charge, or obtaining a favorable plea deal with the prosecutor.
Grounds for Assault Charges
In order to be charged with assault, a defendant need not actually touch or make physical contact with the alleged victim. The defendant only needs to place the victim in imminent fear of a physical assault or harmful touching. Actually touching the victim could potentially result in a battery charge.
Types of Assault
Most jurisdictions criminalize several different types of assault, depending upon the nature and extent of the circumstances surrounding the assault and the level of harm posed to the alleged victim.
Simple assault – A simple assault involves an attempt to use violence (or a threat of violence) against another person. The threat must be sufficient to place the other person in fear of imminent bodily harm. Because a simple assault is only punishable by less than a year in jail, a fine, community service, or a combination, simple assault is typically prosecuted as a misdemeanor.
Aggravated assault – The facts and circumstances surrounding an aggravated assault are much more serious than those surrounding a simple assault. Aggravated assault involves an intent to murder, rape, rob, or commit some other serious felony against an alleged victim. Aggravated assaults may also include assaults with deadly weapons. Since aggravated assault is punishable by more than 1 year of incarceration, it is deemed a felony.
As with all crimes, the law provides for various defenses to assault charges. An experienced assault lawyer may be able to help formulate legal defenses to a pending assault charge. Some of the more common defenses to assault charges include the following:
- Mistaken Identity
- Self-defense (i.e. using force or a threat of force toward someone else for self-protection or self-preservation purposes)
- Defense of another
- Falsification of story by alleged victim (usually when custody of a minor child or children is involved)
Contact a Defense Lawyer Today
Assault convictions come with harsh penalties, and you need experienced legal representation throughout your case. A criminal defense lawyer may be able to assist you with obtaining the best possible result in your case, whether that be formulating a successful legal defense(s) to your charges, obtaining a complete dismissal of your charges, obtaining a favorable plea deal with the prosecution, and/or a obtaining a reduced penalty post-conviction.
If you are facing assault charges in Columbia, South Carolina, please do not hesitate to contact William A. Hodge Attorney At Law. To schedule a free consultation and case evaluation with a criminal defense lawyer, please call us at 803-457-2216 or contact us online at williamhodgelaw.com.