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Five Things To Know If Facing Assault Charges
One of the more common criminal offenses that is charged is assault. It can be a misdemeanor assault in some jurisdictions, although it is usually considered a felony offense. Simply defined, an assault is the act of unlawfully causing bodily injury to someone or communicating a threat to another person that causes that person to experience a reasonable fear of injury.
Things to remember when accused of assault
If you are facing assault charges, here are five things you should know:
- Never talk to the police without your lawyer. Law enforcement will promise you leniency, immediate release or claim that someone else has clearly identified you as the offender in trying to get you to confess or to make a statement. In fact, do not even talk to other inmates about your case.
- You can be charged with assault even if you never touched the victim. By pulling out a knife and telling the other person you intend to stab him, and if he is genuinely fearful of your threat, then you have committed an assault.
- Using a firearm while making a threat, like the above example, can enhance the charges against you. In nearly every jurisdiction, use of a firearm in the commission of a crime means a mandatory minimum jail sentence with no parole during that time.
- Know the different degrees. Most states charge three different degrees of assault. Fourth degree means you probably frightened someone; this can sometimes be pled out as a misdemeanor. Second degree means you used a weapon or actually injured someone. First degree means you seriously injured someone, used a firearm, and generally acted in a psychotic manner or purposely intended to seriously hurt someone.
- Immediately hire a good defense attorney if facing any assault charges. A felony conviction can permanently affect your ability to find employment; obtain or keep a professional license; get credit, a passport and certain kinds of insurance; and adversely affect your immigration status if you are not a citizen.
Facing assault charges is serious. An experienced criminal defense attorney can explore all your legal options and possible defenses and advise you on your best course of action.