Being charged with assault can be a shocking and embarrassing situation. Many times, people who are charged with this crime are not entirely at fault – either they were not the instigator of the incident, or they were acting in self-defense. Unfortunately, many law enforcement agents, prosecutors, and judges do not care about your side of the story and will not give your honest defense the consideration that it deserves. This is why you need a criminal defense lawyer by your side. We can provide the whole story in court and make sure that the judge and prosecution are aware of the full facts of your case. This can protect you from a conviction or ensure that you receive lesser sentences for this crime.
Any criminal conviction can have a major impact on a career in the military. If you are charged with assault, you may face punishments outlined by the Lautenberg Amendment, which can effectively end your career in the military. To avoid a conviction and make sure that you do not face serious penalties outlined by the military, you need to hire a lawyer who is experienced in military and military law. As former Judge Advocates, we can provide that attorney for you. We understand just what you are going through and how frightening it can be to face losing your job, and we will do everything that we can to fight for your rights.
If you intend to cause another person serious bodily harm, and this intent results in the actual harm, disfigurement, or death of that person, you can be charged with first degree assault. In addition, first degree assault involves harm with a gun or other deadly weapon.
If you intend to harm someone and do so by drugging them or using a weapon other than a firearm, you will be charged with second degree assault.
While this crime is only considered a misdemeanor, a conviction will still result in serious jail time and fines. You are guilty of third degree assault if you intend to hurt someone and cause them serious bodily harm, whether with a weapon or not.
Assault of Protected People
There are several types of people who it is a specific crime to harm, due to their vulnerability. You face a separate crime for assaulting:
Developmentally disabled persons.
Those over the age of 60 (the elderly).
Women who are pregnant.
Assault of protected people can also be committed in the second degree or in the second degree with a firearm.
Assault on a DOC Worker
Another special circumstance for an assault case is if a person assaults an employee of the Department of Corrections (DOC worker). To be charged with this crime, the victim has to indeed be a DOC worker, the person must be performing his or her duties as a DOC employee, and the assault must take place within a Corrections facility.
Defenses to assault
There are a few common defenses to assault charges that we like to consider when building a defense for our clients. These defenses will not work in every situation, but we can use one of these defenses if it fits your case.
Acting in Self Defense
If you did not instigate the incident and you were acting in self-defense, you should not be convicted of assault. Self-defense is a legitimate defense against an assault charge that you should use if you believe that you acted to protect yourself. We can prove self-defense through:
Security video footage.
The nature of your injuries.
Assaulting someone who is disabled, elderly, or pregnant will result in a more serious charge and consequences. While you might be guilty of assault, you might not be guilty of knowingly assaulting someone who is disabled, elderly, or pregnant. If this is the case, we can have your assault charge reduced.
Consequences of an assault conviction
If you are convicted of assault, you will face different penalties depending on which type of assault you are convicted of. The penalties can range greatly, from a fine of a few hundred dollars and a few months in jail to thousands of dollars in fines and decades in jail. For more specific information on assault penalties, check out our assault page.
The penalties that you receive from the military for your assault case will vary based on your situation. Depending on the nature of the assault your case could be prosecuted in a Courts Martial or it could be resolved in a less serious manner such as non judicial punishment. In any type of assault you should be advised of the impact of the Lautenberg Amendment.
The Lautenberg Amendment
The Lautenberg Amendment was put into place in 1996 to punish members of the military convicted of domestic violence. The Lautenberg Amendment makes it a felony for any person convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence to possess, transport, receive, or ship firearms or ammunition. This makes it impossible for a member of the military to do his or her job, resulting in a military discharge. In some cases, an assault conviction will be treated as a domestic violence conviction, and you may face this punishment.