Washington DC Assault on a Police Officer Penalties

Every assault committed in Washington DC is a serious matter. However, when the target of the assault is a police officer, the potential Washington DC assault on a police officer penalties become much more severe. Courts and juries are unlikely to treat individuals convicted of this offense with much leniency. As a result, it is essential that people facing this charge be prepared to defend themselves from day one.

A determined assault on a police officer lawyer may be able to help. They could work to defend people in DC’s criminal courts against both the core accusation of an assault and against the charge that this assault was committed against a police officer.

Local Assault Laws

The core concept behind an assault is a simple one. DC Code §22-404 states that an assault is any act that involves the use of force, or the threat of the use of force against another person. The statute further states that a conviction can result in Washington DC assault on a police officer penalties like, a maximum jail term of 180 days, a fine of up to $1,000, or both.

However, the situation becomes much more serious when the alleged target of this assault is a law enforcement officer. DC Code §22-405 says that a law enforcement officer includes:

  • A member of a police force
  • A member of a fire department
  • Any investigator or code inspector employed by the city
  • Any probation officer

The significance of the identity of the alleged victim is important in terms of sentencing after a conviction. If the prosecutor is able to prove that the victim of the assault is a law enforcement officer, the maximum available jail sentence increases to six months. In addition, this crime is a misdemeanor level offense that is more difficult to seal in the future. In addition, a maximum fine of $1,000 can still apply.

Finally, if the assault results in a significant bodily injury, or involves any act that would be likely to result in significant bodily injury if contact is made, the court may upgrade the charge to a felony. This increases the maximum prison term to ten years and the fine to $25,000.

Elements the Prosecution Must Prove

The prosecutor bears the burden of proving every element of a criminal charge beyond a reasonable doubt. For assault on a police officer charges, this means that the prosecutor must prove both that the assault happened and that the target of the assault was known by the defendant to be an on-duty member of law enforcement.

Proving an assault is usually straightforward. When a defendant makes forceful contact with another person or attempts to do so, this is assault. However, proving that the defendant intended to target a law enforcement officer is more difficult. Sometimes police officers interact with citizens in an undercover capacity. Other times they make plain clothes arrests.

To secure a conviction for assault on a police officer, a prosecuting attorney must provide evidence that the defendant knew that the target of the assault was an on-duty law enforcement officer.

Defending Against These Charges in Court

A skilled assault on a police officer lawyer could cross-examine testifying police officers to determine the extent to which they let their status as a law enforcement officer be known to the defendant prior to the assault. If a defense attorney can create reasonable doubt that the individual knew that the target of the assault was a police officer, the charges can be reduced to those of simple assault, and the person may face less harsh Washington DC assault on a police officer penalties.

Consulting a Washington DC Assault on a Police Officer Attorney

Allegations involving assaults on police officers or other law enforcement officials are serious matters. A conviction is a criminal offense that will remain on a person’s criminal record and can result in up to six months in jail. It is vital that defendants in these cases provide themselves with every possible advantage.

Working with an experienced assault on a police officer lawyer could provide essential help. These attorneys work to conduct their own investigation into the incident, to talk to any available witnesses, and to form theories of the case to present in court that create reasonable doubt in the minds of juries. Furthermore, an assault attorney could attempt to mitigate the Washington DC assault on a police officer penalties that an individual may face. Contact a determined assault on a police officer lawyer today to schedule a consultation.