Factors Affecting DC Assault Court Treatment

When a person is facing an assault charge, there are a number of factors affecting DC assault court treatment they should consider. The most important factor would be the injuries alleged to have been sustained by the complaining witness. The more serious the injuries, the higher-level assault charge prosecutors would most likely file. To learn more about the important elements of your case, speak with a professional assault lawyer right away.

What are Misdemeanor Assaults?

Misdemeanor simple assault cases would usually be assaults that involve minor injuries and, in some situations, no injuries at all. Even something as insignificant as a push that results in no physically-apparent injuries can still be charged as a misdemeanor assault.

If the injuries are more substantial, such as serious lacerations, broken bones, loss of consciousness, extreme pain or disfigurement, then prosecutors would consider those injuries and may decide to seek higher-level charges, such as felony assault or aggravated assault.

Other aggravating factors affecting DC assault court treatment could include allegations of the uses of weapons to commit an assault. Assault with a dangerous weapon is a felony-level assault and dangerous weapons are not necessarily guns or knives. Technically, many different items can qualify as dangerous weapons; e.g., automobiles, baseball bats, or common household objects such as hammers.

How Using an Item as a Weapon Could Impact a Case

A person committing an assault with an item that is used in a dangerous manner can be charged with felony assault with a dangerous weapon charge. Other aggravating factors could include a person’s prior criminal history. This could change a defendant’s eligibility for the most favorable negotiated agreements, such as Diversion Agreements, and can also make a person eligible for more lengthy prison sentences if they are found guilty of the assault charge. Alongside these types of aggravating factors, there are many mitigating factors that can improve a defendant’s situation and act as arguments for defense attorneys to minimize penalties and sometimes even have charges completely dismissed.

Possible Diversion Options

For a defendant with minimal or no criminal history, a person facing a misdemeanor simple assault charge may be eligible for a negotiated agreement called a Diversion Program. Diversion is an agreement negotiated between a defense attorney and the prosecutors that can result in a person’s charges being completely dismissed. There are multiple types of Diversion Programs, but the end result is a person’s misdemeanor simple assault charge can be dropped without a conviction on their record.

Role of Community Service Programs

Sometimes these programs involve community service. In other situations, they may involve mental health counseling, drug treatment, or assistance with obtaining employment for people who may suffer from chronic unemployment. Defense attorneys can explore a person’s eligibility for Diversion Programs and should use mitigating factors such as minimal criminal history or other favorable characteristics of the accused to advocate for Diversion Programs whenever possible.

This is why it is very helpful for defendants facing DC charges to be represented by defense attorneys who are familiar with local DC criminal procedure and available diversion options. Defense attorneys who may practice less frequently in DC may not be aware of all the different options available to the potential clients. If their lawyer effectively highlights factors affecting DC assault court treatment and negotiates aggressively with prosecutors, a defendant may be eligible for these types of more favorable agreements.