DC Assault Penalties

Assault cases can be serious whether it is a misdemeanor assault, a felony aggravated assault, or assault with a dangerous weapon. If you are facing these charges, you should consult an adept assault attorney with a thorough understanding of DC criminal law and criminal procedure. Even though assaults can be similar in Maryland, DC, and Virginia, every state has separate procedures and rules that may vary drastically in how the cases proceed. A qualified lawyer could attempt to mitigate the severity of DC assault penalties that you face.

Penalties Associated With Assault

The penalties associated with assault in DC depend on the level of assault charge the person faces. When a person is charged with misdemeanor simple assault; they face a maximum penalty of up to 180 days in jail and fines up to $1,000. When a person is charged with felony assault, they face a maximum penalty of up to three years of prison and fines up to $12,500. A person charged with aggravated assault, which is an even higher level felony assault, can face up to 10 years in prison and fines up to $25,000. A person charged with assault with a dangerous weapon faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a maximum fine of up to $25,000.

Considerations Judges Take When Sentencing

A person facing any criminal offense does not necessarily get the maximum possible DC assault penalties if convicted. Judges have the discretion to determine an appropriate sentence after hearing arguments from the government prosecutors and defense attorneys. After hearing the arguments, the judge has the final say as to the sentence they believe appropriate under the circumstances.

Judges consider information about a person’s background or criminal history, their employment status, mental health condition, family situation, or any other information that portrays the person in a favorable light. The goal for the defense attorney at sentencing is to advocate for the most lenient sentence possible.

Sentencing Guidelines in Assault Cases

When making a final decision on what DC assault penalties, judges can rely on the District of Columbia Voluntary Sentencing Guidelines that establish ranges of possible penalties depending on the severity of the conviction offense and the person’s criminal history. The ranges suggested by the voluntary sentencing guidelines are usually lower than the maximum possible sentence the person faces when convicted.

The sentencing guidelines also make recommendations as to whether a person might be eligible for a probationary sentence in lieu of a straight incarceration or a combination of probation and incarceration. In some situations, the voluntary sentencing guidelines make a recommendation suggesting that certain persons receive a straight prison sentence potentially followed by a parole period.

Sentencing guidelines are voluntary and in some situations, defense attorneys and prosecutors can make arguments for judges to depart from the voluntary sentencing guidelines. Defense attorneys can make arguments for judges to go lower than the guidelines recommended by the voluntary sentencing guidelines.

Value of a DC Assault Attorney

There are different assault charges and it is important to understand that every assault charge, even a misdemeanor simple assault charge, may have serious consequences. Even misdemeanor cases may result in a person facing the possibility of going to jail for lengthy probation periods. Having a conviction on a person’s criminal record can affect a person’s job, their housing situation, and custody of their children.

Having a defense attorney who specifically understands DC criminal law and has a background in assault cases is crucial to building a solid defense. A local attorney has prior experience dealing with local prosecutors and understands the judges. A lawyer will know the arguments, negotiation strategies, and trial tactics to use to put an individual in the best position to get the best result. If a person faces DC assault penalties, they should speak with a skilled assault lawyer that can attempt to reduce the penalties that the person faces.