DC Assault Sentencing Factors

Assault with a dangerous weapon is considered to be a felony crime in DC. As the name suggests, an assault with a dangerous weapon is any assault defined under the simple assault statute that is committed with a weapon that is defined under DC as a dangerous weapon, making it aggravated. If you are facing aggravated charges of assault in DC, you should contact a DC assault attorney as soon as possible.

Definition of a “Dangerous Weapon”

Under DC law, dangerous weapons are objects that are likely to produce death and/or serious bodily injury. They can also include any objects that are used to kill, cause injury, or attempt to kill or cause injury. This means that dangerous weapons are not limited to firearms, knives, and other items that are intended to be used as weapons.

Dangerous weapons could also include a car or common items, like a baseball bat or a beer bottle. If an item is used to cause injury, then that item is considered to be a dangerous weapon under DC law. An extreme example of this would be if a defendant kicks a person with a foot that has a shoe on it, then this can commonly be known as assault with a dangerous weapon with the dangerous weapon being a shod foot, meaning its foot with a shoe on it. This is not a commonly charged offense, but under DC law, a shod foot, a foot with a shoe on it, can be considered to be a dangerous weapon when the shoe is the item that is used to cause injury.

Aggravating Factors

Some common aggravating factors that could make an assault case more serious in DC could include the extent of the injuries suffered by the alleged victim and the permanent damage that an alleged victim may have experienced. That includes a complete loss of certain bodily functions, like eyesight, hearing, permanent disfigurement, or long-term brain damage. Those kinds of injuries could result in much more serious penalties than injuries that heal much more quickly or do not result in any major consequences for the alleged victim.

Other aggravating factors that could be considered may be whether there are any vices involved in the alleged assault. The most common situation for this type of aggravating factor is when bias is involved. These are commonly referred to as hate crimes. Enhancements in DC could be added on to assault charges if there is evidence that an assault was motivated in any part by racial animus, sexual orientation animus, or a number of other protective classifications. These can result also in increased penalties for the defendant, if convicted.

Mitigating Factors

Mitigating factors for assault charges in DC could include provocation from the alleged victim or self-defense arguments that were incomplete. Incomplete self-defense arguments could include the use of disproportionate force in response to an imminent threat, which means that a defendant used more force than what was necessary to respond to an imminent threat of harm. Even though a person was not the initial aggressor and was responding to an imminent aggression by another person, the person could still be convicted of assault if they used more force than what was necessary to respond to the assault.

But, this type of incomplete self-defense claim could be used to minimize or decrease the penalties the person may face upon conviction for the assault charge on the grounds that offender in that situation is not as morally culpable for their actions compared to someone who was convicted of an assault as the initial aggressor against the alleged victim.