Alternative Sentencing for DC Assault Charges

There are many different levels of assault charges in Washington, DC. that range from relatively minor misdemeanor simple assault charges up to much more serious felony-level assault charges, such as aggravated assault or assault with a dangerous weapon.

Each assault charge carries different maximum possible penalties, starting from the least serious assault charge (which is misdemeanor assault), the maximum penalty a person can face if convicted of simple assault is up to 180 days of jail, fines of up to $1,000, or both. Commonly, an appropriate sentence would be jail time, probationary periods, or some combination of those two. It may be critical to discuss possible alternative sentencing for DC assault charges with a determined assault attorney.

Possible Alternative Sentencing Options Available for First-Time Offenders

When a person is facing misdemeanor assault charges, there may be a possibility that they are eligible for a Diversion Program that can result in their charges being dismissed. Diversion Programs are not offered by judges; rather, they are agreements negotiated between the defense attorney and prosecutors that can result in a favorable outcome for a defendant’s case. For a person facing a misdemeanor assault charge, the most common kinds of Diversion Programs are Deferred Prosecution and Deferred Sentencing.

Both of these are Community Service Agreements whereby a defendant would complete a certain number of hours of community service in exchange for having their charges dismissed. Deferred Prosecution is a shorter Diversion Program that requires less community service and, most importantly, does not require any admission of wrongdoing. A person can do a Deferred Prosecution and also maintain their innocence since they do not have to admit guilt to enter into a Deferred Prosecution Agreement.

What is Deferred Sentencing?

A similar kind of alternative sentencing for DC assault charges, called Deferred Sentencing, is also a Community Service Agreement that results in a person’s charges being dropped. However, the procedure for Deferred Sentencing is a bit different from Deferred Prosecution. Deferred Sentencing involves a person entering a guilty plea at the beginning of the Agreement and, if they successfully complete their community service requirements and any other requirements that are involved in the Agreement, then at the end of the Diversion Agreement, they would be allowed to withdraw their guilty plea. The guilty plea would then be removed from their record and their charges would be dropped. The end-result of Deferred Sentencing and Deferred Prosecution is the same, but the procedure is a bit different.

Eligibility Requirements for Diversion Programs After an Assault Case

There are other types of Diversion Programs available to people with specific treatment needs. The most common kinds are Drug Court and Mental Health Court. These Diversionary Programs require the defendant to maintain counseling programs and regular check-ins with the court, and if they successfully comply with their mental health counseling requirements or drug testing and treatment requirements, then they would be eligible to have their charges dismissed at the end.

A person’s eligibility for any of these types of Diversion Programs can be discretionary, meaning that prosecutors are the ones that get to decide whether to offer the defendant a Diversion Program. There are many things that a defense attorney can do to negotiate such agreements with prosecutors. That can include investigating the weaknesses in the prosecution’s case, discussing with prosecutors their client’s mental health or drug treatment background, or any other favorable aspects of their clients such as job history and other important characteristics.

Penalties for Assault with a Dangerous Weapon

If a person is facing sentencing on the charge of assault with a dangerous weapon, a person in that situation faces a maximum penalty of up to 10 years in prison and fine up to $25,000. A person facing an aggravated assault charge also faces a maximum penalty of up to ten years in prison and fines up to $25,000. These are three of the more common felony assault charges, but there are a number of other assault charges, such as assault with intent to kill, assault with intent to rob; and any of these different charges that are alleged to have been committed while armed.

If a person is facing the charge of assault with significant bodily injury (or what is commonly referred to as felony assault), then the maximum possible penalty that a person could face. Each assault charge could potentially carry a different maximum penalty so it is important for any defendant facing these charges to make sure that they speak with their defense attorney about the possibility of alternative sentencing for DC assault charges.