Criminal Assault in Jefferson County
Assault is a serious crime that can result in severe injuries or even death. For this reason, the Alabama criminal justice system strives to reduce the number of assaults by aggressively prosecuting individuals who allegedly caused bodily harm to another person.
If you are currently facing assault charges, you may need a skilled criminal attorney to help you protect your rights in court. To that end, possibly the best way to increase your chances of a positive outcome could be to hire a Jefferson County assault lawyer to assist you.Assault vs. Battery
For most people, the word assault conjures up a variety of violent images. This imagery is partially based in reality, but contrary to popular belief, a person does not actually have to physically harm someone else to be charged with assault. In actuality, most states define assault as threatening or attempting to cause bodily harm to another person, with the implication being that the person has the means or power to actually carry out the threat.
Assault is often charged with another crime called battery. Unlike assault, the crime of battery actually does involve contacting another person without their consent. For example, if a person stabs someone else and is charged with assault and battery as a result, the assault charge would stem from brandishing a knife and swinging it at the other person, and the battery charge would stem from the actual stabbing itself.Types of Assault Charges
All assault charges are not equal, and some carry harsher penalties for conviction than others. In general, felony assault charges are the most serious, often resulting in prison sentences for convicted defendants. Misdemeanor assault charges are less serious than felony charges, but a conviction for a misdemeanor charge can still result in a brief jail sentence and legal fines.
In Alabama, the three degrees of assault are:
- Assault in the first-degree (Code of Alabama §13A-6-20) – a Class B felony issued when a person causes permanent harm to someone else or puts them at risk of death, punishable upon conviction by between two and 20 years in jail and a fine of up to $30,000
- Assault in the second-degree (Code of Ala. §13A-6-21) – a Class C felony issued when a person assaults a police officer of attempts to use a deadly weapon, punishable by up to 10 years in jail and a fine of up to $15,000
- Assault in the third-degree (Code of Ala. §13A-6-22) – a Class A misdemeanor that can result in up to one year in jail and a fine of $6,000
It is important to note that assault charges are considered more serious when the other individual is a minor, disabled individual, elderly person, educator, healthcare worker, or officer of the law. Individuals facing assault charges should strongly consider hiring a Jefferson County assault lawyer to represent them, as a conviction could have far-reaching consequences, especially for felony charges. An accomplished attorney could stand by the defendant’s side throughout the legal process.Discussing Options With a Jefferson County Assault Attorney
Whether you are facing misdemeanor or felony assault charges, you may need someone by your side who understands the legal system and is willing to fight for you. It is not impossible to get assault charges dropped or reduced, and even if you are facing a lengthy sentence, a skilled attorney may be able to get it shortened. Call a Jefferson County assault lawyer now to see what options may be available to you.