Charges of assault in Alabama must be taken seriously, considering the potential ramifications that go along with a conviction. Long terms of imprisonment, substantial fines, and other long-lasting consequences can usually only be avoided or mitigated with the help of experienced counsel.
Due to these severe penalties, an experienced assault lawyer is essential and stands prepared to investigate the facts of your case, identify weaknesses in the prosecution’s arguments, and help achieve the most beneficial outcome possible for you by building a strong defense.First-Degree Assault
First-degree assault in Alabama is classified as a Class B felony. The range of penalties includes incarceration of between two and 20 years and a fine of up to $30,000. If a motor vehicle is involved, a person’s driver’s license can also be revoked.
In Alabama, a first-degree assault charge falls under the presumptive sentencing guidelines. Even with no prior criminal history, a person could face a minimum mandatory prison sentence if a deadly weapon was used. However, each case is unique and must be evaluated to determine the length of sentence someone faces for a first-degree assault charge in Alabama. It is important to contact an experienced lawyer to help make that assessment. A lawyer can properly assess any first-degree assault penalties in Alabama, and craft an effective defense strategy.Enhanced Penalties
Assault charges in Alabama can lead to enhanced penalties depending on whether they are prosecuted as a misdemeanor or felony. The distinguishing characteristic is the classification of the victim, such as whether it is an assault against a lay person or some type of statutorily enhanced role such as a police officer, school teacher, or medical personnel.
In Alabama, the enhancement of penalties as it relates to assault charges has to do with whether the charge is prosecuted originally as an assault third-degree misdemeanor, or an assault second degree or first-degree felony.Long Term Consequences
Assault in the first degree is a serious felony. The long-term consequences include loss of voting rights, long-term probation or prison sentences, and habitual offender sentencing should another charge be brought in the future.Alternative Sentencing
In Alabama, when facing an assault charge, there is sometimes either a pretrial diversion program or alternative sentencing available. These differ from court to court and from case to case. However, the typical outline of a pretrial diversion program is a conditional plea to the charge, such as the continuation of the case for some reasonable period of time, typically, six to 12 months, and some type of remedial educational program such as anger management. If completed successfully, a dismissal of the charge comes on the backend of that period.Contacting an Attorney
It is important to contact an assault lawyer to maximize the opportunity to mitigate or negotiate assault penalties in Alabama. Often, in an assault case, there is a parallel civil case brought by the victim where the victim is represented by a plaintiff’s attorney. An experienced defense lawyer can make contact with the civil lawyer and try to negotiate for some type of cooperation agreement. However, there are ethical concerns that must be adhered to in doing so. Such negotiations lend themselves to a mitigated and favorable outcome of the criminal case when done in a correct manner.
It is easy to give in to the feelings of doubt and fear that an assault charge can bring, but if you are facing criminal charges, it is helpful to know that effective arguments such as self-defense, duress, and defense of others may well exist in your case, which can greatly improve the chances of a positive outcome.