Being charged with assault is something we usually see in movies and TV shows. Chasing a criminal, brainstorming and gathering evidence, legal actions, trials and witnesses – all of this looks fun and exciting when it’s not about you. It doesn’t come as a surprise that legal shows are one of the top 5 most popular shows ever: people simply enjoy the moral intrigue, and the everlasting relationship between justice and injustice, good and evil.
Assault is a term that can often be heard, both in TV shows and in reality. Since it’s so common, people are usually familiar with this term. But this is only when it comes to its definition and meaning in general. Assault is, as the definition says, any type of harm one could do to another person. Physical, specifically. But it could also be only the attempt to commit this type of crime, and it is also punishable, if proven guilty.
But what happens when you charge someone with assault? What does the very process look like and what does it consist of? Let’s dive into it.
First of all, we’ll focus on what happens if you get into this situation. You can get accused even if you did nothing wrong. In other words, you could get falsely accused. Still, since the attempt is also a criminal act, the system will make sure to arrest you and press charges against you. Although some types of arrest might seem like not that big of a deal, you might not be aware of its legal aspect and everything that comes (or may come) afterwards. It is useful to know that there are several types of this act, as well as levels.
The most common ones, and the least serious are common assaults. You could say something to another person, that can be qualified as a threat, for example. This is not limited to words, but actions as well, so any body language that seems threatening, or gesture and body movements that might be considered as threat can also be qualified as an assault. This includes spitting on a person, for example. Logically, this category, although it is the least dangerous one, also consists of applying physical force on someone. Finally, you could be threatening someone by showing them you are in power – that you hold weapons or you’re about to use physical power on them.
The next level is assault that has caused bodily harm (injuries) to another person. This can only mean that someone used some kind of weapon, but it’s not a necessity – you can hurt someone without having any weapons as well. This is a more complex and difficult type of a crime, especially if some serious injuries occurred. But even if the injuries are not that serious – the fact that you have injured someone in the first place, is enough to get charged and arrested. If there is only a conviction that you used physical force on someone, whether you’ve used weapons or not, you can expect to have legal consequences such as imprisonment. Depending on the severity of your case, there are different jail times, but generally speaking, you can expect from 1 to 14 years in jail.
If you have, unfortunately, injured your victim in a serious manner, this is called and aggravated assault. What’s special about it is its severity. As the most serious type of assault, it means that the person who did this to someone, would be imprisoned for at least some time.
As we’ve already mentioned, there are three levels of this criminal act, but there are also some special assaults, something that doesn’t happen that often. In this category, there is assault against police officers. You can expect the same legal procedure and prosecution, but the charges are different – they are more serious. Other than that, sexual assault is also something that requires a specific approach, but the chargers are the same – the year range is the same as for other types of assaults.
What can you expect if you just got arrested? Logically, the first thing you should do, and the smartest move you could take is to get yourself a professional who can help you with the process that’s very complex. Consulting with the right attorney is crucial if you’re facing charges.
According to Calvin Barry, having someone by your side, who can defend your rights and represent you in the legal process, whether you are a victim or you’ve committed assault, is the best way to preserve your legal rights. If you are arrested, that means that the police have started to collect documentation and evidence against you. Chances that you will succeed in the legal process all by yourself, are extremely low, which is why it is important to always seek legal help and advice.
After you’ve been arrested, you will have a hearing shortly after. This is usually called arraignment. Here, you will have a chance to get released, depending on the circumstances and evidence. It is therefore important that you arrive at the hearing with the attorney by your side, because the first thing the judge sees and hears you, usually determines the whole case. The next step (in case you don’t get released) is your trial. You can be in custody for a couple of months, or even more, until the first trial happens. This is when your legal process begins.
One thing that is most certainly your goal, if you committed an assault, is to get free of charges, which can be done, if your lawyer is experienced enough, and there is evidence that you’re not guilty. Even if you are guilty, it’s in your best interest to closely collaborate with your legal professional, so that you could work on the best solution to your problem. Since this is both a criminal and a civil offense, you can expect a fine up to $15,000. If you make an agreement before the trial, then you could easily get your case resolved, which is also a convenient option.