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Criminal Assault – An Overview

Being convicted of assault can bring serious penalties, including jail or prison time, fines and probation. Although the specific definition of assault varies by jurisdiction, it is typically viewed as the act of putting another person in fear of harm or offensive contact by the use of force or the threat of force. Some jurisdictions also consider an intentional injury to be an assault. If you have been charged with assault, it is important to know the law and procedures of your state and county. Seek the advice of an experienced attorney from Law Offices of Anthony B. Cantrell in San Antonio, TX, as you determine how to fight the charges.

What is assault?

Assault is an attempt to hurt someone physically; it is also the threat of force or use of force, making the victim apprehensive of harmful or offensive contact. Battery, on the other hand, is typically defined as the actual touching of the victim in a harmful or offensive manner. Some jurisdictions define assault and battery differently than others; a defense attorney in your area can assist you with the precise definitions and associated defenses.

If the assault occurs while the defendant is using a deadly weapon or attempting to commit a serious crime, it is an aggravated assault. Because this is a more serious crime than simple assault, the punishment is usually more severe. Injury does not necessarily have to occur for the crime to be aggravated assault.

Is assault a misdemeanor or a felony?

Assault may be charged and prosecuted as either a misdemeanor or a felony. It depends on the circumstances of the alleged crime and the specific laws of the jurisdiction in which the event occurred. The prosecutor in the case will ultimately decide how to charge the defendant. Both misdemeanor and felony charges should be taken seriously, as both may have long-term consequences.

What are possible defenses to assault charges?

If a reasonable person would have felt it necessary to use force to avoid a danger of being hurt, and reasonable force was used, then there may be a viable self-defense argument. This also may apply when the person was defending someone else against the danger of physical harm. In other cases, the alleged assault may have been accidental, or the accuser may have misinterpreted the defendant’s actions. The defense of property may even be a viable defense to a charge of assault. Finally, mitigating circumstances could help reduce the defendant’s responsibility as well.

Speak with a criminal defense attorney

Conviction for assault can lead to imprisonment, fines, probation or parole, the inability to hold certain jobs and the loss of the right to possess a firearm. If you or your loved one has been charged with assault, it is important to speak with a lawyer who knows the law and procedure of your jurisdiction. Contact an experienced attorney from Law Offices of Anthony B. Cantrell in San Antonio, TX, to learn more.

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