In most cases, a conflict between two people comes to a resolution without physical violence. Unfortunately, some disputes can become physical quickly. When this occurs, everyone involved could be at risk of arrest on an assault charge.
The term conjures an image of a fistfight for most people, but in the legal sense, the word assault has a much broader definition. Under state law, an assault could constitute any offensive touching, regardless of whether an injury occurred. A practiced defense attorney could help you understand what conduct constitutes assault under state law.
If you are facing charges of assault, there is no need to panic. Not every arrest results in a conviction, and in many cases, a favorable outcome is possible. With the help of a Brunswick County assault lawyer, you could fight to mitigate consequences or even have the charges dismissed.
Assault charges can come in many forms. While assault often involves a physical attack or fight, it could also be the result of one person spitting on another or any other form of offensive contact. The most common form of evidence in an assault case is witness testimony, but not all testimony is created equally. While the defendant and the alleged victim could both potentially testify, a jury is unlikely to see them as unbiased. In most cases, a jury would place a higher value on the word of a third party, especially if that witness is a law enforcement officer.
Besides witness testimony, other evidence could include surveillance videos, medical records, and crime scene photos. An attorney in Brunswick County could sift through all the available material to get the most useful evidence possible and build a strong case around these facts in an assault case.
The penalties for a conviction depend on whether the charge was a misdemeanor or a felony. Other factors such as the accused’s alleged intent, or the identity of the alleged victim, could play a role in the severity of punishment.
For simple misdemeanor assault, the maximum penalty is one year in jail, a fine of up to $2,500, or a combination of both. This contrasts significantly with the maximum sentence for felony assault, which carries between 5 and 20 years in jail as well as a maximum fine of $100,000. A defendant could see the severity of their charges increased dramatically if a jury determines a defendant harmed a person based on their race, religion, color, or national origin, a misdemeanor assault charge could then turn into a felony.
This aggravation of the charge could have a tremendous impact on a defendant. In some Brunswick County cases, it could increase the potential sentencing range from a matter of months to multiple years without the help of a lawyer fighting to reduce the assault charges to a lesser offense.
Fighting back against criminal charges is never easy. The Commonwealth’s attorney has significant resources, including the investigative power of law enforcement. However, when you hire skilled legal counsel, you have a knowledgeable ally that can stand with you during the entire process and fight them every step of the way. Call a Brunswick County assault lawyer right away to begin preparing your defense.
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