If you are charged with assault, you may be facing serious penalties if convicted, depending on the level of crime you are charged with. A criminal defense attorney, like a criminal defense attorney in San Francisco, CA, can help defend you against these charges. Depending on the circumstances of the case, an attorney may be able to have the charges dismissed, plead to a lesser charge, or be found not guilty by a jury.
The following is a brief overview of the different degrees of assault charges a person may be charged with. For more detailed information, contact a defense attorney.
Misdemeanors vs. Felonies
There are different degrees of assault a person can be charged with, and these degrees will determine whether the offense is charged as a misdemeanor or felony. For example, in some states, third-degree assault is classified as a misdemeanor. A conviction could mean up to 12 months in jail. A person can be charged with third-degree assault if the perpetrator acted recklessly and the victim was not injured severely.
If the perpetrator had the intent to harm the victim and the victim was seriously injured, then the charge could likely be first-degree assault, which is a felony charge. A conviction could result in a long prison sentence (five to 20 years) and great fines.
When a juvenile is charged with assault, the charges can be even more alarming. If the injury to the victim is serious enough, the prosecutor could decide to charge the juvenile as an adult. Instead of the case going through the juvenile court system, the case will be transferred to the adult court. The juvenile court system focuses more on rehabilitation, while adult court focuses more on punishment. Juvenile courts often provide pretrial diversion programs or probation for juvenile offenders, as well as sealing or expunging their records when they reach 18 years of age.
When a juvenile commits a high-class felony, such as first-degree assault, many states automatically transfer the cases to adult court. Convictions in adult court often mean harsher penalties, as well as a public criminal record. The impact this type of conviction can have on a juvenile’s future can be devastating, affecting their chances of education, work, and more. Any juvenile charged with assault needs a criminal defense attorney who will work to protect the teen’s rights and future.
Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney
If you have been accused or arrested for assault, you need an aggressive criminal defense attorney you can trust. Contact a criminal defense attorney in your area to find out how his or her legal team can help you fight against these charges.
Thanks to The Morales Law Firm for their insight into the different degrees of assault charges.