Simple assault may be a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail and fines, but it can affect your life in many other ways, such as your job and your ability to carry a gun. Aggravated assault may be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony, but being convicted of such a crime still results in consequences such as jail, prison, fines, and restrictions on your freedoms.
A felony is a much more serious crime than a misdemeanor and will almost always impose a longer jail sentence and higher penalties. The most serious form of punishment for a felony assault offense is a first-degree felony with consequences ranging anywhere from 5-99 years in prison and fines that may not exceed $10,000.
There are five main types of assault charges, with each carrying various degrees of punishment, they are:
- Assault and Battery.
- Rape and Sexual Assault.
- Domestic Violence.
- Negligent Homicide.
- Murder / Homicide.
If you’ve been charged with felony assault it is a profoundly serious situation, and you need to get ahead of the charges rapidly. Consulting with an experienced Delaware, Ohio criminal defense lawyer immediately is mandatory if you want to reduce the life-changing consequences you may face. Your lawyer will thoroughly review the details of your case to devise a strategy that may help in either reducing or mitigating your charges, or if you are convicted, the penalties you will incur.
Commonly, your felony assault lawyer will look for flaws in the police investigation or conflicting witness accounts that could poke holes through the prosecution’s case against you. The best result, of course, would be to have your charges dropped for reasons that your rights may have been violated, lack of evidence, etc. If that cannot be done, then you and your lawyer may find ways to reduce the charges against you to a lesser offense, which can directly reduce the penalties you incur.
What Must the Ohio Prosecutor Prove to Convict You Of Felony Assault?
These cases can be legally complex and must be thoroughly investigated so that your defense is tailored to the specifics of your case. The weight of the proof is on the prosecutor, and some of the things the prosecutor must prove to show that you are guilty of felony assault are as follows.
You, as the accused did commit an act:
- With a deadly weapon other than a firearm that by its nature would directly result in the application of force to another person.
- Or the act by its very nature would directly result in the application of force to another, and that the force used was likely to produce great bodily injury.
- Or you used a firearm in the assault.
- That you did this act willfully.
- You, as the accused, were aware of facts that would lead a reasonable person to realize that the act would directly result in the application of force to someone.
- When the accused acted, he or she had the present ability to
- Apply force likely to produce great bodily injury.
- Used a deadly weapon other than a firearm.
- Used a firearm.
- You, as the accused, did not act in self-defense or defense of someone else.
The term “great bodily injury” is meaningful and is defined as acting in a manner that would harm or inflict substantial physical injury. It is an injury that would cause the victim greater than minor or moderate harm.
Also, using a deadly weapon other than a firearm is significant and is commonly defined as using any object or weapon that is inherently deadly, and one that if used can cause great bodily injury or death.
Therefore, in attempting to prove felony assault, the prosecutor certainly has their job cut out for them. Your Delaware criminal defense lawyer will do all he can to prevent this. He will work through the specifics of your case to find ways to invalidate many or all the above points. Because the details of each case are specific to what happened in your case, the sooner your professional legal defense can begin, the better your chance to mitigate or reduce the consequences.
What Are Some Possible Defenses My Lawyer May Use Against a Felony Assault Charge?
If you’ve been charged with felony assault, the stakes are high for you, but don’t lose hope. Criminal defense lawyers battle and win a significant amount of these cases. Some of the possible defenses they may use on your behalf are:
- You were falsely accused – A false allegation by the victim to get you arrested is common in domestic violence cases and others.
- The case for self-defense – For example, victims in a domestic violence case are normally female. They may even be physically outmatched, but that does not mean the female didn’t instigate the confrontation, and self-defense laws may apply.
- Insufficient Evidence – Your arrest may be based on probable cause. Although that can make it look like a crime was committed, this is a different matter than what the prosecutor has to demonstrate – proof beyond a reasonable doubt. The prosecutor may dismiss your case if they have insufficient evidence to proceed.
- Lack of intent – Violence requires knowingly causing or attempting to cause physical harm. If your intent to commit harm cannot be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, your lawyer may get your charges reduced, or even dropped.
These are just a few examples of possible defenses, but there are others, and a knowledgeable, experienced Delaware criminal defense lawyer will use all that are applicable in your defense.
Can My Lawyer Get My Felony Charges Dropped?
The simple answer is yes, they can be dropped. It may sound odd, however, that the prosecuting attorney must be the person to dismiss a felony assault charge. Even the person who is alleged to have been victimized does not have the authority to drop the charge. This doesn’t seem to make sense since the victim would have “filed the charge.” This is why an experienced Delaware criminal defense attorney is important. You may be able to deny what the accuser says, but you may never get the chance without a criminal defense lawyer, and you do not want to take on the prosecutor alone.
Also, even though a felony assault charge is immensely serious in Ohio and usually involves a deadly weapon or a gun, it can result in you receiving probation if you are found guilty. This might seem unlikely, but a veteran criminal defense lawyer will use all the information, and especially your rights under the Ohio state laws, to get you the best possible legal outcome, even if you are convicted.
I Have Been Charged With Felony Assault in Delaware, What Should I Do First?
You never expected to be charged with felony assault in your life. However, if you find yourself in this dire situation, don’t ever take your freedom for granted. You need to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney who will fight tirelessly to protect your rights, your freedom, and use all pertinent information about the case in your defense. The criminal defense team at the Law Office of Brian Jones, LLC has the knowledge, experience, and resources to review your case and provide immediate assistance in beginning your defense. Consult with them today, to help ensure that your life isn’t forever altered.