Assault Charges: May I know My Rights?
An assault charge is a serious predicament. Conviction of assault in the United States can result in harsh penalties including but not limited to financial penalties, jail time and probation. The laws regarding assault vary from state to state but the general definition of assault across the United States is any act that seeks to cause bodily or mental harm to another person without their consent. Assault does not always need to involve physical contact; verbal threats or threatening gestures or actions can also be legally considered as assault.
Assault charges can vary depending on the type and severity of the violation the victim claims to suffer.
• Simple Assault – Any injuries sustained from the assault are minor and no weapon was used to commit it
• Verbal Assault – Oral and non-physical in nature, resulting in fear, distress or emotional anguish
• Sexual Assault – Sodomy, molestation, rape or any other kind of sexual offence or act committed without the victims consent
• Aggravated Assault – Use of force against another individual as well as use of a weapon
• Physical Assault – A serious physical attack on someone resulting in grievous bodily harm
• Felonious Assault – Considered to be the most serious of all assault charges, it can include the use of a weapon, an assault that results in serious bodily harm and exercising force over another person against their will
Once you have been accused of assault, it is imperative that you understand how dire your situation is and act accordingly. Your best course of action would be to understand your legal rights in the given situation and act in a way that will maximize the benefit that you can get from those rights.
• You have the right to secure the services of a qualified and professional attorney you can afford. If you cannot afford an attorney, you have the right to be defended by a lawyer paid for by the state.
Anything you say to the police can be misconstrued to improve the chances of your conviction. An experienced lawyer will know this and will know what kind of language to use when talking to the police to minimize the risk of this happening.
• You have a right to present your own witnesses. This is an important right and can steer the outcome of the accusation in your favor. It is best for you to start compiling a list of potential witnesses as soon as you know you have been charged with assault.
• If you have been accused of sexual assault, you have the right to scientific testing which can disprove the allegations made against you.