Updated on February 14th, 2023 at 06:20 pm
If you have been arrested and charged with a simple assault crime or an aggravated assault crime in the District of Columbia, it is important that you understand the full impact of the charges you are facing.
DC assault lawyers at Bruckheim & Patel will provide you with individualized attention while fighting for your rights through each step of the legal proceedings.
An experienced assault lawyer can evaluate the circumstances of your case to determine if there are viable defenses such as self-defense, defense of others, or defense of property. It is crucial that you contact a DC assault lawyer after your arrest. A skilled attorney will know how to preserve video evidence, talk to defense witnesses, and pursue any alibi defense. Contact Bruckheim & Patel to speak to one of our experienced assault lawyers.
DC Simple Assault
Simple assault in Washington, DC is classified as the unwelcomed threat or physical touching of another person. See DC Code § 22-404. A simple assault can be as minor as a verbal threat (example: “I’m going to punch you” while moving towards someone with your fists clenched) or as major as a physical use of force (physically punching that person). See DC Code §22-404.
If you are found guilty of a simple assault charge, the penalties can include up to 180 days in jail, a $1,000.00 fine, or both. A conviction for simple assault can hinder your ability to obtain employment, to secure housing, or even to receive financial loans. This is especially true in the District of Columbia, which maintains a database that allows the public to view an individual’s criminal convictions. Be sure to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney for your case.
Types of Simple Assault
- Basic simple assault: An individual can be convicted of basic simple assault if he or she intentionally touched another person without that person’s consent but did not cause “serious” bodily injury.
- Attempted-battery assault: An individual can be convicted of an attempted-battery assault when he or she intentionally touched or attempted to touch a victim, even if no actual injury occurred.
- Intent-to-frighten assault: An individual can be convicted of an intent-to-frighten assault when he or she intentionally committed a threatening act that “reasonably” would make another person fear unwanted touching. The individual can still be convicted of an intent-to-frighten assault even if the specific victim did not actually fear unwanted touching.
- Non-Violent Sexual Touching Assault: An individual can be convicted of a non-violent sexual touching assault when he or she intentionally “sexually touched” the alleged victim without the victim’s consent.
- Spitting: Spitting on another person is considered a simple assault in the District of Columbia.
Elements of Simple Assault (DC §22-404)
To obtain a conviction for a simple assault, the government must prove that the following occurred:
- The act was made voluntarily, not by mistake or accident; and
- The physical action taken was taken with the intent to harm another person even if no actual injury occurred; and
- At the time the action was taken, the accused had the ability to carry out an injury.
If the assault causes “serious” bodily injury, the prosecutor may charge the individual with an “Aggravated Assault,” which is a felony in the District of Columbia. See DC Code § 22-404.01.
An aggravated assault conviction has serious consequences that can include up to 10 years in prison, a fine of $25,000, or both.
Elements of Aggravated Assault (DC Code §22-404.01)
To obtain a conviction for an aggravated assault, the government must prove that the following occurred:
- The individual’s actions caused “serious bodily injury,” which requires that the injury involves at least one of the following:
- Substantial risk of death
- Protracted and obvious disfigurement
- Extreme physical pain
- Loss or impairment of a bodily member or organ
- Loss or impairment of a bodily function
- Loss or impairment of a mental faculty
- See Jackson v. U.S., 9270 A.2d 277 (2009).
- The individual who caused the serious bodily injury did so either:
- Intending to cause serious bodily injury
- Knowing that the actions would cause serious bodily injury; or
- Manifesting extreme indifference to human life, which means the individual knew that his or her action had an unusually high risk of causing death or serious bodily harm to someone else.
Unlike other states, D.C. doesn’t differentiate between different types of sexual assault like forcible sodomy, rape, and object sexual penetration. Instead, the D.C. Code §22-3001 combines these acts into sexual contact and sexual act.
However, the Act puts the offenses into distinct categories (1-4 degrees plus a misdemeanor charge) depending on severity.
According to DC Code §22-3001(8), sexual act is:
- Vulva or anus penetration of another by a penis
- Contact between the mouth and penis, vulva, or anus
- Vulva or anal penetration by a finger, hand, or an object intended to humiliate, abuse, degrade, arouse, or harass another person.
Sexual contact is any contact between another’s body part or object with another’s genitalia, breast, groin, anus, buttocks, or inner thigh to humiliate, harass, abuse, gratify, or degrade the person. This definition applies whether the contact is through clothing or direct.
Sexual assault charges can attract fines and jail time as follows:
|Sex Abuse Charges||Penalty|
|First degree||Life imprisonment and/or $125,000 in fines|
|Second degree||20 years in jail or $50,000 in fines|
|Third degree||Ten years in jail or $25,000 in fines|
|Fourth degree||Five years in jail or up to $12,500 in fines|
|Misdemeanor||180 days in jail or $1,000 in fines|
If you have been charged with simple assault or an aggravated assault in the District of Columbia, do not risk your money or your freedom. Contact the experienced and professional DC Assault attorneys at Bruckheim & Patel. We will provide you with a free initial consultation today at 202-930-3464 and help you deal with your assault charges.