DC Assault Lawyer

Updated on April 16th, 2024 at 02:35 pm

If you have been arrested and charged with simple assault or aggravated assault in Washington, DC, you must understand the full impact of the criminal charges you’re facing.

Bruckheim & Patel DC assault lawyers will provide you with individualized attention while fighting for your rights through each step of the legal proceedings.

Only 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. A skilled attorney will know how to preserve video evidence, talk to defense witnesses, and pursue any alibi defense.

Contact the legal team at Bruckheim & Patel to speak to one of our experienced assault lawyers during this difficult time.

DC Simple Assault

Simple assault in Washington, DC, is classified as the unwelcomed threat or physical touching of another person.  It can be as minor as a verbal threat (i.e., Stating, “I’m going to punch you” while moving toward someone with clenched fists) or as major as the physical use of force (physically punching that person). See DC Code §22-404.

Penalties for simple assault in DC

If you are found guilty of a simple assault charge in Washington, DC, 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, secure housing, or even be approved for 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

Simple assault covers a range of offenses beyond just physical harm. In legal terms, it includes actions that violate personal boundaries, instill fear, or even act like spitting. The District of Columbia, for example, has specific classifications for these actions. Let’s explore the different types of simple assault:

  • Basic simple assault: An individual can be convicted of basic simple assault if they 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 they 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 they 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 fear unwanted touching.
  • Non-Violent Sexual Touching Assault: An individual can be convicted of a non-violent sexual touching assault when they 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 in Washington DC, the government must prove that the following occurred:

  • The act was voluntary, not a mistake or accident, and
  • The physical action taken was taken with the intent to harm another person even if no actual injury occurred, and
  • When the action was taken, the accused could carry out an injury.

Aggravated assault

If the assault causes “serious” bodily injury, the prosecutor may charge the individual with Aggravated Assault, which is a felony in Washington, D.C. See DC Code § 22-404.01.

Penalties of aggravated assault in DC

An aggravated assault conviction has serious consequences, including up to 10 years in prison, a fine of $25,000, or both.

Elements of Aggravated Assault (D.C. Code §22-404.01)

To obtain a conviction for an aggravated assault in Washington DC, 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
    • Unconsciousness
    • 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 means the individual knew that their action had an unusually high risk of causing death or serious bodily harm to someone else.

Simple assault vs Aggravated assault

If there is no deadly weapon, deciding between an aggravated (felony) assault and a simple assault comes down to how badly you whipped your opponent. Say you break a guy’s nose, but it can heal in a few weeks without any huge effort on his part—that’s not so bad, maybe a misdemeanor unless you broke it with the end of a rifle.

If you put somebody in intensive care, and when he gets out, he’s got weeks or months or years of rehabilitation ahead, AND he’ll never be the same—that’s bad. That’s felony bad.

So, now you know the difference between a felony assault and a simple assault, but this still may not be enough for you to know how to analyze your situation. Maybe you fall somewhere between broken-nose bad and ICU bad. Whatever gray you see in your situation or even if you think you’re sure, you should call a Washington, DC, assault attorney to help you navigate the criminal charges.

Sexual Assault

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

Free Consultation

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.

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