Defending Against Felony Assault Charges

How to Defend Against an Assault Charge - Mitchell S. Sexner & Associates  LLC

Many people have a variety of reasons for assaulting another person. These reasons could include self-defense, defense of others or mistake or accident. Self-defense generally boils down to whether a person’s actions were reasonable under the circumstances. Discover more.

In DC, assault charges range from misdemeanor simple assault to felony aggravated assault. A competent DC assault lawyer is essential for a solid defense.


Assault charges can be difficult to defend against, but a skilled and experienced DC assault lawyer has the trial skills necessary to make an impact. One of the most common defenses against felony assault is self-defense. Most jurisdictions allow a person to use force to protect themselves from danger, including deadly force in certain circumstances. Self-defense claims are based on an objective standard, requiring the defendant to believe they were in imminent danger of serious bodily harm. They must also prove that their belief was reasonable.

Other common assault defenses include defense of others and mistake or accident. A person can also be charged with aggravated assault if they touch another person against their will and the contact is not consensual. The prosecution must show that the defendant acted knowingly or purposefully in ways that created a grave risk of serious bodily injury. If the victim is particularly vulnerable (such as an elderly person or someone who is handicapped), this can trigger enhancements and increase the penalty for the crime.

Defense of Others

Defending against assault charges is not always easy but having an experienced DC assault lawyer by your side can help you to fight the case. The trial skills and deep knowledge of the legal minutiae that an experienced criminal attorney brings to your defense can bring about reduced charges, dropped charges and even an acquittal.

One of the most common techniques that a well-versed DC assault attorney can use to decrease your penalties is to argue incomplete self-defense. The law recognizes that a person can defend themselves as long as they can demonstrate that they are responding to a reasonable fear of imminent harm and that the amount of force they used was proportional to the force acted upon them.

A good DC assault lawyer can also try to establish consent to bodily harm as a defense. This involves proving that the person knew there was a risk of harm and that they accepted that risk.

Mistake or Accident

It’s not uncommon for people to get charged with assault when they make a mistake or have an accident. This is especially true when the assault involves a dangerous weapon or results in serious injuries like broken bones, loss of consciousness, severe pain, and hospitalization. If you are facing felony assault charges, you need to speak to an experienced DC criminal attorney immediately.

Generally speaking, assault is any act or show of force that puts another person in fear of imminent harm or offensive contact. The law also makes it a crime to attack or resist certain types of public officials or employees while they are performing their official duties.

Aggravated assault in DC is a felony offense and requires the prosecution to prove that an individual intended or purposely caused serious bodily injury to another person. To prove this, the prosecution must show that the individual committed the assault or acted with extreme indifference to human life by knowing that their actions were likely to cause serious bodily injury or death.

Dangerous or Deadly Weapon

Law enforcement may classify an assault as aggravated if the defendant uses a dangerous weapon, inflicts serious injury, or commits the attack in the course of another crime. The government must prove all four of these elements beyond a reasonable doubt to secure a conviction for aggravated assault.

Defending against these assault charges requires an experienced DC assault lawyer with extensive trial skills and a firm grasp on the legal minutia. A seasoned attorney could assemble medical records, gather forensic evidence, and use character witnesses to build the best defense for an individual accused of assault.

Assaulting a police officer is considered a felony in Washington, DC. To defend against this charge, an attorney could show that the complaining witness misidentified the defendant or that they actually acted in self-defense. A lawyer could also argue that the victim consented to the physical conduct and that it was not an intentional act.

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