You deserve honest, dedicated, and effective legal representation. Regardless of when or why you’re seeking legal counsel, the criminal defense lawyers of Berry Law Firm will provide legal help at every stage if you have been charged with assault in Iowa. It is our duty to help you:
- Understand your assault charge(s)
- Navigate the legal process smoothly
- Explore alternative legal options that protect your future
If you are trying to find an assault lawyer in Council Bluffs that will examine your case professionally while advocating for you personally, we offer a free consultation session. A criminal charge can drastically impact your life; do your best to defend yourself by hiring a lawyer with extensive assault case experience.
Understanding the Legal Process When Accused of Assault
When the state or another government agency accuses you of violating the law, a criminal charge is filed that may lead to punishment of a fine, jail or prison time, or community service. The legal process after being charged with assault consists of:
- Pretrial procedures include the initial appearance, preliminary hearing, indictment, arraignment, discovery phase, and plea bargaining.
- Criminal trial stage entails jury selection, opening statements, presenting evidence, closing arguments, giving of the verdict, and sentencing.
Punishment for an Assault Charge in Iowa
A Council Bluffs assault attorney can evaluate your case to discuss what punishment could apply to your assault case. The penalty for assault in Iowa depends on the type of assault that you are charged with. The following information provides a brief overview:
Definition of Assault
In Iowa, the fundamental definition of assault consists of:
- Any action that appears to have the capacity to harm another person or bring them suffering
- Any conduct that has the apparent ability to be carried out and is designed to result in offensive bodily contact, to put another in fear of immediate offensive physical contact
- Purposely exhibiting or pointing a deadly weapon in a threatening manner at someone
Types of Charges for Assault
A number of assault-related offenses are defined by Iowa law and carry different types of charges. Misdemeanors can be classified as simple, serious, or aggravated. Class A felonies are the most serious types of crimes, followed by class B through D felonies.
- A misdemeanor assault is when someone willfully injures or hurts someone else, or makes someone else fearful of unwelcome bodily contact or harm.
- An assault that results in serious injury or happens while another felony or sex crime is being committed qualifies as a felony assault.
- Assault with a dangerous weapon in Iowa discusses the distinct crime of assault with a dangerous weapon that exists in Iowa.
Punishments for Assault Charges Vary
The severity of the punishment for conviction typically rises with the level of the offense for both misdemeanor and felony offenses. When an assault targets a protected employee, is committed as a hate crime, results in physical harm or mental illness, but does not actually result in serious harm, it is punishable in Iowa as an aggravated misdemeanor.
If a weapon is intended to be used to harm or intimidate another person, the crime is classified as a felony. Using or brandishing a weapon can also be considered an aggravating misdemeanor.
A $625 to $6,250 fine and up to two years in jail are the penalties for aggravated offenses. For felony offenses, the state will distinguish between the classification or the degree to which the offense was committed but will typically sentence the defendant to prison time.
Defense Strategy Against an Assault Charge
The majority of assault and child abuse cases involve mistaken or false identification. Other possible defenses that can be used to lessen or clear your assault charge include:
Self-Defense or Defense of Others
A defendant may assert a right to self-defense or the defense of others and provide proof that the alleged victim started the altercation and that the defendant was protecting themselves or another individual from the alleged victim’s assault.
This defense could consist of proving that the victim had a weapon in their possession, that the victim made the initial threat, or that the victim actually delivered the initial attack.
Resisting Excessive Use of Force During an Arrest
The arrestee may use a reasonable degree of force to resist if a police officer uses excessive force (likely to result in serious bodily damage) while making the arrest. But since determining what constitutes “excessive” and what qualifies as a “reasonable degree” depends heavily on the facts, it is very challenging for a defendant to prevail on this argument.
Elements of Crime Not Proven
We may alternatively argue that the prosecutor has failed to meet its burden of proof by providing every element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. For instance, the criminal must have intended to commit both assault and battery. If assault happens as a result of an accident or is proven to be a practical joke, it can be contended that no crime was committed.
How to Get an Assault Charge Dropped
Contact one of our assault lawyers in Council Bluffs right away to find out how you might have an assault charge dropped.
We have handled assault cases all over Iowa and Nebraska, earning the respect of the local police, prosecutors, and judges through our professionalism and deliberate approach. Having a legal team that is knowledgeable about the practices in each county and knows which personnel may be assigned to your case is very beneficial to you.
Berry Law Firm collaborates with you, the client, to involve you in the decision-making process while upholding an attorney’s interest in securing a positive result. Don’t face your accusations alone or in fear. We’re here to succeed.