Assault is a crime that involves harm, the risk of harm, or threatened harm to others, and the penalties for a conviction may be severe. If you are facing allegations related to this crime, a Lincoln assault lawyer can investigate the circumstances surrounding your charges and work toward building a strong defense on your behalf.
Whether you were unexpectedly caught in a bar fight or attempting to protect yourself from an attack, the police can charge you with assault and battery. If convicted, you may encounter difficulties finding jobs, housing, and more. A dedicated criminal defense attorney from our firm can protect your rights throughout the criminal justice process and work for the best possible outcome in your case.
At Berry Law, we have tried numerous assault and battery cases. We know how to exploit weaknesses in the prosecution’s case against you. Call our office today to schedule an appointment with one of our criminal attorneys.
Types of Assault and Battery Charges
State law also identifies various types of assault based on the classification of the person targeted. Nebraska Revised Statute § 28-929 addresses crimes against:
- Emergency responders
- State correctional employees
- Department of Health and Human Services employees
- Health care professionals.
Neb. Rev. Stat. § 28-323 defines varying levels of domestic assault. Domestic assault offenses involve the infliction of injury on intimate partners, including current or former spouses, individuals who share a child, and individuals who are currently or were previously dating.
Other Crimes Associates with Assault Charges
Criminal acts such as stabbing, robbery, sexual misconduct can lead to assault charges as well. Prosecutors often pair firearms or weapons charges with assault charges. When a person uses a gun or other weapon while committing a crime, he or she may face a mandatory minimum sentence upon conviction. This can result in time in federal prison, so it is crucial to seek an experienced assault lawyer’s help.
How Long Does the State Have to Charge Me With Assault?
Much like with civil lawsuits, there is a deadline for pursuing criminal charges. If the state fails to file criminal charges within a certain amount of time, it cannot pursue charges in the future. This deadline—known as the statute of limitations—is codified at Nebraska Revised Statute § 29-110.
The time limit for the state to pursue criminal charges varies. There is no statute of limitations on serious charges like murder, arson, or first-degree sexual assault. However, for felony assault charges, the state has three years to file charges. That time limit is only 18 months for misdemeanor assault. A determined attorney at Berry Law can investigate your assault case to determine whether the prosecutors missed the statute of limitations.
First, Second, and Third-Degree Crimes
Under Nebraska Revised Statute § 28-308, individuals commit first-degree assault when they intentionally cause serious bodily injuries to others. Neb. Rev. Stat. § 28-109 defines “serious bodily injury” as any physical injury that poses a significant risk of death, severe and continuing disfigurement, or the loss of impairment of a bodily function or organ for a lengthy period.
Neb. Rev. Stat. § 28-309 establishes the offense of second-degree assault. This offense occurs when individuals take any of the following actions:
- Intentionally cause physical harm to others using a dangerous instrument
- Recklessly cause serious physical injuries to others using a dangerous instrument
- Unlawfully strike or wound others while incarcerated in jail, prison, or committed as a dangerous sex offender
Third-degree assault charges occur when individuals purposely or recklessly inflict physical harm on others or threaten others in an intimidating manner. For second-degree and third-degree assault, bodily injury or physical harm refers to any physical pain or impairment. If you are unsure of the severity of your assault charges, it is best to speak with a skilled lawyer.
Penalties for Assault in Lincoln
First-degree assault is a Class II felony under Nebraska law. A Class II felony conviction may result in a prison sentence ranging from one to 50 years. Second-degree assault is a Class IIA felony offense, which carries a maximum potential prison sentence of 20 years.
Under state law, third-degree assault is a Class I misdemeanor but may be reduced to a Class II misdemeanor when it results from a fight in which both parties were active participants. A Class I misdemeanor carries a potential maximum jail sentence of one year, a $1,000 fine, or both, whereas a Class II misdemeanor can result in a six-month jail sentence, a $1,000 fine, or both.
What are Common Defenses for an Assault Charge?
You can use multiple defenses to fight criminal charges, but no one argument works for every case. It is vital to discuss your options with an attorney when facing an assault charge.
Self-defense is arguably the most common defense in an assault case. Individuals have the right to protect themselves if they are facing the imminent threat of serious harm. This is true even when their effort to defend themselves would otherwise violate the assault statute. Other common defenses include a lack of evidence, mistaken identity, and the protection of others.
What Rights Do I Have Following an Assault Arrest?
A person arrested for assault enjoys all the rights prescribed by state law and the constitution. One of the most important rights is the right to remain silent. The police cannot compel suspects to answer questions about the offense against their will. The officers might imply that they have overwhelming evidence, and pleading guilty is the only option, but they may not be telling the truth.
Yes, law enforcement officers can lie to you.
Anyone arrested for assault also has the right to legal counsel. It is best to refrain from giving any statements to law enforcement until your lawyer has reviewed the circumstances of an arrest.
Seek the Help of a Lincoln Assault Attorney
Assault charges could result in a felony or misdemeanor criminal conviction, both of which can be severely damaging to your future. A Lincoln assault lawyer can be your most reliable tool in defending yourself against allegations of assault offenses. Call the team at Berry Law today to schedule a confidential consultation.