Criminal charges involving an assault are one of the most common types seen in Omaha. Despite the frequency with which courts hear these cases, understanding Nebraska’s assault laws can be tricky. Therefore, it is important that you consult an Omaha assault lawyer if you are facing assault charges.
Many people are surprised to learn that they were charged with assault even though they did not actually hit another person. The simple fact is, however, that merely threatening another person with bodily harm is a criminal act in the state of Nebraska. Furthermore, a conviction for even a low-level assault charge is a serious matter that can result in a lengthy jail term or require the payment of a heavy fine.
An Omaha assault lawyer from Berry Law Firm may be able to prevent this from happening by representing your best interests in court, whether it be to enter a fair plea deal or fight the charges at trial. Our dedicated criminal defense attorneys could work to conduct their own investigation into the incident, develop a defense designed to protect your constitutional rights, and put that defense into effect in court.
Assault and State Law
In Nebraska, there are three different degrees of assault: assault in the third degree, assault in the second degree, and assault in the first degree.
Assault in the Third Degree
According to Nebraska Revised Statute §28-310, assault in the third degree occurs any time a party causes a physical harm to another. However, even if a person does not make physical contact with the alleged target, they may still face third degree assault charges. This is because the statute also outlaws the threatening of another person in a menacing manner. A conviction of this kind is a Class I misdemeanor which is generally punishable by up to a year in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000. An exception occurs when there is mutual consent in the scuffle. In this case, it will be considered a Class II misdemeanor
Assault in the Second Degree
Assault charges become more serious if the defendant allegedly used a dangerous instrument during the assault. Under Nebraska Revised Statute §28-309, this is assault in the second degree which is a Class IIA felony charge and is generally punishable by a maximum of 20 years imprisonment.
Assault in the First Degree
The most severe version of assault applies when a defendant knowingly or intentionally causes serious bodily harm to another. The concept of serious bodily harm is not specifically defined by law but is instead left up to the court to decide. According to Nebraska Revised Statute §28-308, assault in the first degree is a Class II felony which is generally punishable by between one to 50 years imprisonment.
Potential Defenses Used by Omaha Assault Lawyers
An Omaha assault attorney may combat an assault charge by arguing a case of mistaken identity. If the victim of an alleged assault cannot accurately remember the face of their supposed attacker, or claims to have been hit from behind, their reliability as a witness may be weak.
Another key portion of any assault case is the concept of intent. Each level of assault requires a prosecutor to prove the mindset, or mens rea, of the defendant. For instance, to obtain a conviction for first degree assault, a prosecutor must prove that the defendant intentionally or knowingly harmed the alleged victim. To refute this allegation, an assault lawyer in Omaha could argue that the severe injuries were the result of mere reckless conduct, which could result in the severity of the charges being reduced.
There are several ways an attorney can defend against assault charges. Berry Law Firm’s assault lawyers in Omaha are determined and aggressive when building a defense to an assault case.
Let an Omaha Assault Attorney Help
Charges involving even the most minor form of assault are a serious matter. Convictions here can require a defendant to serve jail time and pay heavy fines, on top of creating a criminal record. More serious allegations are felonies that can carry mandatory minimum prison sentences.
It is critical that you give yourself the best chance of success. Hiring an Omaha assault lawyer could provide an essential advantage. At Berry Law, we are prepared to protect your rights from day one by conducting our own investigation into the incident, talking with any witnesses to the alleged assault, and working to create reasonable doubt in the minds of juries. Call today to schedule an initial consultation to discuss your case.