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Washington DC Battery Attorney

We often hear the terms “assault and battery” used together but few of us outside of law enforcement and legal professionals fully understand what those terms mean. If you have been charged with battery, you might be wondering what the charge entails. Does it automatically mean that you have been charged with assault? Are you facing a felony or a misdemeanor charge? Will this charge remain on your record regardless of whether you are found guilty or innocent? And if you are convicted, what are the potential penalties? For answers to specific questions regarding a battery charge, you should speak with a dedicated Washington, DC battery lawyer. For a general overview of the charge and what it includes, please refer to the following information.

Assault versus Battery

Assault and battery within the District of Columbia are parts of the same criminal act. Assault is defined as an act of violence or a threat of violence with the intent to commit harm. It can range from simple assault to aggravated assault, and be charged as a misdemeanor or felony depending on the specifics of the incident. Battery typically refers to the actual, intentional physical contact that causes the harm.

Many people think an assault charge applies only to the physical aspect of an alleged crime. This, as we previously noted, is not the case. An assault charge can be levied for mere threats of bodily harm and for unwanted contact — such as unwanted sexual contact or sexual battery — even if the contact does not result in an injury.

It’s also important to note that assault and battery can be addressed from both a civil and criminal standpoint. If you are accused of these crimes, you may face civil penalties, such as damages awarded to the victim to compensate for various harms and losses suffered – e.g. pain, medical bills, and missed time from work. You can also, obviously, face criminal penalties, ranging from probation and fines to incarceration. Both criminal and civil cases can be filed against an individual for the same act, at the same time. The results of the civil and criminal cases do not depend on one another. An experienced attorney who has successfully handled battery charges can explain this potential complication in further detail.

Potential Battery Defense Strategies

If you are charged with assault and battery, do not assume that you are bereft of options. A skilled attorney will be able to build a defense strategy based upon the specifics of your case. Some common defense options include:

  • If the battery charge is levied as the result of a physical altercation, it may be possible to claim self-defense or that both parties were equally to blame.
  • A person also has the right to defend another person reasonably believed to be at risk of harm.
  • A person also has limited rights in defending his or her property.

These are just a few examples of the most common defense strategies employed by knowledgeable DC battery attorneys. To determine which strategy best suits your individual case you will need to consult with a lawyer.

Do You Need a DC Battery Lawyer?

Some people might believe their arrest was an obvious mistake and that the incident can be easily explained to the court. This, sadly, is rarely the case. Prosecutors and police investigators have years of experience in building cases with the singular goal of conviction and the pursuit of maximum penalties. Those penalties can range from thousands of dollars in fines and several months in jail to 10 years in prison if you are found guilty of a felony assault and battery charge.

By the time you have your first appearance before a judge, the prosecutor has likely already decided how she or he will proceed with your charge and likely won’t listen to anything you have to say. If, however, you have an aggressive and well-qualified DC battery attorney representing your interests, the authorities will have to listen to your side of the story. Your attorney will also scrutinize every aspect of the investigation and arrest, looking for any weaknesses in the prosecution’s case and any signs of procedural violations. He will fight to have the charges dropped and defend you vigorously in court. If it appears as though you are likely to be convicted, your attorney will be equally adept at working with the prosecution and court to get the charges reduced. This could mean the difference between probation and time behind bars, a minor fine or the maximum fine allowed.

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