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Assault Attorneys in Dothan, Alabama

In Alabama, physical assaults and other acts of aggression are taken very seriously by law enforcement personnel, prosecutors and judges, and the law deals harshly with offenders in many situations. Time in jail or prison is a reality for many people convicted of violent crimes. In addition, if you are convicted of assault, you will have a criminal record that could negatively impact your future in numerous ways.

If you have been accused of an assault or a similar offense, having an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side is extremely important if you want to reach the best possible outcome. Being accused of a crime is not the same as being convicted, however, and you have the right to due process under the Constitution.

At Smith & McGhee, PC, we have successfully defended countless individuals who have been charged with assault and all other types of criminal offenses in Alabama. We work closely with our clients, putting our extensive experience to work to mitigate the circumstances as much as possible. Contact us at 334-702-1744 for advice about your case.

Fighting for Your Rights Regardless of the Type of Charges

Whether you were charged in relation to a fight, an event involving a firearm or an automobile incident, the criminal defense attorneys of Smith & McGhee, PC, can develop a thorough defense strategy and fight strongly for your rights. We defend clients against criminal charges that include:

  • Misdemeanor assault or third-degree assault
  • Felony assault in the first or second degree
  • Menacing that involves deliberately creating the fear of harm
  • Reckless endangerment that involves the risk of injury to another person, and can include a firearm
  • Possession or use of a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument
  • Vehicular assault that generally involves bodily injury caused by the driver of a vehicle
  • Juvenile delinquency or youthful offense
  • Murder, manslaughter or vehicular homicide

Assault Charges in Alabama

There are varying degrees of assault that you may be charged with in Alabama, depending on the type and seriousness of the alleged offense:

First Degree Assault

Assault in the first degree is categorized as a Class B felony, and it can occur when someone causes or intends to cause serious physical injury with a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument or intends to cause permanent disability or disfigurement. A person can also be charged with first-degree assault if they assault someone while committing a felony that is clearly dangerous to human life or while committing various types of felonies; such as arson or attempted arson in the first degree, first or second degree burglary, or first degree escape, kidnapping, rape, robbery, or sodomy. Finally, an individual may be charged with first degree assault if they cause serious bodily injury while driving under the influence of alcohol, a controlled substance, or a combination of the two.

First degree assault is the most serious assault charge, and those who are convicted are subject to any or all of the following penalties:

  • Fines of up to $30,000;
  • Between two and 20 years in state prison, with a mandatory minimum of 10 years if the defendant used or attempted to use a firearm or deadly weapon during the commission of the assault;
  • Enhanced penalties if the defendant has prior felony convictions;
  • Probation and community service.

Second Degree Assault

Assault in the second degree is categorized as a Class C felony, and it can occur when an individual causes or intends to cause serious physical injury to another person, uses a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument to carry out the crime, or recklessly causes serious injury through the use of a weapon. A person can also be charged with second degree assault when they cause injury by intending to prevent a peace officer or care worker from performing their lawful duty.

Second degree assault is a less serious charge than assault in the first degree, but it is still considered a felony, and the penalties are still very harsh. They include:

  • Fines of up to $15,000;
  • No less than one year and one day in state prison, and up to 10 years, with a mandatory minimum of 10 years if the defendant used or attempted to use a firearm or deadly weapon during the commission of the assault;
  • Enhanced penalties for prior felony convictions;
  • Probation and community service.

Third Degree Assault

Assault in the third degree is categorized as a Class A misdemeanor, and it happens when an individual causes or intends to cause physical injury to another person, recklessly causes physical injury to another person, is criminally negligent in causing physical injury to another person with a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument, or causes physical injury to another with intent to prevent a peace officer from performing a lawful duty.

Third degree assault is charged as a misdemeanor rather than a felony, which means the penalties are less serious, although they are still pretty severe. Penalties for assault in the third degree in Alabama include:

  • Fines of up to $6,000;
  • Up to one year in county jail;
  • Probation and community service.

Hate Crimes

Alabama requires a minimum sentence for defendants who are convicted for assault if the crime was motivated by the victim’s actual or perceived race, color, ethnicity, national origin, religion, or physical or mental disability. Here are the state minimums for hate crime assaults:

  • First-Degree Assault – minimum sentence of 10 years in state prison.
  • Second-Degree Assault – minimum sentence of 2 years in state prison.
  • Third-Degree Assault – minimum sentence of 3 months in county jail.

Defending an Assault Charge in Alabama

As we touched on earlier, being charged with a crime does not automatically mean you will be convicted. There are several potential defenses that can be used – depending on the circumstances – to secure a dismissal or at the very least, a reduction to a less serious charge. Some of the defenses that may be effective in fighting an assault charge include:

  • Lack of sufficient proof;
  • Failure of law enforcement to follow the proper procedures;
  • Lack of intent (e.g., what happened was accidental and not intended to cause harm or scare the victim);
  • The defendant was acting in self-defense or in defense of others.

Dothan Assault Defense Lawyers with Real-World Experience

Our lawyers have represented clients in hundreds of cases. We know how prosecutors and courts work, and we understand Alabama sentencing guidelines. We also understand law enforcement methods and procedures, and we can vigorously challenge law enforcement conduct and the prosecution’s evidence whenever appropriate. Contact us at 334-702-1744 or message us online for confidential help with your case.

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