New Bedford Assault Lawyer
Facing a criminal assault charge can be frightening. An assault conviction could result in fines or jail time, tarnish your criminal history, and potentially make it difficult to find employment. A New Bedford assault lawyer could help someone charged with assault by negotiating with the district attorney and defending them in court. If you are facing criminal assault charges in New Bedford, it may be important that you speak with a skilled criminal attorney right away.What is Assault?
Some people may think an assault always involves physically harming another person. In fact, assault in New Bedford only requires that a person suffering from a reasonable expectation or fear of imminent physical harm. In other words, assault does not actually require physical harm to occur.
This differentiation is the rationale behind the common phrase assault and battery. Battery describes that actual harm caused to someone, while assault refers only to the psychological apprehension associated with that imminent harm. For this reason, it is possible to commit an assault but not actually commit a battery.
According to Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 265, Section 13A, a conviction in New Bedford for assault or assault and battery can lead to a maximum of two and a half years in jail and up to a $1,000 fine. However, a New Bedford assault lawyer may be able to help a person charged receive less than the maximum sentence.Understanding the Severity of an Assault Charge
In New Bedford, the punishment for an assault conviction can depend on several factors. One such factor is the type of alleged victim. For example, a conviction for an assault against a child less than 14 years old could result in a punishment of up to ten years of imprisonment, rather than the two and a half years for a simple assault.
In the same vein, a conviction for assault on a medical technician or ambulance driver has a mandatory minimum sentence of ninety days, but still only a maximum of two and a half years. A second conviction of assault on a household member can increase the resulting sentence to up to five years in prison.What is the Role of Intent in an Assault Case?
Another factor than can increase a punishment for an assault in New Bedford is the intent behind the assault. For example, if an assault is committed with the intent to rob or steal from someone, or if the intent was to murder, maim, or disfigure another person, the punishment could be as much as ten years imprisonment. If there is a provable intent to commit a rape, the sentence could be up to twenty years.
Some assault statutes in New Bedford take into account both the intent behind the assault as well as the class of victim. If, for example, an assault is committed with a weapon, with intent to rob or murder, against a person over the age of sixty years, the punishment can be a sentence of up to twenty years. Likewise, if a person enters the dwelling of another with intent to commit a felony and assaults someone while inside, they could face a life sentence with a minimum mandatory sentence of ten years.Talk to a New Bedford Assault Attorney
There is no reason to wait after being charged with any sort of assault to speak with a New Bedford assault lawyer. Even a simple assault can lead to significant jail sentences and extenuating circumstances often worsen the potential consequences.
An experienced assault attorney could help you through each step of the Massachusetts criminal justice system, working to ensure you receive fair due process at every stage. If you are charged with assault, consider consulting a New Bedford assault lawyer right away to begin working on your case.