First-Degree Assault Penalties & Defense Strategies
In Alabama, first-degree assault charges are taken incredibly seriously. With penalties including thousands of dollars in fines and multiple years in jail, it is extremely important that any individual involved with such a charge contact an experienced attorney immediately. These sorts of penalties can have a severe impact on an individual for many years after the crime has occurred, which should be effectively dealt with as soon as possible. A seasoned assault lawyer will be knowledgeable of all penalties associated with a first-degree assault charge, and be able to properly defend any charge their client may be facing.
First-degree assault in Alabama is classified as a Class B felony. The range of penalties includes incarceration of between two and 20 years and a fine of up to $30,000. If a motor vehicle is involved, a person’s driver’s license can also be revoked.
In Alabama, a first-degree assault charge falls under the presumptive sentencing guidelines. Even with no prior criminal history, a person could face a minimum mandatory prison sentence if a deadly weapon was used. However, each case is unique and must be evaluated to determine the length of sentence someone faces for a first-degree assault charge in Alabama. Therefore, it is very important to contact an experienced defense lawyer to help make that assessment. A lawyer can properly assess any first-degree assault penalties, and craft an effective defense strategy.
The major long-term consequence of someone who has been convicted of first-degree assault in Alabama is having a serious violent felony offense on their record. Unfortunately, in Alabama, there is no type of expungement currently available to eliminate a felony conviction. So, a person convicted of first-degree assault in Alabama is unable to vote, carry a firearm, and faces habitual offender sentencing should they be convicted in the future of felony and theft.
There are many ways an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Alabama can refute the prosecution’s evidence in a first-degree assault case. The main thing to focus on is the level of injury.
There is a requirement to prove that the injury involved is a statutorily defined serious physical injury. Therefore, a lawyer can mitigate the level of injury down to a plain physical injury and the case would not be a first-degree charge.
As well, causation of the injury and causation of an accident, if involved, are things to focus on when trying to mitigate penalties and exposure to a first-degree assault prosecution.
A knowledgeable attorney will best be aware of any penalties associated with first-degree assault, and the defense strategies to employ to properly defend that charge. A lawyer will be able to determine the causation of the injury and adjust the defense strategy accordingly.
Hearing of Assault Cases
When someone is charged with a first-degree assault in Alabama, their case usually begins in the district court. The district courts of Alabama are courts of limited jurisdiction. That means there is no determination of guilt or innocence, however, a person does have a right to begin a preliminary hearing.
A preliminary hearing allows a person to investigate the state’s evidence and determine whether there is probable cause for the warrant to be issued.
This is a very important step in properly defending an assault of first-degree charges in Alabama. If the case moves from the district court, it goes to the circuit court. However, the district attorney could bypass the district court by immediately taking the case to the grand jury, and there the case would begin in the circuit court.