Second Degree Assault in Alabama | Felony or Misdemeanor?
Second degree assault charges in Alabama are prosecuted very aggressively by Alabama district attorneys. Although not the most serious degree of the charge (first degree assault is the most serious), second degree assault in Alabama is a felony offense punishable by multiple years in jail and thousands of dollars in fines. To avoid such serious consequences, it is important that any individual involved contact an experienced Alabama assault attorney as soon as possible. A knowledgeable lawyer will be able to assist in lessening or dismissing any charges you may be facing.
What Is Alabama Second Degree Assault?
Second degree assault in Alabama constitutes several different charges the state can use to convict you. This charge is classified as a Class C felony. Some of the various theories that constitute second degree assault in Alabama include when someone with intent to cause serious physical injury only causes serious physical injury to another person. In addition, this charge can be brought when someone that intends to physically injure another person only causes a physical injury with a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument, or when someone recklessly causes serious physical injuries by means of a deadly weapon. One of the main areas of prosecution for second degree assault in Alabama is when an injury is perpetrated upon a police officer or law enforcement officer in the furtherance of their duties.
Role of Intent
Intent in a second degree assault charge in Alabama is an element of six of the seven theories under the second degree assault statute in Alabama. Therefore in the majority of prosecutions, the state must prove that the person had intent to commit the assault. Typically, a second degree assault case in Alabama is initially heard in the district court of the county. However, it could be sent to the circuit court of the county.
First vs. Second Degree Assault Charges
The primary difference between first and second-degree assault in Alabama can be one of two things. First, the level of injury dictates the severity of the charge, and secondly, whether a deadly weapon was used.
Further, the long-term consequences of a second and first degree assault conviction in Alabama are essentially the same, with the only difference being the range of penalty. A person could be facing a longer imprisonment for a first-degree assault conviction. However, conviction for either is a felony and therefore has the same collateral consequences of habitual offender sentencing and the future inability to vote or possess firearms.
Elements of the Charge
The main elements of a crime that the prosecution must prove in a second-degree assault charge in Alabama are either an intent or a reckless conduct on the part of the person charged with assault. A level of basic physical injury must also be involved in order to prove a crime. The prosecution uses eye witness statements, medical records, expert medical testimony, and accident reconstruction to try to prove these elements.
Potential Second Degree Assault Defenses & Penalties
Second-degree assault in Alabama is a Class C felony. This means that the range of punishment is imprisonment from between one year and a day up to 10 years. Further, a monetary fine of up to $15,000 and a driver’s license suspension when a vehicle was used are additional penalties.
When criminal defense lawyers in Alabama refute or mitigate the prosecution’s evidence in a second degree assault charge, they will attack the intent of the person charged with the crime. The lawyer will try to disprove the state’s theory that the person intended for the injury to occur. In addition, the level of injury can be mitigated, whether the conduct was reckless or not. An experienced criminal defense lawyer can also introduce self-defense or defense of others into the case to try to mitigate the exposure of criminal liability.