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People may think of the crime of assault as something like stabbing someone or beating someone up badly enough to cause serious, disfiguring injury. In fact, under Alabama law, there are many kinds and levels of assault charges, each carrying different potential sentences.

If you have been charged with assault, it is important to speak to a competent Gulf Shores assault attorney and understand the exact nature of your charges and how to proceed. Criminal defense attorneys in Gulf Shores can help you build a strong defense to your charges.

Assault Charges in Alabama

Assault in Alabama can be in the first, second, or third degree.

First-Degree Assault

First-degree assault is the most serious. Under Alabama Code 13A-6-20, first-degree assault applies where:

  • Someone with intent causes serious physical injury to another person using a deadly weapon
  • Someone permanently injures or disfigures another person with intent
  • Someone seriously injures another person in the act of attempting to commit or committing a crime such as kidnapping, arson, or burglary
  • Someone causes serious injury to another person while acting with reckless indifference to human life
  • Someone causes serious physical injury to another person while driving under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance

Second-Degree Assault

Second-degree assault, governed by Alabama Code 13A-6-21, occurs where:

  • Someone causes physical injury to another person with intent using a deadly weapon
  • Someone recklessly causes serious physical injury to someone using a deadly weapon
  • Someone intends to injure and injures a teacher or other public school employee in certain situations
  • Someone intentionally, and for no medical or therapeutic reason, drugs or otherwise causes someone to become unconscious

Third-Degree Assault

Third-degree assault, governed by Alabama Code 13A-6-22, applies where:

  • Someone injures another person with the intent to do so
  • Someone causes physical injury to another person using a deadly weapon, while acting with criminal negligence
  • Someone recklessly causes physical injury to another person
  • Someone injures a person while trying to keep an officer from performing a lawful duty

First-degree assault is a Class B felony in Alabama, carrying a minimum of two years and up to 20 years imprisonment. Second-degree assault is a Class C felony carrying a minimum of one day and up to 10 years imprisonment. Assault in the third degree is a Class A misdemeanor, which can carry a fine of up to $6,000 and not more than one year in prison.

Possible Defenses Against Assault Charges

If someone has been charged with an assault, all hope is not lost. Depending on the circumstances of the case, people may be able to raise a strong defense. If individuals contact Gulf Shores assault lawyers quickly, they can begin their defense right away.

One example of a defense to an assault charge might be that the person was acting in self-defense. Someone was attempting to harm the person and they acted to protect themselves. Another defense might have to do with intent.

For example, someone may have caused serious injury to another person with a deadly weapon, but it happened by accident. Without intent, causing injury with a deadly weapon is most likely assault in the second degree, rather than assault in the first degree.

Contact a Gulf Shores Assault Attorney

A tough and passionate Gulf Shores assault lawyer will talk you through your assault charge. Depending on your case, you may have options to deal with your assault charge, from pleading to a reduced charge, to raising strong defenses at trial. Experienced attorneys will work to understand your case, empower you to make informed decisions, and fight for you.