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Assault is often a very aggressively prosecuted charge. Along with any potential legal consequences, an individual will also have to face the social stigma associated with such a charge. These types of convictions can sometimes be difficult to overcome, burdening an individual incredibly. To help lessen any penalties associated with an assault charge, it is important that any person involved hire an experienced Vestavia Hills assault lawyer immediately. A knowledgeable attorney in Vestavia Hills can assist in reducing or minimizing any consequences you may be facing with your assault charge.

Defining Assault

In Vestavia Hills, assault is when one person’s conduct causes injury to another person. The level of injury and the type of conduct define the severity of the assault charge, whether it is a misdemeanor or felony. In the context of an assault in Vestavia Hills, the terms “reasonable apprehension of immediate harm” or “unwanted contact” are distinguishing factors where one is not charged with assault but rather by their menacing or harassment versus an assault.

In Alabama, the most common assault charges are assault in the third degree, which is a misdemeanor, and also domestic violence assault in the third degree. Many times, these charges are in municipal courts when people in marriages and relationships get into an argument. Another common assault in Vestavia Hills is where a DUI or aggravated speeding is involved and someone becomes seriously injured. Assault charges in Vestavia Hills are taken very seriously and prosecuted very aggressively by law enforcement, making it important that an assault attorney in Vestavia Hills is contacted.

Assault vs. Menacing or Harassment

In Vestavia Hills, there is only assault. There is no distinction between assault and battery. However, there are other offenses similar to the concept of assault and battery. Essentially, an assault is where conduct causes actual injury to another person. The crimes of menacing and harassment are fitting to a situation where there is either physical contact of another person with no injury, or the threat of some type of conduct or action that creates fear of injury in another person.

Investigative Process

In Alabama, typically on a misdemeanor assault, the investigation and arrest are done within a very short period of time, usually at the scene of the accident or within a few hours thereafter. However, for more serious felony assaults involving vehicular accidents such as DUIs and things of that nature, the investigation can last weeks and even months while law enforcement determines the causation of the accident or injuries, and sees the severity of said injuries when someone is sent to the hospital.

Theoretically for a misdemeanor assault, Vestavia Hills law enforcement has up to 12 months to investigate the case. This is because that is the statute of limitations for that type of charge. That statute increases to up to five years for a felony assault. However, the arrest is usually made within a short period of time for a misdemeanor, or within a couple of months for a felony. It is crucial that any individual in such a situation, no matter a misdemeanor or felony, contact a Vestavia Hills assault attorney to begin preparing an effective defense strategy.

Process of the Case

In Alabama, the prosecution must prove all elements of the assault crime beyond a reasonable doubt to gain a conviction. Usually, this includes the elements of intent, and there also must be some level of injury. The level of injury is what delineates between a felony or non-felony assault prosecution. In either case, the assistance of a Vestavia Hills assault attorney must be utizilized in order to properly defend against such charges.

Assault charges can be associated with a very high social stigma because it is a violent offense. There may be collateral consequences such as jail time, family law, custody issues, and serious probationary terms from the court. The range of punishment and the social stigma are so severe that many people are intimidated when placed in these types of charges.

Benefits of an Attorney

Many people think they can go to court and talk their way out of an assault charge. However, having a lawyer involved serves as a buffer between the accused and the prosecution. An attorney is able to investigate the case, challenge the evidence, and hold the prosecution to the burden of proof. Therefore, it is very important to hire a seasoned Vestavia Hills assault attorney to defend any charges you may be facing.