Your entire life may be impacted if you have been accused of domestic violence. The allegations could affect your property settlement and how much parenting time you get with your children.
Assault in the third degree is a misdemeanor, and a conviction can land you in jail for a year. Luckily, there are ways to fight the charges.
What Is Assault in the Third Degree?
If someone suffers physical harm, that person may be accused of third-degree assault. This is one of the least severe assault charges and often occurs in minor altercations and domestic disputes. For example, if one spouse punches the other in the face and causes a black eye or broken nose, it can lead to an assault in the third-degree charge.
A victim of an assault in the third degree does not have to show proof of actual physical injury but must simply say that the blows hurt. This is why it is essential to have an experienced assault defense attorney who can examine the case and mount a strong legal strategy.
Depending on the circumstances, it is sometimes possible to get leniency on a third-degree assault charge, particularly for first-time offenders. This may mean that you can complete a diversionary program and have the matter dismissed.
Legal Implications of Assault in the Third Degree
The lightest charge of assault, an individual can still face significant consequences for a conviction. These may include incarceration, high penalties, and a conviction that stays on your record forever and may have long-term effects on you.
3rd degree domestic assault is generally charged when someone knowingly, or through criminal negligence, causes physical injury to another person. This charge often arises when people get into fights or scuffles at bars and cause injuries such as black eyes or broken noses.
However, the victim must have a statutorily defined relationship with the defendant to be charged. In some instances, a third-degree assault case will be elevated to second-degree assault if the injury is more severe and inflicted by a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument or when a person inflicts the injury with intent. A felony conviction has long-lasting implications that extend far beyond a prison sentence, including an impact on your ability to find work or housing and own weapons.
Penalties for Assault in the Third Degree
Depending on the circumstances, this crime may be elevated to a felony if the injury is severe.
As a misdemeanor, a person faces up to one year in jail and may be fined. There is also a requirement for probation. A third-degree assault conviction on your record can negatively impact several aspects of your life. It can affect employment, housing, and even college admissions.
An excellent criminal defense lawyer can often have the charges reduced to a less severe charge or even dismissed altogether. There are various defenses, including lack of injury and self-defense. Moreover, a criminal lawyer could argue that you did not intend to hurt the person. Getting charged with an assault can be very serious, and getting a skilled lawyer is crucial.
Defenses of Assault in the Third Degree
Even while third-degree assault is the least serious of the three assault counts, it can nevertheless wreck your life if you are found guilty. If a person is convicted of this crime, their criminal history will be discovered during background checks by prospective employers, landlords, and college admissions committees.
The most common defense to assault in the third degree is self-defense. If someone is attacking you and you punch them in the face, it is your legal right to use the force necessary to protect yourself.
Another common defense to a domestic violence charge is criminal negligence. If you know your behavior could cause physical injury but disregard this risk, you can be charged with criminal negligence. Lastly, you can also defend yourself by claiming mutual consent. If you have been arrested for this offense, speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately.