Have you been Charged with Assault in Arkansas?
Due to the nature and gravity of criminal assault cases, it is absolutely essential that you do all within your power to start your criminal defense on the right foot. You need to secure proper representation – and early – if you are to ensure the best chance of a positive outcome to your criminal assault case.
At the Law Office of Jason M. Hatfield, P.A., we have built up a strong reputation for uncompromising defense on behalf of our clients. Our priority is to see that you get the best criminal representation possible, and to ensure the most favorable conclusion to your assault case.
Difference between Assault and Battery
In Arkansas, a person may be charged with the offense of assault or battery. It is important that you understand the difference between the two as, often, being charged with one may mean you could be charged with the other. So, if you have been charged with assault, you may have to prepare to defend against battery charges as well.
The main difference between an assault and battery charge is the threat of harm versus the existence of harm. You can be charged with assault for just the mere threat of physical harm to a person while you can only be charged with battery if you have caused actual physical injury to a person.
Since there is a distinction between the charges, they each have their own set of penalties. Someone facing either charge could be subject to fines as well as a jail sentence that’s why it’s important to obtain legal representation by an experienced criminal attorney.
What should you do when an assault charge is filed against you?
Charges of assault or battery are very serious and a conviction for either crime can have long-lasting ramifications. If you have been or are about to be charged with assault or battery you need to contact our office immediately – even before talking to anyone including the police, friends or family members. Anything you say could potentially be used against you in court. In addition, under no circumstance should you contact the alleged victim of the assault, as it is likely that the court imposed a no contact order upon your release from custody or arrest.
Do you have to speak to the police?
You do not have to talk to the police and should exercise your right to remain silent until you can talk with an attorney from our office. The police will most likely take you into custody and inform you of your right to remain silent and to obtain legal representation. Once this happens, then contact our office immediately. If our office is closed, then you may send a request for representation through our online contact form, which is monitored after hours.
Types of Assault Crimes in Arkansas
Arkansas divides assault into aggravated assault, assault in the first degree, assault in the second degree, and assault in the third degree.
A charge of aggravated assault implies circumstances of extreme indifference to the value of human life. It is a Class D Felony. A charge may lie where a person:
- Engages in conduct that puts another person at substantial risk of death or serious physical injury;
- Displays a firearm in a manner that creates a substantial danger of death of serious physical injury to another person; or
- Impedes or prevents the respiration of another person or the circulation of another person’s blood by applying pressure to the neck or throat or blocking the nose or mouth of that person.
Aggravated assault ordinarily attracts a maximum prison term of 6 years or fine of up to $10,000. However, if the offense is committed in the presence of a child that is below sixteen, there may be an enhanced prison term of up to 10 years. Where a firearm has been used, an additional 15 years can be added to the sentence.
Assault in the First Degree
Assault in the first degree is a Class A Misdemeanor. A charge will lie where a person:
- Engages in reckless behavior that puts another person at substantial risk of death or serious physical injury; or
- Purposely impedes or prevents circulation of blood or breathing of another person by applying pressure to their neck or throat or by the blocking of their nose or mouth.
A conviction for assault in the first degree attracts a maximum prison term of 1 year or a fine of up to $2,500.
Assault in the Second Degree
Assault in the second degree is a Class B Misdemeanor. The offense is charged when a person recklessly engages in conduct that puts another person at substantial risk of physical injury.
In the event of a finding of guilt, the punishment for assault in the second degree is imprisonment for a maximum of 90 days or a fine of up to $1,000.
Assault in the Third Degree
An assault in the third degree is committed where a person purposely creates a fear of imminent physical injury to another person. It is a Class C Misdemeanor.
Where a person is found guilty, the punishment is imprisonment for no for more than 30 days or a fine of up to $500.
How an Experienced Arkansas Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help
Depending on the circumstances of your case and how quickly you contact a competent criminal defense lawyer, you can give yourself a good chance of beating the assault charge.
Our criminal defense Attorneys at the Law Office of Jason M. Hatfield, P.A. know all the intricacies of the Assault laws and the defenses available to you.
If you want to know more about the offense of Assault in Arkansas and its consequences or how an experienced lawyer can help you, please get in touch. And if you already have an assault charge on your hands, please contact the Law Office of Jason M. Hatfield, P.A. today for a free no obligation review of your case.