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What are the consequences of an assault charge?

According to, a person can be charged with assault even if no injuries take place. Even the threat of injury can be enough to cause an assault charge, provided that the person being threatened is under the reasonable belief that he or she is at risk of serious harm at the hands of the perpetrator.

Assault is broken down into degrees, with first- and second-degree charges being the most serious. As a result, these charges carry harsher penalties and punishments. Factors influencing the degree of an assault include whether a weapon was used during the incident, whether the victim of the assault was a minor or police officer, and the perpetrator’s previous criminal history.

Most assault convictions will lead to incarceration. Felony assault charges can have further consequences, even after a person is released from jail. For instance, employers conducting background checks on applicants might choose to pass over someone with a felony assault charge, especially if this person will be working with the public. The same issue often arises when seeking housing or professional licensing. These are known as the collateral consequences of a criminal conviction, and they can make it very difficult for a former convict to reintegrate back into society.

Because the punishments for assault can be life-changing, launching a solid defense is crucial, and an attorney will build a defense based on the facts of the case. If the victim of an assault was also alleged of behaving in a threatening way, the legal team might claim self-defense or the defense of another person. The defense may also allege that the person accused does meet the criteria for conviction beyond a reasonable doubt. This may be the case if witness testimony is suspect or the accused has an alibi for when the incident occurred.