The law is like an onion; it looks simple from the outside, but as soon as you scratch the surface you’ll reveal a multitude of complex layers that can quickly become overwhelming, and lead to tears.
Thankfully a little research is all you need to understand the basics of common crimes, with assault and aggravated assault being great examples of this. So what’s the difference between them, and why should you seek the help of a qualified attorney if you’re accused of either or both?
Introduction to assault and aggravated assault
You might think that assault has to involve physical contact and bodily harm, but this isn’t the case. All that’s needed for an assault is the threat of violence, accompanied by the means to follow through on it.
Crucially the assault also has to be deliberate, and the act imminent. This means you only need to say that you intend to attack someone to have committed a crime.
Aggravated assault is a little more complex, but generally applies to incidents in which actual injury has been done to another person, again with provable malicious intent on the part of the accused.
An assault can also be elevated to the level of aggravated when a weapon is involved, as well as in the case that the threat and the actual physical contact were deployed specifically in the commission of a more severe crime.
Assaulting someone with a view to stealing their property or sexually abusing them, for example, is a serious offense, even if the amount of bodily harm involved was limited.
How to find the right criminal lawyer to defend an aggravated assault claim
You need to get help with your aggravated assault case from someone who knows what they’re doing. That means narrowing down your search to include only lawyers who specialize in aggravated assault cases, as well as those who are local to you.
The reason that location matters comes down to the differences in the way crimes are defined, classified and punished in different regions. The minutiae of this is baffling to the average person, but an experienced attorney will be more than capable of understanding your predicament and offering their counsel to you.
Of course you don’t have to trust the word of an attorney, because you can tell whether or not they are up to scratch by looking at their track record and getting recommendations from past clients.
Explaining the role of a lawyer in this context
You don’t just need a lawyer to defend you in court when your case goes to trial; you should really hire one as soon as the charges are brought against you. This is because the intervention of an attorney who’s a good communicator early on will potentially prevent the matter going any further.
Even if they cannot get the charges dropped, your lawyer will advise you how to deal with every step going forward, from the interviews with police to the investigations needed to build your defense, to the actual handling of the judge, jury and witnesses if a trial is necessary.
The bottom line
It’s not nice to be accused of a crime, particularly one as serious as aggravated assault. Even if a simple assault charge is laid at your feet, you need a solid lawyer on your side ASAP.
Without one, you could be facing jail time and fines stretching into the thousands or even tens of thousands. So find a lawyer you trust and let them lead the way if charged with assault.