I get calls everyday from people asking about criminal assault charges, so I would like to answer the questions I hear most frequently about simple assault, aggravated assault, domestic abuse, misdemeanor assault and felony assault in Mississippi.
What is the difference between simple assault and aggravated assault?
Simple assault is causing bodily injury without using a weapon and is a misdemeanor. Grabbing someone from behind, pulling their hair, or slapping them across the face are examples of simple assault. In Mississippi, threatening to injure someone can also be simple assault even if no injury actually occurred. Assault becomes aggravated and a felony charge when it involves serious bodily injury or if a weapon of some kind is used. Stabbing someone with a knife or beating them unconscious would be aggravated assault.
What is the possible jail time for a first time assault charge in Mississippi?
Simple assault can carry from zero to six months of jail time, but if a person has no priors, the sentence for a simple assault conviction would likely be a six month suspended sentence rather than jail time. Aggravated assault is a more serious charge and the amount of jail time depends on many factors including the judge, the victim’s wishes and the severity of the victim’s injuries. You could possibly receive a suspended sentence and probation for a felony assault conviction, but there is always the possibility of jail time even if you are a first time offender.
How much will bail cost for an assault charge?
For an aggravated assault in Mississippi, the judge will generally set your bond between $5,000 and $10,000. If the victim was severely injured, the bail could be set higher. It is usually possible for your criminal defense lawyer to petition to have the bail reduced. For simple assault, bail will likely be set between $1,000 and $5,000, or you could be released on your own recognizance and not have to post bond at all.
Can an aggravated assault charge be dropped to a simple assault charge?
Yes, this happens all of the time. If the District Attorney is having difficulty proving that a weapon was used, the charge can be reduced to simple assault. In a criminal trial, the jury may feel that there is not enough evidence to convict for aggravated assault and will return a verdict for simple assault instead.
How much will a criminal defense lawyer charge to represent me against assault charges?
Mississippi criminal lawyers usually charge about $1,500 to $2,500 for a misdemeanor assault defense and $2,500 – $5,000 for a felony assault defense. This is just a rough estimate – the cost will depend upon your specific situation.
Is domestic abuse a misdemeanor or a felony charge?
Domestic abuse is generally a misdemeanor offense. However, for a third or more domestic abuse arrest, or if the abuse involves a weapon or serious injury, the charge becomes a felony.
What happens if you are acting in self defense?
This is the classic defense against criminal assault charges. You have the right to defend yourself if you feel you are in danger. This is a situation where a good criminal lawyer can be extremely helpful.
Does a police officer have to witness the assault to make an arrest?
No. Often, especially in a domestic abuse matter, a police officer will take the statement of the victim and/or reliable witnesses and then make an arrest.
Can the victim of an assault have the criminal charge dropped?
It depends. The victim can file a Drop Charge Request, which is an affidavit saying that they do not wish to pursue the charges. The District Attorney will ultimately make the decision but will take the affidavit into consideration when deciding whether to prosecute.
Can assault charges be expunged in Mississippi?
A conviction for a simple misdemeanor assault can be expunged if you are a first time offender. A felony or aggravated assault conviction cannot be expunged, but an arrest for assault that does not lead to a conviction can be expunged.
If you have any other questions about assault in Mississippi or need help defending yourself against assault charges, call my criminal defense Law Firm at (601) 944-1980 for a free consultation.