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“Aggravated” versions of any crime are more serious, and aggravated assault is no different.
While the crime of simple assault usually leads to a Class D misdemeanor charge, aggravated assault is prosecuted as a felony in Maine.
That means more serious penalties both in terms of the time spent behind bars and the longer-term consequences that impact your future.
Aggravated assault normally occurs either when bodily injury is caused to another person, the victim is below a certain age or the defendant has prior convictions.
Because bodily harm is broadly defined under Maine law, it is relatively simple for a misdemeanor assault charge to be elevated to aggravated assault, charged as a Class A or a Class B felony with the associated penalties elevated accordingly.
If charged with aggravated assault, you are facing lengthy jail time. As such, one of your first moves should be to seek legal representation from a Maine criminal defense attorney well versed in these cases.
Depending on the available evidence and your version of events, your lawyer may attempt to push for case dismissal. If that is not possible, you can elect to go to trial.
However, in some cases where the evidence against you is strong, the best defense strategy may be to negotiate with the prosecution in an attempt to get the charges reduced. It may be possible to negotiate a felony offense down to a misdemeanor if you agree to certain conditions.
Under the Maine Revised Statute Title 17-A §207, a person is guilty of assault when he or she:
“intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causes bodily injury or offensive physical contact to another person.”
It should be noted that malicious intent is not necessary for an assault charge but the actions must be shown to be intentional whether or not they resulted in injury to the other person,
To achieve a conviction, the prosecution will need to prove that you physically injured another person (with a weapon or with your body) on purpose (rather than accidentally).
The Maine Revised Statute Title 17-A §208 deals with the crime of aggravated assault. This is an elevated version of the offense resulting in a felony charge.
A simple assault charge can be upgraded to aggravated assault if any of the following circumstances are present:
For the last element, factors such as the number, location or nature of the injuries and how the injuries were inflicted will be considered. If choking or strangulation were used, this can also elevate an assault charge to aggravated assault.
Aggravated assault is usually regarded as a Class A or a Class B felony offense in Maine.
The exact nature of the penalties faced for a conviction depends on the facts and circumstances, as always, but for a Class B conviction, a prison sentence of up to 10 years, a fine of up to $10,000 and three years of probation is possible.
For a Class A aggravated assault offense, 30 years in prison, four years of probation, and a fine of $50,000 is the maximum sentence.
Aggravated assault can be charged as a class B felony, punishable by up to 10 years in prison if one of the following three conditions is met:
“Serious bodily injury means a bodily injury which creates a substantial risk of death or which causes serious, permanent disfigurement or loss or substantial impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ, or extended convalescence necessary for recovery of physical health.”
“Use of a dangerous weapon” means the use of a firearm or other weapon, device, instrument, material or substance, whether animate or inanimate, which, in the manner it is used or threatened to be used is capable of producing death or serious bodily injury.”
Note that the weapon does not need to be a gun or knife – a stick, bottle, or even a car may be classed as a deadly weapon.
“Such circumstances include, but are not limited to, the number, location or nature of the injuries, the manner or method inflicted, the observable physical condition of the victim or the use of strangulation. For the purpose of this paragraph, “strangulation” means the intentional impeding of the breathing or circulation of the blood of another person by applying pressure on the person’s throat or neck.”
The strangulation (choking) provision is a relatively recent addition and is commonly applied in domestic violence assault cases.
A simple assault with bodily injury can be elevated to a Class C felony if it involves a victim under the age of six years.
To be convicted of this, it must be proven that:
The offense is punishable by up to five years in prison.
Another way that a misdemeanor charge can be elevated to a felony aggravated assault charge is if the defendant has two prior convictions in the past 10 years.
This only applies to convictions for certain offenses, including:
In such cases, the assault can be charged as a Class C felony with up to five years in prison.
If you are charged with aggravated assault in Maine, self-representation should not be an option that you seriously consider. The potential consequences are too severe to take any risks – your freedom is at stake.
The best chance you have of avoiding very harsh penalties is to seek representation from a criminal defense lawyer who has defended Maine aggravated assault charges and is familiar with the local justice system.
Beyond the immediate jail sentence that you can expect for a felony aggravated assault conviction, the longer-term consequences include a permanent criminal record that follows you around for life and may affect employment, housing, education, immigration status and more.
Speak to a defense lawyer at The Maine Criminal Defense Group if aggravated assault charges have been filed against you. Our aggravated assault attorneys are well-connected within the local judicial system and understand how Maine prosecutes and dismisses these cases.
If you are facing criminal charges in Maine, the attorneys at The Maine Criminal Defense Group are here to help. Call our office to speak with
one of our team members, who will discuss your case with you and set up a consultation with one of our attorneys
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