Frequently Asked Questions about Simple Assault in DC

Federal Criminal Defense Lawyers in Washington,DC

How bad is a simple assault charge?

Frequently Asked Questions for Assault in DC

One of the frequently asked questions about simple assault in DC, is when someone says how bad is it?  Well, its a matter of perspective because simple assault is not a felony.    Simple Assault, codified at DC Code §22-404, is a misdemeanor charge in Washington, D.C. It is most similar to the criminal offense of “battery.”  Simple assault  is committed by an individual when an attempt or effort, with force or violence, to injure another person.    

What does a simple assault charge mean?

Simple assaults means that you made contact with someone without their consent.    The assault does not have to result in injury; but it must be with force or violence, to injure another.

Does simple assault stay on your record?

Another frequently asked question about simple assault in DC, is whether it will stay on your permanent criminal record.    To answer this question you have to know whether the simple assault is related to domestic violence.   A non-domestic simple assault can be sealed if you are convicted or arrested.   However, if you are convicted it stays on your record for 8 years.   An arrest for assault can be sealed immediately (if innocent) or if you enter diversion you may have to wait 2 years to seal the matter.    Domestic Violence Simple Assault can never be sealed.

Can I get a job with a simple assault charge?

Yes, you can still get a job with simple assault on your record.    However, there may be collateral consequences such as immigration issues if you are convicted.  

Will I go to jail for simple assault?

Most people arrested for simple assault do not go to jail if it is their first offense.  However,  the Judge will decide based on the facts of the case of whether jail is warranted.    Furthermore, most people charged with simple assault as their first offense are usually eligible for diversion.  

Will I go to jail for first time assault?

If this is first time being arrested for simple assault in the District of Columbia you are probably eligible for diversion.   Diversion is a way of getting your case dismissed by completing community service or programs that benefit the community.  

How do you get a simple assault charge dropped?

Sometimes you can get simple assault case dropped if the defense lawyer can convince the prosecutor that you acted in self-defense or convince the prosecutor that it did not happen.   However, if the criminal defense lawyer can not convince the prosecutor to drop the case the matter can be dismissed by completion of diversion (if offered) or the matter can be scheduled for trial.  

What happens if I'm charged with assault?

If you are charged with Simple Assault (non-domestic) you will probably be released and given a citation to appear in Court for arraignment.  After Arraignment the Court will set a status hearing in 3 to 4 weeks for your lawyer to review the discovery and talk to the prosecutor.  At the status hearing you will have three choices: 1. the matter will be set for trial in 45 to 60 days; 2. plea guilty;  3. enter diversion.   

Is it assault to push someone?

Yes, if you push someone with force or violence you could be arrested for simple assault in the District of Columbia.

Can you hit someone if they provoke you?

No, while words and actions of others can hurt it is never ok to hit someone because you believe they provoked you.    If however, they hit you and in defending yourself you hit back that would be ok.  

Can you hit someone for verbal assault?

No there is no self defense for someone yelling at you.  You can only strike back in self-defense.