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Assault

“Assault” is defined generally as the threat or use of force on another person that causes that person to have reasonable apprehension of imminent harmful or offensive contact. 


There are three basic forms of criminal assault in D.C. 


  • Simple Assault or Misdemeanor Assault 
  • Felony Assault or Assault with Significant Bodily Injury
  • Aggravated Assault 


Simple Assault 


Simple assault is a Misdemeanor Offense, punishable by up to 180 days in jail and/or a $1000 fine. Simple assault can involve any type of unwanted touching or threat of unwanted touching. D.C. Code § 22-404(a)(1). 


Felony Assault 


Felony assault (or “assault with significant injury”) is the “unlawful assault” or threatening of another “in a menacing manner” that “intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causes significant bodily injury to another.” “Significant bodily injury” is defined as an injury that requires hospitalization or immediate medical attention in order to preserve the health and well-being of the individual. Conviction of that form of assault carries a jail-term of up to 3 years and/or a $3,000 fine. D.C. Code § 22-404(a)(2). 


Aggravated Assault 


Aggravated Assault is the intentional, knowing or purposeful causing of serious bodily injury to another person. “Serious bodily injury” is defined as “an injury that involves unconsciousness, extreme physical pain, protracted and obvious disfigurement, protracted loss or impairment of the function of a bodily member, organ, or mental faculty or a substantial risk of death.” Aggravated Assault is the most serious form of assault, and is punishable by imprisonment of up to 10 years and/or a maximum fine of $10,000. D.C. Code § 22-404.01. 


In addition to these three basic forms of assault, there are also other variations of assault. Other variations of assault include: 


  • Assault on a Police Officer 
  • Assault with a Dangerous Weapon 
  • Assault with Intent to Commit Robbery
  • Assault with Intent to Kill
  • Assault with Intent to Commit Murder
  • Cruelty to Children
  • Misdemeanor Threats 
  • Felony Threats 
  • Stalking 
  • Mayhem 
  • Malicious Disfigurement 


The assault laws in Maryland differ slightly from those in D.C., with significantly harsher penalties for certain offenses. For instance, second degree assault in Maryland is a common law misdemeanor that carries a maximum prison sentence of 10 years. 


If you are facing charges on any form of criminal assault, contact a lawyer immediately. Assault crimes vary from simple to complex. Having an experienced and committed defense attorney is critical.