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Assault Charges and Bail

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Assault charges are brought against a defendant who has been accused of threatening to assault someone or actually committing assault against another person. Assault is always a criminal charge and the bail set for an assault charge will depend on the severity of the charge and the defendant’s past history.

Types of Assault Charges

Assault charges are classified by state law – some states distinguish between assault and battery, other states classify assaults based on the type of assault that occurred (for example, aggravated assault, sexual assault) and many states categorize assault as first, second or third degree offenses.

The assault charge brought against the defendant will depend on the defendant’s intentions, circumstances of the assault (for example, was the defendant provoked by someone else), the severity of the assault and if any weapons were involved with the assault.

All charges of assault are quite serious – ranging from misdemeanors to felonies – and penalties for assault charges can range from two to sixteen years in prison plus civil fines the defendant must pay to compensate assault victims.

Bail for Assault Charges

Once a defendant has been arrested and booked for assault, a bail hearing is scheduled. At the bail hearing, the defendant will be read the charges and a bail will be determined. However, in many assault cases – especially severe ones – no bail may be issued and the defendant may have to remain in jail until their court hearing takes place.

Concerns for issuing bail for defendants charged with assault include:

  • Defendants who may continue to pose a danger to their victim if they are released – this type of concern weighs heavily in domestic assault cases.
  • Defendants who may pose a danger to the community if they are released – for example, if a defendant has been charged with sexual assault.
  • Increased flight risk – due to the seriousness of the charge, defendants may flee to avoid a future sentence.

A defense attorney at a bail hearing for assault charges will try to argue for bail; letters of character from friends and family may also help to sway the court to release a bail amount for the defendant. If a bail is issued for an assault case, the amount of the bail may be quite high, and many defendants who have been charged will need to use the services of a bail bond company to make their bail.

*The information in this article does not constitute legal advice. Please contact a legal professional in your local area for the best up-to-date and accurate legal advice.

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