Felony Assault Defense
Attorney in Omaha, Nebraska
In Nebraska, there are several types of felony assault. The most serious charge is first-degree assault. A defendant can be convicted of first-degree assault when they knowingly or intentionally cause serious bodily injury to another person. There is no statutory definition of serious bodily injury. Rather, the jury is free to consider on their own whether the victim has suffered a serious injury. In addition, the jury can also convict someone of first-degree assault even if they do not act with malice. Finally, a defendant can be charged with first-degree assault alongside other serious crimes, such as manslaughter.
Punishment of First-Degree Assault Under Nebraska Law
First-degree assault is considered a Class II felony, and there are serious penalties attached. There is a wide range of sentencing outcomes, as a Class II felony can be punished with 1-50 years in prison. The actual sentence will consider the individual circumstances of the defendant’s case, including the severity of the injuries and any malice involved. As you can see from the range of sentences, the judge will have a wide degree of discretion in imposing the punishment. Even if the prosecution recommends a stiff sentence, the judge is not obligated to impose it.
Second-Degree Assault Under Nebraska Law
Second-degree assault is also an extremely serious charge. It is also treated as a felony, even though the maximum sentence is less (up to 20 years in prison). Still, any type of felony charge will have dramatic consequences in your life and that of your family.
Here are the circumstances that could allow a jury to convict someone of second-degree assault:
They Intentionally or knowingly caused bodily injury to another person with a dangerous instrument (“dangerous instrument” is defined as any object which, because of its nature and the manner and intention of its use, is capable of inflicting bodily injury)
They recklessly caused serious bodily injury to another person with a dangerous instrument (If the prosecutor is alleging reckless conduct, they do not need to prove intent)
A dangerous instrument can include:
Any other device, instrument, material, or substance that could kill or inflict serious bodily injury as used
The main difference between first and second-degree assault in Nebraska is the level of harm that is caused to the alleged victim. First-degree assault involves serious bodily injury, while second-degree assault involves bodily injury (without the use of the word “serious.”)
Nebraska law also has a category for third-degree assault when a person causes bodily injury to another (recklessly or intentionally) or threatens them in a menacing manner. However, third-degree assault is charged as a misdemeanor.
It is possible to be charged with multiple counts of assault. You can be charged with first and second-degree assault concurrently, or even second and third-degree assault. The explanation to the law states that there is no “Double Jeopardy” involved.
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The Prosecutor Must Prove Every Element of The Alleged Crime
The prosecutor has a high bar that they must meet in order to prove a felony. Still, Nebraska law makes allowances that could make the prosecutor’s job easier. For example, if you have been charged with assault using a dangerous instrument, the prosecutor must merely show that you intended to use the dangerous instrument, as opposed to proving that you intended to commit harm. There are numerous legal interpretations of the statutes that could make it easier for the prosecutor to win a conviction.
However, it is not always easy for a prosecutor to prove the required intent or that you acted recklessly. If the injuries that someone else has sustained were an accident, you could not be convicted of felony assault. There is a fine line between knowing or reckless and accidental conduct. For example, injuring someone else while waving a knife could be considered felony assault, while an injury that occurred when you were simply holding a dangerous instrument could be an accident.
In addition to jail time, you must also consider the other consequences of a felony conviction. If you are sentenced to prison, the consequences of the conviction do not go away once you are released. You may be sentenced to supervised release. In addition, you may lose the right to vote or own firearms. You may find that it is more difficult to get a job, even being barred from employment in certain professions entirely.
Why You Need a Felony Assault Lawyer for a Bodily Harm Charge
Given the wide range of outcomes, it is essential to hire an experienced attorney to defend you from felony assault charges. First, your lawyer would evaluate the facts of your case to determine whether you have a compelling defense to the charges. If the answer to that question is yes, your lawyer will wage a determined and spirited legal defense in court, making the prosecutor prove every element of the case.
Your lawyer could also work with the prosecutor to obtain either lesser charges for a reduced sentence in exchange for a plea bargain. You may be able to avoid felony assault charges entirely. Regardless, you are always better off when you have an experienced attorney advising you and looking out for you. Prosecutors may try to rush you into a guilty plea or attempt to win a conviction if they do not have the requisite evidence. No matter the alleged crime or the facts of your case, everyone has legal rights, and they are entitled to the strongest possible legal defense.
Call a Felony Assault Defense Attorney in Omaha Today
I will provide you with a determined and aggressive legal defense in your case. I know how prosecutors work because I have been on that side. I will learn about you and the facts of your case in order to provide you with common-sense advice about your legal situation. The most important thing is that you reach out to get the legal help that you need today. To speak with an experienced lawyer, you can send a message online or call today.