Articles Posted in USAO

In the District of Columbia, there are multiple assault offenses that you can be charged with. Two of the most common are misdemeanor simple assault and felony assault with significant bodily injury. There are many differences between the two crimes including the added element of significant bodily injury to felony assault. The maximum penalties are also different and whether the defendant is entitled to a jury trial is different. However, some similarities exist. For example, the United States Attorney’s Office prosecutes both offenses and the same defenses are available to each offense.

What are the Maximum Penalties for Felony and Misdemeanor Assault?

The main difference between the two are the potential maximum penalties and the requirement for felony assault to cause a “significant bodily injury.” Simple assault is a misdemeanor charge with a maximum penalty of 180 days in jail and up to a $1,000.00 fine. Assault with significant bodily injury carries a maximum penalty of up to three years in prison and a maximum $3,000.00 fine. Continue reading

In the District of Columbia, prosecutors must secure an indictment to charge someone with a felony. To secure an indictment, prosecutors must convene a grand jury and present evidence to the grand jury. A grand jury is made up of members of the community just a like a regular jury in court. However, grand jury proceedings are secret, and the defendant or “target” of the investigation has no right to put on a defense.

The decision to indict is up to the grand jury if they determine that “probable cause” exists to believe that the target committed the alleged offense. Evidence the grand jury may consider typically involves witness testimony. To get witnesses before the grand jury, prosecutors will normally subpoena the witness.  This article will go over what your legal rights are if you receive a grand jury subpoena and outlines what legal obligations you have. First, its important to note that a grand jury witness has several important legal rights. First, you have the right to an attorney. Anyone subpoenaed to the grand jury has a right to a lawyer and in DC if you cannot afford a lawyer the Court will appoint one for you. Second, you have a right to know what the grand jury is investigating. Finally, you have a right against self-incrimination, which means you do not have to answer questions that may incriminate you.

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