Any criminal charge can be a daunting and stressful experience – but when federal charges are filed against you the stakes are even higher.
Federal charges carry the prospect of extensive time in federal prison, fines, and consequences that affect far more than just the immediate months and years ahead. Federal assault is no exception. This serious charge requires experienced legal defense.
Assault is an attempt to strike another person or an act that causes someone to reasonably expect impending harm. No physical contact or injury is required for an assault conviction to be proven.
The assault becomes a federal crime when it occurs on federal property, involves a federal employee, or in certain other circumstances.
Understanding more about federal assault charges is the first step to protecting your rights and freedoms.
What are the main types of federal assault crimes?
Federal statutes are laws enacted by Congress and investigated by federal agencies like the FBI, DEA and IRS. They are prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s office, which represents the United States government.
Federal assault crimes are outlined in 18 U.S. Code Chapter 7. There main types of federal assault crimes are summarized below.
· Assaulting, resisting or impeding certain federal officers/employees
If you assault certain designated individuals carrying out their official duty (such as a US postal worker, an IRS agent or a retired judge), you can be charged with federal assault.
· Assaulting foreign officials, official guests, or internationally protected persons
This statute also includes the crime of coercing, threatening, or harassing foreign officials or official guests who are performing their duties.
· Assault within the maritime or territorial jurisdiction of the United States
This is another serious federal crime that can carry penalties of between one and 20 years in prison.
· Maiming within the maritime or territorial jurisdiction of the United States
Maiming includes disfiguring, bruising, or cutting the ears, nose, throats or lips, as well as cutting out someone’s tongue, destroying an eye or attacking with caustic substances.
· Influencing, impeding, or retaliating against federal officials by threatening family members
This offense includes assaulting or kidnapping family members of U.S. officials or threatening to do so.
· Female genital mutilation
This offense includes transporting a female from the U.S. for the purposes of genital mutilation.
· Criminal use of restricted personal information about protected persons
This offense relates to making restricted personal information about protected persons available with the intent to intimidate or with the knowledge that it will result in a crime being committed against the protected person.
Penalties for federal assault crimes
Any federal assault conviction carries the potential for a lengthy imprisonment term – including sentences of up to 30 years for the most serious offenses – as well as substantial fines.
Following are some examples of prison terms associated with each of the federal assault crimes detailed above:
· Assaulting, resisting or impeding certain federal officers/employees: Up to eight years of imprisonment – more if a deadly weapon was used or serious bodily injury inflicted.
· Assaulting foreign officials, official guests, or internationally protected persons: Up to three years’ imprisonment or 10 years if serious bodily injury results or a weapon is used.
· Assault within the maritime or territorial jurisdiction of the US: Up to one year’s imprisonment for simple assault and 10-20 years for serious assaults including assault with intent to commit murder.
· Maiming within the maritime or territorial jurisdiction of the US: Up to 20 years imprisonment and a fine.
· Influencing, impeding, or retaliating against federal officials by threatening family members: Penalties vary from six years for simply making a threat to up to 10 years’ imprisonment if no injury resulted or 30 years imprisonment if serious bodily injury was inflicted.
· Female genital mutilation: Up to five years imprisonment if the victim is under the age of 18.
· Criminal use of restricted personal information about protected persons: Up to five years’ imprisonment.
Note that within the federal criminal justice system, the government can bring criminal charges against a defendant who has already been tried for a state crime.
What to do if you’re facing federal assault charges
If you are charged with federal assault, first of all, don’t panic.
The steps you take next are extremely important and you should resist saying or doing anything that will harm your defense.
Politely refuse to answer questions until you can speak to your lawyer – and ensure that you engage representation with experience in defending federal charges.
Your lawyer will help protect your rights and freedoms and start working on your defense by examining the evidence and obtaining your version of events.
Following is a summary of the steps you should take once you have been charged:
· Contact a criminal defense lawyer – preferably one with extensive experience in defending federal charges, including assault.
· Make notes – while everything is fresh in your mind, write down your version of events, factual details and any information that may be pertinent to your case and that your lawyer will want to know. At the top of each page of the document write “Attorney-Client Privileged”.
· Gather pertinent documentation – help your lawyer compile your defense by gathering any pertinent documents to back up your case.
· Learn more about the federal assault charges you face – until your criminal defense attorney can explain everything to you, educate yourself on the charge you are facing and the associated laws.
· Learn more about the federal court process – understanding what to expect will reduce the stress of your situation. Your attorney will walk you through the process from the initial hearing to the trial, post-trial, sentencing and appeal. Ask plenty of questions so that you are comfortable with it.
· Prepare with your lawyer for case dismissal, plea bargain or trial – if the charges are not dismissed, you can discuss a plea bargain or fighting the federal assault charges at trial with your attorney.
Contact the Law Office of Nayib Hassan Today
Whether a federal warrant has been issued against you for federal assault or you have already been arrested and charged, it is important to immediately take steps to defend your rights and freedoms.