Assault charges can make for surprisingly complicated legal cases, as the exact definition of this offense provided by state law is not always fully understood by individuals who are accused of it. Due to the nuances of Kentucky state law, the dividing lines between different degrees of assault—and between levels of penalties upon conviction—can be somewhat blurred and subjective at times.
No matter what level of offense you have been accused of, working with a Florence assault lawyer could be key to effectively contesting those allegations. During a private consultation, your dedicated defense attorney could go over what your specific charges might mean for you and your case, what options you might have for defending yourself, and what course of action might give you the highest chance of a favorable outcome.
Defining Assault as a Misdemeanor Offense
Kentucky state law establishes four degrees of assault that a person may be charged with, only one of which constitutes a misdemeanor offense as opposed to a felony. According to Kentucky Revised Statutes § 508.030, a person commits fourth-degree assault if they intentionally or wantonly cause “physical injury,” or if they cause such an injury through the reckless use of a dangerous instrument or deadly weapon. K.R.S. § 500.080(13) defines “physical injury” in this context as meaning “substantial physical pain or any impairment of physical condition.”
Because fourth-degree assault is considered a Class A misdemeanor, the maximum jail term that a court could sentence a convicted defendant to serve for this offense is one year. The maximum fine that could accompany or replace that sentence is $500. Additionally, as a Florence assault attorney could further explain, causing an officer of the peace who is performing their lawful duties to come into contact with any bodily fluid without consent is a Class B misdemeanor variant of third-degree assault, as per K.R.S. §508.025, unless the person knows he or she has a serious communicable disease, in which the contact is likely to cause transmission, making it a Class A misdemeanor.
Contesting Different Degrees of Felony Assault
Other than the aforementioned exception, assault in the third degree is a Class D felony offense that entails recklessly or intentionally causing or attempting to cause physical injury to individuals working in public service jobs. This includes medical personnel, police officers, detention or correctional facility employees, firefighters, public transportation employees, and school teachers or staff. A conviction for this kind of act is punishable by one to five years of imprisonment, and a fine between $1,000 and $10,000 in value.
Second-degree assault involves intentionally causing physical injury with a deadly or dangerous instrument, intentionally causing serious physical injury without a weapon, or wantonly causing serious physical injury with a weapon. As per K.R.S. § 508.020, this is a Class C felony for which a conviction could result in prison time of between five and 10 years, plus the standard range of fines for a felony conviction.
Finally, K.R.S. § 508.010 defines first-degree assault as a Class B felony that involves intentionally causing serious physical injury with a deadly weapon or instrument, or wantonly causing serious physical injury through conduct showing an extreme disregard for human life. Representation from an assault lawyer in Florence could be especially important for anyone accused of this offense, as a conviction could produce a prison term of 10 to 20 years, plus fines.
Learn How a Florence Assault Attorney Could Help
Being charged with assault does not guarantee you will be convicted, nor will a conviction always result in incarceration. However, if you want to mitigate your risk of facing serious repercussions, you should strongly consider seeking assistance from a qualified legal professional who has helped people like you through this situation before.
Working with a Florence assault lawyer could be key to enforcing your rights and preserving your future prospects. Learn more by calling today.