Assault With Intent to Commit Bodily Harm Less Than Murder In Lansing
Of all the violent crimes committed in Lansing, assault tops the charts for frequency. But as attorneys who have a long history of representing clients who have been accused of such crimes, we are well aware that the real world looks much different than the cold statistics. The “assaults” that are lumped together into a single category can be anything from a low-level misdemeanor, such as throwing a punch, to a serious felony, such as maiming someone for life. Our goal is to make sure the judge and jury understand the true facts of your case and never lump you in with offenders of a crime you did not commit.
Unfortunately, because the differences between a misdemeanor assault and a serious felony assault (such as Assault with Intent to Commit Bodily Harm Less Than Murder) is somewhat ambiguous and dependent upon the defendant's intentions, the prosecution can bring elevated charges that far exceed the crime. When this happens, you need a dedicated courtroom defense attorney in Lansing because the difference between these two seemingly similar charges could be up to 10 years in prison.
What Is Assault with Intent to Commit Bodily Harm Less Than Murder?
Assault with Intent to Commit Bodily Harm Less Than Murder is also known as Assault GBH (“Great Bodily Harm”). In this kind of assault, the aggressor either intentionally caused serious or aggravated injuries or threatened to do so in a way that would have caused a reasonable person to believe such harm was imminent. In either case, intentionality is key.
It is also common – although not essential – for assault GBH to include the use of a weapon. When a weapon is at play, it is much easier for the prosecution to support their claim because intentionality can be inferred from a purposeful action that has no other reasonable outcome. However, non weapons-related assault can also cause great bodily harm, such as strangulation and suffocation.
Note that, for assault GBH to take place, the victim does not actually have to sustain a serious injury or any injury at all. Since assault is the threat of battery, it is enough that the victim believed himself to be in imminent danger.
How is Assault GBH Different from Other Forms of Assault?
As a felony, aggravated assault is a much more serious crime than other, seemingly similar, assault offenses. Overly zealous prosecutors however may try to inflate your charges to assault GBH, which can result in many years added to your prison sentence unnecessarily. This is why it's paramount to have a strong defense before you enter the courtroom.
Two similar offense charges include felonious assault (a.k.a. assault with a dangerous weapon) and aggravated assault. However, in neither of these cases is intentionality considered. The injuries are also typically less severe, although no clear line exists between the “serious or aggravated” injuries associated with aggravated assault and the “great bodily harm” required for assault GBH. This ambiguity is a significant reason why it's important to have an experienced violent crimes defense attorney in Lansing on your side.
The penalty for assault with intent to commit bodily harm less than murder is a maximum of 10 years in prison for a first offense. After this, the penalties increase according to the laws for habitual offenders, with the maximum penalty for a second offense being 25% higher, a third offense 50% higher, and a fourth offense 100% higher, or equal to 20 years in prison.
Other related charges may also be brought against the defendant, such as weapons charges, which can affect the final sentence.
How Can I Fight Assault GBH Charges?
Because intentionality is the key component in assault GBH charges, you may be able to work with your attorney to mount a defense that the injuries were unplanned. The vague line between severe injuries and great bodily harm can also give you the opportunity to plead guilty to a misdemeanor instead of a felony in certain cases. If you were acting in self-defense or in the defense of others or your home, your actions may be justified and all assault charges dropped. The best way to determine the best course of action is to consult with an attorney as soon after you are arrested as possible.
At Grabel & Associates, we have extensive experience defending against assault charges and a passion for justice. Call us 24/7 for a free consultation at 1-800-342-7896 or contact us online.