Getting in a fight may not seem like a big deal at the time, but under the law, you may find yourself with criminal charges. When a verbal argument escalates to physical contact, one or both parties may face legal consequences.
The type of assault and situations under which it occurred may dictate the kind of charges the court may seek. It is essential to have a general knowledge of the type of physical activity that may land you in jail on assault charges.
Classes of assault
Nebraska law breaks down assault charges into three categories or degrees. Each degree of assault denotes the seriousness of the allegation. Assault in the third degree is a much less severe crime than first-degree assault. Within each assault category are subcategories or classes. These delineate if the charges are misdemeanors or rise to a felony level.
Many factors go into what degree of assault a person faces. Incidents fall under the assault category when someone’s actions knowingly or intentionally hurt someone else. Reckless behavior without regard for others may also qualify as assault. Making threats of bodily injury towards another may result in a misdemeanor third-degree assault charge. Injuries resulting from this type of crime are typically not very serious.
Stiffer assault charges
When an incident results in more serious injuries to another, the level of assault charges may escalate. While the overarching definition of assault still applies, the circumstances surrounding the events become more prominent. For example, using a weapon against another to cause harm may up the charge to second or even first degree, as does threatening another with said weapon. Under Nebraska law, a weapon is anything that when wielded may cause severe bodily injury, including:
- Boots with steel toes
- Iron or brass knuckles
The type of assault charges involving a weapon depends on the level of injuries inflicted. If there is a risk of death involved with the injuries, second- and first-degree charges apply.
Even barroom scuffles may warrant criminal assault charges. Finding someone who may provide help in mounting a defense should rank highly on the accused’s to-do list.