Aggravated Assault in D.C.
“Assault” is defined generally as the threat or use of force on another person that causes that person to have reasonable apprehension of imminent harm or offensive contact. Assault can be a civil wrong — or “tort.” It can also be a crime.
As a relatively serious form of assault, aggravated assault is a felony offense in Washington, D.C. Other forms of assault include simple assault, assault with intent to kill, sexual assault, assault with a dangerous weapon, assault with intent to commit mayhem, assault on a police officer, mayhem, stalking, and threats to do bodily harm.
There are two ways for the prosecution to prove aggravated assault. The first way is for the prosecution to prove that the person (1) knowingly or purposely (2) caused serious bodily injury to another person. Alternatively, the prosecution can show that the person (1) under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to human life (2) intentionally or knowingly (3) engaged in conduct which created a grave risk of serious bodily injury to another and (4) through this conduct actually caused serious bodily injury.
“Serious bodily injury” is defined as “bodily injury that involves a substantial risk of death, unconsciousness, extreme physical pain, protracted or obvious disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of a bodily member, organ, or mental faculty.”
Attempted aggravated assault is defined as intending to commit aggravated assault while taking a substantial step towards accomplishing that goal.
Aggravated assault is a felony offense. The penalty is a maximum fine of $10,000 and/or imprisonment for up to 10 years. The penalty for attempted aggravated assault is a maximum fine of $5,000 and/or imprisonment for up to 5 years. D.C. Criminal Code 22-404.01.
Aggravated Assault While Armed
Aggravated Assault While Armed (AAWA) is committed when the person possesses a firearm or deadly weapon while committing aggravated assault. In addition to the sentence for aggravated assault, as described above, a person convicted of this offense will receive an additional sentence of up to life imprisonment, with a mandatory prison term (that is, a sentence that cannot be suspended) of 5, 10 or 15 years depending on the person’s prior criminal history and the nature of the underlying offense. D.C. Criminal Code 22-404.01. D.C. Criminal Code 22-4502
Assault With a Dangerous/Deadly Weapon
The government must prove four elements beyond a reasonable doubt in order to secure a conviction for aggravated assault with a dangerous weapon in D.C. First, the prosecution must prove either that the defendant injured or attempted another person using force or violence or that he committed a threatening act that would reasonably put another person in fear of immediate injury. Second, the government must prove that the defendant acted voluntarily and on purpose and not by mistake or accident. Third, the prosecution must prove that at the time the defendant acted he had the apparent ability to actually injure the other person. Finally, the government must prove that the defendant committed the threatening act with a dangerous weapon.
An object is a dangerous weapon if it is designed to be used, actually used, or threatened to be used, in a manner likely to produce death or serious bodily injury. The government does not need to prove that the defendant actually killed, injured, or even touched the other person with the weapon.
Injury means any physical injury, however small, and it includes a touching that is offensive to a reasonable person. The government must prove that the defendant committed a threatening act; mere words are not sufficient. The government does not need to prove that the defendant acted with actual intent to injure.
The maximum sentence for a conviction for assault with a deadly/dangerous weapon is 10 years incarceration. D.C. Criminal Code § 22-402.
Assault with Intent to Rob
A person who is found guilty of assaulting another with intent to commit robbery or any other offense can be punished by imprisonment of up to 5 years. D.C. Criminal Code § 22-403.