Any physical or verbal skirmish is not equal, but the State of North Dakota will seek to prosecute and potentially incarceration a person that has been charged with assault. There are many varieties of assault charges in North Dakota, and so here is a short guide to help you navigate your rights, defenses, and freedoms for these charges.
Simple Assault and Disorderly Conduct
North Dakota has traditionally made assaultive behavior a crime, but it is possible to avoid an assault conviction if the evidence shows that the behavior was equal between two parties. Two individuals involved in mutual fighting behavior can easily be defined as disorderly conduct, which while still a misdemeanor, sounds much less offensive than assault. An assault charge, while also a misdemeanor, typically implies the actor has committed an assault, causing at a minimum some pain, to another by use of force. Merely being charged with this type of a crime does not necessarily mean that the person is guilty or that they will have a permanent conviction.
North Dakota makes it a felony to assault another person with a dangerous weapon or to cause them serious bodily injury. A felony is very serious and can lead to prison time or a series of infringements on your rights. Merely being charged with a felony can lead to serious repercussions, so if you have a charge of aggravated assault you must take it seriously! You should immediately seek out the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney here in North Dakota!
Each of the categories of assault listed above can be enhanced if the alleged victim is a domestic partner, spouse, or boyfriend/girlfriend. Domestic assault charges carry additional penalties and infringements upon your rights, in particular your right to possess a firearm and your right to see your partner. Domestic Assault charges carry a likelihood of the court ordering a defendant to seek domestic counselling and potentially restricting your ability to see or live with the alleged victim.
Defenses to Assault
Every assault charge carries with it, necessarily, the possibility of a defense of “Self Defense” or “Defense of Others” if the person charged has a legitimate reason for his/her actions. Merely being angry or acting in retaliation is not enough. One must be protecting themselves or others, within reason, from the assaultive actions of others. If charged with assault, you must seek out an experienced criminal defense attorney to discuss defenses and mitigating factors for your charges.