If you’ve been accused of assault, domestic, or another violent crime in Iowa, you need an Iowa assault attorney. A conviction or guilty plea could affect your employment and make it harder for you to find a job in the future. Landlords might not be willing to rent to you, making it harder for you to get an apartment or find office space.
Des Moines Assault Lawyers
At Clark and Sears Law, PLLC, we defend the rights and liberties of good people who are accused of bad things. A good Iowa assault attorney might be able to save you from paying thousands in fines and spending years in prison, away from your family.
Get out of trouble and get back to life. Call Katherine Sears at Clark and Sears Law, PLLC, now at (515) 491 6128 to set up a free consultation. A receptionist is available 24/7 to take your call.
The criminal defense lawyers at Clark and Sears Law, PLLC, are based in Des Moines and Ankeny and represent defendants throughout Polk County and the rest of Iowa.
Iowa assault defined
Many people feel indignant when charged because they “didn’t even hit” the other person.
You don’t have to leave a mark or even strike someone at all to be charged with this.
An assault is any act intended to cause harmful, painful, injurious or offensive contact to another person. “Hitting” is an assault, but so is simply grabbing someone’s arm. Spitting on them, although not necessarily harmful, painful, or injurious, is typically considered “offensive contact.”
An assault can also be doing something to make someone else think you’re about to cause them harmful, painful, injurious, or offensive contact. Drawing your fist back as if you might hit someone is an assault even if you never touch them at all.
Finally, an assault can be pointing a gun at someone or “displaying a weapon in a threatening manner.”
Types of assault
- Domestic Assault
- Simple assault: simple misdemeanor
- Causing bodily injury or mental illness: serious misdemeanor
- With intent to inflict a serious injury: aggravated misdemeanor
- Causing serious injury (when you didn’t intend to cause serious injury): Class “D” felony.
- While using an object to penetrate someone else’s genitalia or anus: Class “C” felony.
What is “bodily injury?”
For purposes of Iowa charges, “bodily” injury can be almost anything — a bruise, a scratch, a cut — so long as the State can convince a jury beyond a reasonable doubt that it’s an injury and that you caused it.
What is “serious injury?”
Per Iowa Code 702.18, “serious injury” is:
- Disabling mental illness
- Bodily injury that does any of these things:
- Creates a substantial risk of death.
- Causes serious permanent disfigurement.
- Causes protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ.
- Any injury to a child that requires surgical repair and necessitates the administration of general anesthesia
Penalties for assault
The potential punishment you could be facing if convicted of an assault crime varies with the type of assault and with your prior record.
You could be facing jail time and fines.
Your assault lawyer can help you determine whether you’re eligible for a deferred judgment.
Defenses to assault
If you used only a reasonable amount of force to stop someone else from using unlawful force against you or against another person (or against property,) you might have a self-defense or “justification” defense that could prevent conviction.
Sports and other activities
If what you’re doing is a reasonably forseeable part of a consensual (non-criminal) sport or a social activity and doesn’t create an unreasonable risk of serious injury or breach of the peace, the incident is not assault.
Defense lawyers for assault charges in Des Moines, Polk County, Ankeny, Ames, Johnston, West Des Moines, Waukee, Saylorville, Bondurant, Altoona, Clive, Grimes, Pleasant Hill, Story County, Boone County, Marshall County, Dallas County, Jasper County, Madison County, Warren County, Marion County, Wapello County, Davis County, Ottumwa, Bloomfield, Iowa City, Council Bluffs, and the rest of Iowa.
This blog post is for informational purposes only and should not be relied on as legal advice. Consult with a licensed Iowa assault attorney in your jurisdiction. Reading this site doesn’t create an attorney-client relationship. If you want to talk to us about your Iowa assault charges, please contact us at (515) 491 6128 and we’ll set up a time to talk.
What will happen if I'm charged?
When someone alleges that you have committed an act of violence, law enforcement will start an investigation. Depending on whether they believe there is probable cause to charge you with a violent offense, you could be taken to jail. After your arrest, you will be read your rights and given an opportunity to call a lawyer or a law firm.
You will be taken in front of the judge for an initial appearance. The judge will schedule a preliminary hearing. At the preliminary hearing, you or your lawyer will have the opportunity to ask a witness questions to establish whether probable cause exists to charge you with the offense. At this hearing, the witness will be under oath. There are reasons that your attorney might suggest waiving the preliminary hearing. You should consult with them before making a decision.
Your attorney will let you know when you will next have to appear in front of the court. This may be for an arraignment or you may be able to submit a written arraignment.
The county attorney’s office will review the information provided to them by the police. They will determine what offenses to charge you with. You could be charged with a misdemeanor with felony assault.
Your attorney will let you know what sort of violence the government is claiming you did, what your rights are, what the worst case scenario sentence could be, and how this could affect your criminal record. If the assault you’re charged with is sexual in nature, your criminal lawyer will tell you more about the fines, terms of incarceration, and registry requirements that might apply to sexual assaults.
Your law firm will give you legal advice on the pros and cons of taking your case to trial. The decision of whether or not to go to trial is ultimately yours.
Finally, if you’re convicted, you might have reason and opportunity to appeal your conviction or sentence to an appellate court or even to the Iowa Supreme Court. As your criminal defense attorney for their opinion.
Are there other violent crimes that I might be charged with if someone claims I assaulted them?
There are many assault-adjacent offenses that you might find yourself charged with. For example, if the complaining witness says that you did something that was sexual in nature, you might find yourself charged with sexual abuse.
If you have a previous felony conviction, you might be charged with felon in possession of a weapon.
If an act of violence could have harmed a kid, you could be charged with child endangerment.
Depending on what the officers and prosecutor believe happened, you could even be charged with something completely unrelated to the alleged violence, like operating while intoxicated, theft, or indecent exposure.
Resources for assault victims and victims of violence
Violence is a terrible part of contemporary American society. Often, if someone has been made into a crime victim, they aren’t sure what to do. The individuals who victimized you are likely unwilling to be financially accountable for their actions, and you may be unsure of where you could safely stay or of whether you can keep yourself and your kids safe.
If you’ve been assaulted or if you’re a victim of domestic violence, sex crime, or other violent offenses, legal services and other resources are available to you.
If you have suffered personal injury as a result of unjustified violence, personal injury attorneys can offer you legal advice on whether you have a case. Our law firm will provide referrals to attorneys who can arrange a consultation and discuss with you whether filing a lawsuit or requesting a protective order is right for you. You can ask the law firm that you’re approaching whether they will offer you a free initial consultation to discuss your options.
Finally, there is a Victim Services Support Program available through the Iowa attorney general’s office.