Misdemeanors fall in to the category of offenses which are of a least severe nature and are thus punished by less severe range of punishments which may include prison sentences and fines. Misdemeanor assault is also called as simple assault and includes an act of violence against a person however it can also include actual physical contact made with an unsuspecting person without their consent. Even if the offender has simply threatened someone with bodily harm or injury and they look like they are able to actually do so, it can get the offender to be convicted with a misdemeanor assault offense. The victim has to feel a significant sense of fear of bodily harm by the offender, otherwise the act will not be considered as misdemeanor assault. The age of the victim is also considered; an act which causes fear of physical injury in a child may be considered as an assault, however the same act committed against an adult will not be considered as assault owing to the difference in the levels of fear it causes to both of them.
It has to be noted that not all forms of physical contact are considered misdemeanor assault and a number of socially accepted forms of physical contact are considered normal. Since simple assault falls into the category of misdemeanors, it is punished by a relatively lighter punishment including prison sentences of up to one year and fines.
In a number of states the laws that deal with assault are slightly different from others. In these states, physical contact with an unsuspecting person often falls in the category of battery crimes. For an offense to be considered as misdemeanor assault there has to be the presence of bodily harm in addition to the fear involved in the act. To put it more simply, if you try to punch an unsuspecting person and fail to connect with them the act will be considered as assault. In case you actually punched them, then the incident will be dealt with in terms of battery or battery and assault.
Depending up on the circumstances in which the crime has been committed, a simple assault or battery offense can be converted in to felony and will be punished more severely than a simple assault. In all the fifty states of the United States, a simple assault committed in aggravated circumstances will be dealt with a felony crime; the factor that transforms a simple assault in to a felony or aggravated assault is the intention of causing more harm than just inflicting the sense of fear in the victim. If the offender is proven to have the intention of robbing or killing the victim, the case of simple assault will be dealt with as an aggravated assault. Having said that, if the offense has been committed in the presence of a deadly weapon, it will also be considered an aggravated assault. The punishment for the offender of an aggravated assault or a felony offense is a prison sentence of one year.
Penalty for simple assault or misdemeanor assault
If an individual has been convicted with a simple assault or misdemeanor assault, they can face up to six months in a prison facility. In addition to this prison sentence the convict can also get a fine which may be up to $1,000. Prison sentences and payment of fine as a punishment can be given separately, however they may also be given together depending upon the details of the crime and the circumstances it was committed in.
In case the convict is a first time offender, they may be given a fine, a compulsory diversion program and probation. The diversion program may include a course dealing with anger management issues which may help the individual to control their anger before they get the better of them. Since misdemeanor assaults are the crimes of the least serious nature, the record of the convict may be cleared after successful completion of the probation and diversion sentence.
Loss of civil rights and benefits
Many people think that committing a simple assault will only earn them a prison sentence and fine without causing any collateral loss of civil rights and benefits. It is far from the truth as the convicts of simple assault also lose a number of their rights and benefits. These rights include issues when seeking proper employment and housing facilities and loss of professional licenses. However, by hiring the services of a competent criminal attorney, the convicts can negotiate their cases better and get lighter punishments.
Issues when seeking employment
Although misdemeanor assaults are considered to be very small crimes, they can still affect the chances of the convict to land in to a competitive job opportunity. Employers are often wary of hiring individuals with a criminal record as they consider them a risk for the reputation of their business and also consider them to be a bad influence for other employees.
This section will guide you about how a convict of simple assault can land in to that perfect employment opportunity. While you may have taken your rowdy college days as a youthful adventure but that fist fight and that other incident involving injury caused to your neighbor can show up in the background check of that perfect job opportunity and haunt you for your entire life. You can not only lose that one employment opportunity but may also become a suspect if any other opportunity comes your way.
To avoid such issues, make sure that before your potential employer finds out about your record, you do something to get it cleared. Since a simple assault is not a very serious type of crime, it is possible to get your record cleared after following a legal process; it is recommended to hire the services of a competent criminal attorney who can help you throughout the process and help you negotiate your options better.
Follow the suggestions given in this section to avoid any misunderstandings and other issues with potential employers:
Always be honest when it comes t your records
Whenever you are asked about any convictions during the process of employment, never lie and always be honest about your past records. It will be bigger and even irreparable dent in your record if you fail to communicate about your criminal record and your potential employee finds it through a third party. Never think that such a possibility is unlikely as a number of small and big firms run a background check for all of the potential employees and accepting your past will only help you in the process as you will appear to be someone who is not only honest but who has also learned the lesson from the unfortunate situation.
Explain the situation as it happened
If questioned about the incident give them details and mention if you were really young, or that you were caught up in the moment and could not think any better, or if you were under other people’s influence. While you provide them with all these details never shy away from taking the responsibility of your actions. By trying to put the blame of the incident on someone else you will not appear to be someone who is strong enough to take control of their life and will look like a person who is easily influenced. Even if you were treated in an unfair manner, do take the responsibility of your actions in front of your potential employers. Focus on what have learned from that unfortunate incident and emphasize that it was the only time you lost control and has never gotten into a similar situation since. Point out how that will never impact our performance at work and that you are comfortable person o work with.
Emphasize on how you have become a changed person after the incident
While misdemeanors are small crimes they still mean that the offender has an issue with their temper. No matter how much you may have changed since that incident, to a potential employer you can still seem like a person who has anger management issues. To clear this concept about yourself, you need to tell them about any state run programs that you have gone through which helped in controlling the issues with your temper. Also mention if you have been to a rehabilitation program or anything else which may have helped you in controlling your anger. Your potential employer is sure to be satisfied to a great extent if you have successfully completed all these courses and sessions.
Getting a pardon
In case all of the above mentioned options do not work in your favor and you still have problems whenever you pursue an opportunity that you love, you can consider the possibility of getting your records cleared and plea for pardon. While it varies from state to state and the nature of each case, but you can either file a petition in the court or even to the governor of your state to pardon you in that case as it is affecting your career and not improving the quality of your life. Hiring an attorney will help your case to a great extent as it involves a lot paper work and a waiting period. This is a long and expensive process but a number of people consider it in order to improve their chances in life.