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Any kind of assault charge is serious, but the penalties for assaulting an officer responsible for promoting public safety are especially harsh. These are felony offenses punishable by years in prison and substantial fines.
If you are facing such a charge, it may be important to get legal advice from a knowledgeable attorney. An Odessa assault on an officer lawyer with specific expertise and experience dealing with these case may be able to help.
Defining Assault on An Officer in Odessa
In Odessa, a person may face assault charges if they intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly caused bodily harm to another person, or knowingly or intentionally threatened another person with bodily harm. Even just a threat such as brandishing a gun or other weapon may be the basis of an assault charge.
If the attack or threat was against an officer, the charge is automatically elevated to a felony. Even the least serious felony assaults in Odessa may be punishable by up to ten years in prison and a $10,000 fine. In serious cases, it may even be a first-degree felony that could be punishable by five years to life in prison.
However, for the enhanced penalties to be applicable, the officer must have been performing their duties, and the accused must have been reasonably aware that the other person was an officer.
What if The Officer Was Using Excessive Force?
Assault is illegal unless the force was justified, but some typical defenses against an assault charge, such as provocation or fighting words, are generally much harder to use against a police officer than a private citizen.
If the officer is making a lawful arrest the person being arrested has no right to resist, but if the officer used excessive force, then a person may act in self-defense.
In general, the accused must be able to show they had a reasonable belief they were going to suffer harm from the officer. Even then, the person must only use such reasonable force as was necessary to defend themselves. In other words, the force the person used must not be excessive for the situation. Speak with an Odessa assault on an officer lawyer to learn more.
Mounting a Defense Against Assaulting an Officer Charges
The law lays out specific elements for each crime that the prosecution must be able to prove. Specifically, they must be able to prove each element beyond a reasonable doubt. If there is an alternative explanation, a judge cannot convict a person.
In some cases, a person may be able to accept a plea deal. These are deals where someone pleads guilty to a lesser charge. Based on the strength of that case, an experienced Odessa assault on an officer lawyer may know when the best course of action is to stand firm and try to get the charges dismissed, or whether to seek a plea deal.
Contact an Odessa Assault on an Officer Attorney
Although an assault charge can carry serious repercussions, an assault on a police officer is especially serious. In any case, these are felony charges which means they are punishable by lengthy prison sentences and expensive fines. These charges may also result in a criminal record which could limit where someone is able to live and work.
If you are facing allegations of an assault on an officer, it may be important to seek the guidance of an experienced Odessa assault on an officer lawyer. An attorney may be able to help you examine the facts of your case and see what your best options are. Call now for a free consultation.