The threshold requirement for a simple assault charge in the District is very low.

The statute criminalizes “whoever unlawfully assaults, or threatens in a menacing manner.”  That is, you can be charged with simple assault with marginal evidence as the statute is overbroad.

Various statutory levels of assault in the District of Columbia are categorized as:


Simple Assault carries a penalty of $1000.00 fine or no more than 180 days in jail or both.

An experienced criminal law DC assault lawyer would fully consider and litigate all viable defenses to an assault charge, including but not limited to, self-defense and defense of others — guide you through the process with minimal exposure.

Depending on the severity of the injuries and potential weapons used during commission of offense, the charge may be Aggravated Assault, Assault with Deadly Weapon, or Assault with Intent to Kill.

For example, DC assault charge with a significant bodily injury is a step up from Simple Assault and is defined as:

  1. Whoever assaults, threatens, and intentionally and knowingly or
  2. Recklessly causes significant bodily injury to other.

The Washington DC assault with significant injury offense carries a potential prison sentence of three years and/or a $3,000 fine.


DC aggravated assault is defined as whoever knowingly causes serious bodily injury to another person.  Serious bodily injury means:

  1.  An injury that creates substantial risk of death, unconsciousness, extreme physical pain or
  2.  Protracted and obvious disfigurement.

Washington DC aggravated assault charge carries a fine of $10,000 and/or imprisonment for not more than 10 years, or both.


Assault on a police officer can be either a Misdemeanor or a Felony depending on the severity of the injuries.

Specifically, the Statute provides:

  1. “Whoever without justifiable and excusable cause, assaults, resists, opposes, impedes, intimidates, or
  2.  Interferes with a law enforcement officer on account of, or while that law enforcement officer is engaged in the performance of his or her official duties shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, shall be imprisoned not more than 180 days or fined not more than $1,000, or both.”

If on the other hand there is:

  1.  A “significant bodily injury to the law enforcement officer, or
  2.  The person commits a violent act that creates a grave risk of causing significant bodily injury to the officer…then the charge would be considered a felony and penalties upon conviction shall be imprisoned not more than 10 years or fined not more than $10,000, or both.

A trial by judge or jury can result in a not guilty verdict if reasonable doubt has been established.

A criminal law DC lawyer with impeccable litigation skills can often meet the minimum threshold to create reasonable doubt given favorable evidence.

Thus it is imperative to engage our skilled, trained and seasoned DC assault lawyer to seek out all exculpatory evidence exonerating you of the charges.


The DV assault is generally handled by the Domestic Violence Unit — a subdivision of the court designated to hear cases involved assault, threats, stalking, etc and other crimes committed by a person under the following categories:

1) Interpersonal violence:

  • With whom the offender shares or has shared a mutual residence; or
  • Who is or was married to, in a domestic partnership with, divorced or separated from, or in a romantic, dating, or sexual relationship with another person who is or was married to, in a domestic partnership with, divorced or separated from, or in a romantic, dating, or sexual relationship with the offender.

2) Intimate partner violence:

  • To whom the offender is or was married;
  • With whom the offender is or was in a domestic partnership; or
  • With whom the offender is or was in a romantic, dating, or sexual relationship.

3) Intrafamily violence:

  •  Means an act punishable as a criminal offense that is committed or threatened to be committed by an offender upon a person to whom the offender is related by blood, adoption, legal custody, marriage, or domestic partnership, or with whom the offender has a child in common.

Generally Intrafamily offense are collectively refer to as either interpersonal, intimate partner, or intrafamily violence.

The common element among these type of cases are both motivated and zealous prosecutors as well as Judges who can and do impose jail time even on the first time offenders.

It is imperative to prepare the DV case throughly and diligently and plan to take each one to trial as plea deals are either not attractive nor reasonable.

Trial skills and firm grasp over the very legal minutia of assault cases can make a difference between a guilty and a non guilty verdict or dismissal.

Review below some of the recent developments and ruling on assault cases directly from the DC COURT OF APPEALS.


Contact our Washington DC assault lawyer for a thorough case evaluation and analysis.