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What Assault Crimes Are Charged As Misdemeanors In Delaware?


When you think of assault as a violent physical attack on someone, you might be surprised to learn that not all crimes in this category are classified as felonies. The issue comes down to definitions under the Delaware Criminal Code section on offenses against the person. There are numerous crimes that range in terms of severity, with the most serious and aggravated forms of assault being charged as felonies.

However, there are two assault offenses that are misdemeanors, so the punishment for lower level crimes is not quite as serious. This factor leads many people to assume that the smart option is to accept guilt and pay the fine, but the consequences are more severe than you might expect. It is wise to work with a Wilmington assault defense lawyer to develop an effective strategy, and an overview should explain why.

 Offensive Touching: You could be arrested for this crime if you engage in any two types of misconduct:

  1. Intentionally making contact with a person’s body in a way that is likely to be offensive or cause alarm, using either a part of your own body, an instrument, or another individual’s body; OR,
  2. Intentionally striking someone with bodily fluids, such as saliva, urine, feces, or others, knowing that the victim will be alarmed or offended. 

Offensive Touching is an Unclassified Misdemeanor, punishable by up to 30 days in jail, a $575 fine, or both. 

Assault in the Third Degree: There are three acts that constitute this offense, including:

  1. Intentionally causing physical harm to a person, leading to injuries to the victim;
  2. Causing physical injuries to a victim through reckless conduct; OR,
  3. Through the exercise of criminal negligence, causing physical injury to someone with a deadly weapon or dangerous device.

Assault in the Third Degree is a Class A Misdemeanor in Delaware. If convicted, you face up to a year incarceration, a fine of $2,300, or both.

 Misdemeanors are Still Serious: The penalties for misdemeanor assault as described above are maximums. For both Offensive Touching and Assault in the Third Degree, a judge may sentence many first-time offenders to probation instead of jail time.

However, a conviction will still show up on your criminal record. It will show up in a background check, but also keep in mind how a prior conviction affects a future arrest. You are no longer a first-time offender. Plus, you were convicted of assault, a crime that encompasses violence – even if it is not a felony. No matter what the subsequent offense may be, the court will consider your history.

 Reach Out to a Delaware Assault Crimes Defense Attorney for Details 

It may not seem that the penalties for misdemeanor assault are serious, but you can see how these cases can come back to haunt you. For more information on defending the charges, please contact Attorney Michael W. Modica to set up a consultation. You can reach our Wilmington, DE office at 302.600.1262 or via our website. We can discuss defense strategies after reviewing the details of your case.


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