Montana Criminal Assault

Angel, Coil & Bartlett Attorneys

What are the Different Kinds of Misdemeanor and Felony Assault Charges in Montana?

Assault, Aggravated Assault and Assault with a Weapon are Montana’s versions of the crimes charged when a person perceives they are threatened with harm or is harmed by another person without justification. While the crime of Assault is a misdemeanor offense in Montana, the crimes of Aggravated Assault and Assault With a Weapon are felony offenses.

What Should I Bring to My First Meeting With Your Office?

You should bring all of the court-related documents you have received from law enforcement and the Court. This may include the charging document (citation or information), a copy of your bond conditions if you have seen a judge, any “no contact” orders that have been put in place, and the document informing you of your next court hearing.

What is the Difference Between Assault, Aggravated Assault and Assault With a Weapon?

Assault is Montana’s misdemeanor Assault statute. A person commits the offense of Assault when he or she purposely or knowingly causes bodily injury to another, makes physical contact of an insulting or proving nature with an individual or causes reasonable apprehension of bodily injury to another. One can also commit the offense of Assault if the person negligently causes bodily injury to another with a weapon.

Aggravated Assault is one of two felony assault offenses in Montana. A person commits the offense of aggravated assault if the person purposely or knowingly causes serious bodily injury to another or, with the use of physical force or contact, causes reasonable apprehension of serious bodily injury or death in another.

Assault With a Weapon is the other felony assault offense in Montana. A person commits the offense of Assault With a Weapon if the person purposely or knowingly causes bodily injury to another with a weapon or causes reasonable apprehension of serious bodily injury in another by use of a weapon or what reasonably appears to be a weapon.

What are the Potential Penalties for Assault, Aggravated Assault and Assault With a Weapon?

A person convicted of the offense of Assault faces a sentence of up to six months in jail and a fine up to $500. A person can also be subject to misdemeanor probation.

A person convicted of Aggravated Assault faces a sentence of up to 20 years in the Montana State Prison and a fine up to $50,000. Depending on the type and number of prior convictions a person has on their criminal record, a person can be subject to life in prison without the possibility of parole. A person convicted of Aggravated Assault may also be subject to felony probation or, if there person served time in prison or in the Montana Department of Corrections, felony parole.

A person convicted of Assault With a Weapon faces a sentence of up to 20 years in the Montana State Prison and a fine up to $50,000. A person convicted of Assault With a Weapon may also be subject to felony probation or, if the person served time in prison or in the Montana Department of Corrections, felony parole.

What is a No Contact Order?

A person charged with Assault, Aggravated Assault or Assault With a Weapon will often be subject to a “no contact order” preventing he or she from having contact with the alleged victim.

Are These the Only Penalties I May Face for Assault, Aggravated Assault or Assault With a Weapon?

No. Once you meet with one of our attorneys the other possible penalties will be discussed with you in detail in addition to your possible defenses.

Can I Be Required To Attend Counseling and Anger Management?

Yes. A person convicted of Assault, Aggravated Assault or Assault With a Weapon may be required to complete a counseling assessment with a focus on violence, controlling behavior, dangerousness, and chemical dependency and to comply with the assessor’s recommendations. The person may also be required to complete anger management counseling.

I Didn’t Do Anything Wrong! Why Did I Get Arrested?

Defending Assault charges can be challenging. Assault charges often involve allegations of “he said, she said,” in cases where the accused and the alleged victim are the only witnesses. Other times there are numerous witnesses to the altercation but their versions of what happened differs. Where multiple witnesses are involved, witnesses sometimes tailor their statements in favor of their friends or associates involved in the dispute rather than telling the truth about what actually occurred. When alcohol and drugs are involved, such as in bar fight cases, witness statements are often unreliable and suspect.

Often times assault crimes are reported during or after a dispute between two parties when one or both parties contact the police or a concerned citizen calls the police. Once the police confront the parties, they are often separated and asked to explain their “version” of the situation. The police officers involved, not being a witness to the dispute, are usually poorly equipped to make a judgment call, which is often wrong, as to who the victim is. Unfortunately, the police are under no obligation to collect exculpatory evidence or evidence that you acted in self-defense.

Differences between Assault and Aggravated Assault is one of degree. A person can be charged with Aggravated Assault rather than the more appropriate charge of Assault where the police officer misinterprets the amount of injury sustained, or the nature of the fear perceived, by the alleged victim. If a police officer determines that you caused “serious bodily injury” rather than mere “bodily injury,” or that you caused reasonable apprehension of “serious bodily injury” rather than “bodily injury,” you could be charged with felony Aggravated Assault.

Differences between Assault, Aggravated Assault and Assault With a Weapon fall upon the police officer’s determination that weapon was involved. The term “weapon” has been interpreted broadly by the Montana Supreme Court to encompass anything from a gun to an unlit but “hot” cigarette lighter.

What Can I Expect From Your Firm?

You can expect us to represent you at all court-related phases of your case and aggressively advocate on your behalf. Our firm has extensive experience defending assault cases and will work with you to expose the weaknesses and misunderstandings that form the basis of the prosecutor’s case. Often support for your defense is discovered after analyzing the police officer’s written reports, audio and video recordings, or through witness interviews.

In limited circumstances, as provided by Montana law, a person is allowed to use reasonable force to protect himself or herself, sometimes referred to as “self-defense,” to protect another person, to protect property, or to protect an occupied structure. Our attorneys will investigate your case in search of evidence to support a claim of self-defense. We often employ private investigators in assault cases to search for witnesses and evidence that the police neglected to collect.

If you are accused of committing the offense of Assault, Aggravated Assault or Assault With a Weapon in Montana, contact our firm to speak to one of our attorneys. Angel, Coil & Bartlett is comprised of a dedicated team of Montana criminal trial lawyers committed to protecting your constitutional and legal rights and helping you navigate the Montana criminal justice system.

Call us today for a free telephone consultation with one of our attorneys and an appointment with our firm.

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What Our Clients Say

 

I had the unfortunate experience of being arrested in Bozeman, MT shortly after I moved to the town. It was a very stressful and intimidating process to have to deal with, especially by myself.  I knew that if I wanted to fight the charge I would need to employ the help of a private attorney.  After nearly 2 weeks of searching for an attorney I was fortunate enough to have Angel, Coil & Bartlett suggested to me by another attorney in the area.

My attorney was smart, courteous, and sympathetic to my situation, which really made me feel comfortable, and in my opinion was my biggest reason for choosing their services.  While a client, he was always willing to take my phone call or call me back after contacting the office.  He kept me calm during the stressful process and was a great outlet to express my concerns.  He was always professional, yet was not a corporate robot with no personality, he was able to relate to me and make me feel comfortable.

I am very happy that I employed his services and as so pleased with the result of my case and would highly suggest the firm’s services to anyone who needs proper representation and is unsure of who to trust in their time of need.

J.H.

Client of Angel, Coil & Bartlett