What Should I Expect After an Assault Conviction?

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  • Written By: N. Madison
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 25 May 2020
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The events that occur after an assault conviction typically depend on the laws of the jurisdiction in which a person is convicted. Typically, however, the judge on the case decides on a sentence for the accused individual. Sentencing may occur immediately following a conviction or may be delayed and handled during a separate sentencing hearing at which witnesses, the victim, and the convicted party may speak. Sometimes a probation officer's report is used in sentencing as well. A person may face a range of penalties after an assault conviction, including probation and fines as well as a prison sentence; more serious assaults typically carry more severe penalties.

Once a person is convicted of assault, a judge has the job of deciding how he should be punished. He does this by imposing a sentence that is within the sentencing limits that apply in his jurisdiction. Often, however, judges do have some discretion in whether they give minimum sentences or apply maximum sentences instead. This typically depends on the unique circumstances of the crime. If, for example, the convicted party assaulted another individual with a deadly weapon, caused serious bodily harm, or assaulted a minor, he may face a stiffer penalty in some places.

Sometimes an assault conviction is followed immediately by sentencing. In many cases, however, there is a sentencing hearing that is scheduled for a few weeks following the conviction. Many court systems allow defense attorneys to call witnesses to this hearing in order to testify on behalf of the convicted party and help the defense attorney show why he should be given a lighter sentence. The prosecuting attorney, on the other hand, typically has an opportunity to demonstrate the reasons the convicted party should be given a more severe sentence. Sometimes the victim of the crime and the convicted criminal are given the chance to speak as well.

When the sentencing hearing is set for a case involving a felony type of assault, a probation officer may be involved. The probation officer’s job, in such a case, is to create and submit a report to the court that provides details about the convicted party’s past, including previous arrests or convictions; work and education history; and past abuse of drugs and alcohol. This report may also provide details about the convicted party’s mental health and the impact the crime had on the victim.

The sentence a person receives following an assault conviction may be minor if the crime is not considered serious. In such a case, he may serve a few weeks or months in prison or even be sentenced to probation and a fine instead. If he has committed a more serious crime, however, such as sexual assault with a deadly weapon, he may be sentenced to spend many years in prison.

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