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Understanding Kansas Assault Charges and Common Defenses

Kansas law has four types of assault charges with sentences that range from a month in jail to nearly four years in prison, depending on your criminal record.

Kansas law defines assault as intentionally putting someone in fear of immediate physical danger. This could be an act or a threat of action that causes someone to believe they could be harmed. In some states, an assault charge involves physical contact. However, bodily contact isn’t necessary for someone to be charged and convicted of assault in Kansas.

There are four types of assault charges under state law: assault, aggravated assault, assault of a law enforcement officer, and aggravated assault of a law enforcement officer. The maximum sentences range from one month in jail to nearly four years in prison, depending on the type of assault charge, the circumstances of the case and the criminal history of the defendant.

If you’re arrested for assault, it’s important to immediately hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer who’s knowledgeable of effective defenses against these types of charges.

Simple assault

The charge of assault in Kansas, which is commonly referred to as a simple assault, is a class C misdemeanor. The maximum sentence is one month in jail and a fine up to $500. A prosecutor must prove that the defendant acted intentionally and it was reasonable for the victim to believe they could be physically harmed.

Although a misdemeanor assault charge may not seem as serious as other charges, a conviction can have a significant impact on your life. It could result in more serious criminal sentences in the future, increased bail amounts, and restraining orders.

Aggravated assault

In Kansas, aggravated assault is an assault committed with a deadly weapon, while disguised in any manner to conceal identity, or with the intent to commit a felony. A conviction carries a possible sentence of 11 to 34 months in prison and a fine up to $100,000.

A defendant accused of using a firearm during an aggravated assault faces the possibility of additional punishment in Kansas. The state’s sentencing guidelines specify that prison time rather than probation is the appropriate sentence – even for defendants with little to no criminal record.  Additionally, the defendant could be required to register as a violent offender with the Kansas Bureau of Investigation.

An experienced criminal defense lawyer can negotiate with prosecutors to potentially remove prison as the presumed punishment and the requirement that the defendant register as a violent offender.

Assault and aggravated assault of a law enforcement officer

Under Kansas law, the charge of assault of a law enforcement officer is defined as assaulting a uniformed or properly identified state, county, city, or campus law enforcement officer while they’re on duty. The charge is a class A misdemeanor with a maximum sentence of one year in jail and a fine up to $2,500.

Aggravated assault of a law enforcement officer is committing aggravated assault against a uniformed or properly identified state, county, city, or campus law enforcement officer while they’re on duty. The charge is a level 6 felony with a maximum sentence of 46 months in prison and a fine up to $100,000.

Similar to aggravated assault with a firearm, defendants face a stiffer punishment if they’re convicted of aggravated assault of a law enforcement officer. State sentencing guidelines suggest that a defendant go to prison rather than get probation, even if they have little to no criminal record. Additionally, they may be required to register as a violent offender.

Common defenses against assault charges

A defendant accused of assault has numerous possible defenses against the charge. As part of plea negotiations or a criminal trial, some defenses include the following:

  • Self-defense: An attorney could argue that the alleged victim initiated the confrontation, and their client acted in self-defense while in fear for their safety.
  • Mistaken identity: In some cases, attorneys argue that key witnesses or investigators didn’t correctly identify the suspect. 
  • No reasonable fear for safety: An attorney may argue that the alleged victim couldn’t have reasonably believed they would be physically harmed.
  • Lack of a weapon: In aggravated assault cases involving a weapon, an attorney may argue that it’s unreasonable to believe the weapon could have caused death or serious bodily injury.

If you’ve been charged with assault in Kansas, contact the Koop Law Firm. Jeremy D. Koop has an extensive background in violent crimes cases, both as a former prosecutor and a criminal defense lawyer. He will provide the vigorous defense you deserve to protect your rights.

The information provided in this article does not constitute legal advice; it is for general informational purposes only.

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