When we say the word “assault”, one would assume that actual physical or bodily harm was committed to another person. However, as showcased in our discussion of California's assault laws, even the act of placing reasonable fear of imminent bodily harm to a person can qualify as an assault by itself.
Under certain circumstances, an assault could be classified as only a state-level offense. However, Federal Criminal Code Chapter 7 provides the elements necessary to establish whether an assault should be upgraded to a federal offense. In other words, it is federal-level assault if the prosecutor can prove the following to be true:
- The assault was committed to a government employee or a retired government employee provided that the assault was motivated by the actions of the employee while working for the government (Section 11);
- The assault was committed to a foreign official, official guest, or internationally protected person (Section 112);
- The assault was committed with the intent to commit murder and a felony (Section 113);
- The assault was committed with a dangerous weapon (Section 113);
- The assault was committed by striking, beating, or wounding (Section 113);
- The assault committed was a simple assault within the territory of the United States (Section 113);
- The assault resulted in serious bodily injury to a person (Section 113);
- The assault resulted in substantial bodily injury to a spouse, intimate partner, dating partner (Section 113);
- The assault was committed by strangling or suffocation to a spouse, intimate partner, dating partner (Section 113);
- The assault was with the intent to maim, torture, disfigure, or pour injurious substance to a person (Section 114);
- The assault, kidnap, or threat to assault and/or kidnap, was committed to a member of the immediate family of a current or former federal official (Section 115);
- The assault involved the mutilation of the gential of a woman below the age of 18 (Section 116);
- The assault was committed by a habitual offender to a current or former spouse, parent, child, or guardian of the victim (Section 117);
Note that since these are all federal crimes, it does not matter if you committed it in California or any other state -- the same penalties will apply.
For instance, let's say you're in California and you've just got into a fight with your neighbor who refuses to take down his Black Lives Matter sign posted on his property. You then stormed into his home and threatened to beat him with your baseball bat if he doesn't comply. That, in itself, violates two California penal codes already -- trespassing and assault. On top of that, you also committed a federal crime under Federal Criminal Code Chapter 3 Section 113(a)(3), which is assault with a dangerous weapon.
This means that not only will you be facing state-level charges, but you'll also be subjected to federal prosecution.
Some relevant and similar violations to federal assault include:
- Domestic abuse; and
- Child abuse.
For each section under Federal Criminal Code Chapter 3, there are corresponding penalties that differ significantly from each other.
In Section 111, assaulting a federal employee would lead to:
- Fines and/or up to 8 years imprisonment for simple assault
- Fines and/or up to 20 years imprisonment for assault with deadly weapon
Assault on foreign officials, official visitors, or internationally protected officials will result in:
- Fines, and/or
- Up to ten years imprisonment
Meanwhile, violation of Section 113 includes several penalties depending on the facts of the case:
- Fines and/or up to 20 years imprisonment for assault with intent to murder;
- Fines and/or up to 10 years imprisonment for assault with intent to commit felony, assault with dangerous weapon, assault resulting in serious bodily injury, and assault of spouse, intimate partner, or dating partner by strangling or suffocation;
- Fines and/or up to 1 year imprisonment for assault by striking, beating, or wounding, and simple assault; and
- Fines and/or up to 5 years imprisonment for assault resulting in substantial bodily injury to spouse, intimate partner, or dating partner.
Meanwhile, maiming under Section 114 is punishable by:
- Fines, and/or
- Imprisonment for not more than 20 years.
Assaulting or kidnapping an immediate family member of a federal official leads to:
- Fines, and
- Either 1 year, 10 years, 20 years, or 30 years imprisonment.
Female genital mutilation under Section 116 is prosecutable by:
- Fines, and/or
- Not more than 5 years imprisonment
Finally, domestic assault shall have the following consequences:
- Fines, and/or
- Either 5 years or 10 years imprisonment.
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If you have been charged for violating Federal Criminal Code Chapter 3 within the jurisdiction of California, we advise that you seek our legal assistance immediately. Our incredible team of skilled and experienced criminal defense lawyers will make sure that you are properly represented in court.
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