In Alaska, a physical altercation can result in assault charges for the participants. The law differentiates between several types of assault, and the penalties may vary according to the seriousness of the charges.
If you face charges, an experienced attorney can identify effective defenses and protect your rights. As a conviction can have wide-ranging ramifications for the rest of your life, it is important to get the right help in defending your case.
Fourth-degree assault is a misdemeanor and represents the least serious type of assault charge. This offense consists of recklessly injuring another person or placing a person in fear of immediate injury. Placing in fear can mean threatening language ("I'm going to punch you in the face") or gestures such as swinging a fist.
The fear needs to be of immediate harm, so it would not count if someone made threats during a phone call from a distance (although that could lead to other types of charges). This charge can also stem from being criminally negligent in injuring another person with a dangerous instrument.
Assault in the third degree counts as a Class C felony. Qualifying actions may include placing a person in fear of immediate serious injury with a dangerous instrument, causing certain types of injuries to children, repeated threats of death or serious injury (note that this charge does not require a threat of immediate harm), being criminally negligent in causing serious injury or certain types of repeat assault convictions.
Second-degree assault is a B felony and is based on intentional injury with a dangerous instrument, reckless serious inury or reckless serious injury via repeated attacks. First-degree assault is an A felony. This offense includes reckless serious injury with a dangerous instrument or through repeated attacks with a dangerous instrument, intentional serious injury or knowingly acting in a way that leads to serious injury while demonstrating extreme indifference to this likelihood.
Complications in assault cases
Specific charges, and thus penalties, can depend on many factors. These may include intention, interpretation of specific actions and the resulting harm.