Doctors, lawyers, pilots, nurses, and other professionals could have their licenses suspended or revoked if charged with assault. The severity of the assault determines the risk of the license and other penalties. The risks of a license getting suspended or revoked are higher for serious assault offenses.
What is an Assault?
The law defines assault as when a person attempts or threatens to cause bodily harm to another person with the apparent present ability, and the person reasonably believes that the contact will be harmful.
Degrees of Assault and Impact on a Professional License
An assault qualifies as 1st degree when the accused assaults a law enforcement officer or causes great bodily harm to a complaining witness. Besides license revocation, this offense can lead to a jail term of up to 20 years and an up to $30,000 in fine.
An assault is deemed 2nd degree if the accused used a dangerous weapon to commit the offense. The offender can face jail time of up to 7 years and a fine of up to $14,000. Infliction of bodily harm can raise the penalties to up to 10 years imprisonment and up to $20,000 in fines. It can also result in professional license loss.
If an offense resulted in substantial bodily harm or if a minor was involved, then the offense qualifies as a 3rd-degree assault. The wrongdoer may face a sentence of up to 5 years, pay a fine of up to $10,000, and lose the license.
Also classified as a gross misdemeanor, this is an assault against a peace officer executing lawfully imposed duties like arrests. Depending on the circumstances, the offender could have his or her professional license suspended for a while, face incarceration of up to 12 months, and pay a fine of up to $3,000.
Assault Defense Strategies
A professional license defense attorney can negotiate with the prosecution for lesser penalties on behalf of professionals likely to lose their licenses over assault charges. The lawyer can also present compelling arguments to convince the court to dismiss the assault charges.
One common defense is self-defense. If the accused was defending himself or herself, family members, or any other persons from threats or unlawful force, the accused may argue the threatening acts warranted the assault. Another defense is that there was no contact between the accuser and the accused.