Assault, an act that can inflict physical harm or instill fear, carries severe legal consequences upon conviction. This piece offers an overview of what constitutes assault, the seriousness of its impact, and the penalties under Nebraska law. Readers will also get a better understanding of potential defenses and the role of criminal defense lawyers in these cases.

Omaha assault defense attorneys

Liberty Legal Group makes decisions based on the facts, not feelings. Our expert defenders are experienced in handling assault cases.

Our firm serves the communities of Omaha, Lincoln, Papillion, and Council Bluffs and the surrounding areas of Douglas, Lancaster, Sarpy, Saunders, Dodge, Washington, and Cass counties in Nebraska. We are also licensed to practice law in Iowa and serve the communities of Council Bluffs, Pattawattamie County and the surrounding areas of Harrison and Mills counties.

If you or someone you know has been arrested or accused of assault in Nebraska or Iowa, contact our firm immediately to request a free and confidential consultation to discuss your case with one of our criminal defense attorneys.

How is assault defined in Nebraska?

Assault in Nebraska is defined through several laws, each outlining specific conditions and types of harm or threat inflicted.

First-degree assault is the most severe charge, under Nebraska Revised Statute §28-308. This type of assault occurs when a person intentionally or knowingly causes serious injury to someone. “Serious bodily injury” implies a significant level of harm, indicating an intent to inflict grave physical damage.

The second-degree assault, under Nebraska Revised Statute §28-309, encompasses different scenarios. It’s an offense where a person intentionally or knowingly causes bodily injury with a weapon or recklessly causes serious bodily injury with an instrument. Additionally, the law covers situations where an individual, while confined or under legal custody, attacks another person.

Third-degree assault, as defined in Nebraska Revised Statute §28-310, is a less severe form of assault. It occurs when a person intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causes bodily injury to another or threatens someone in a menacing manner. This type of assault may involve less serious bodily injuries or threatening behaviors that do not necessarily result in physical harm but still result in fear in the victim.

Also, under Nebraska Revised Statute §28-310.01, assault by strangulation is where a person intentionally impedes the breathing or circulation of blood of another person by putting pressure on the neck or throat, or by covering the mouth and nose. Significantly, this law considers the act as a serious offense, regardless of whether a visible injury is present.

Back to top

What are the Consequences for Assault in Nebraska?

In Nebraska, the consequences for assault vary significantly based on the classification of the offense. The classifications range from misdemeanors to felonies, each carrying specific fines and jail terms. First-degree assault, classified as a Class II felony, is subject to severe penalties. According to Nebraska Revised Statute §28-105, a Class II felony can lead to imprisonment for 1 to 50 years.

Second-degree assault is considered a Class IIA felony. Individuals convicted of this offense can face a prison sentence of 0-20 years. Third-degree assault is generally classified as a Class I misdemeanor. Under Nebraska Revised Statute §28-106, this can result in up to 1 year in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000. However, if the assault occurs in a mutual fight or scuffle, it is classified as a Class II misdemeanor, leading to a potential 6-month jail term and/or a fine of up to $1,000.

Assault by strangulation or suffocation is typically a Class IIIA felony that is punishable by as much as 3 years in prison, post-release supervision, and/or a fine as high as $10,000. However, this escalates to a Class IIA felony to the extent that a dangerous weapon is used, serious bodily injury is caused, or the individual has prior convictions for the same offense.

Nebraska has alternative sentencing options like probation and pre-plea diversion programs. However, these programs are mainly for non-violent or first-time offender and focus on rehabilitation and community reintegration. However, failure to adhere to set conditions can result in the imposition of the standard penalties associated with the offense. Individuals charged with assault might be eligible for Lancaster County’s Treatment Diversion Program, Intensive Supervision Diversion, Mental Health Diversion, Veterans Diversion Program, and General Diversion Program. However, some of these programs exclude felony assault offenses.

Back to top

What are Some Defenses to Assault in Nebraska?

In Nebraska, defenses are available in assault cases. One notable defense is self-defense, where the accused asserts that their actions were necessary to protect themselves from imminent harm. This defense requires proving that the perceived threat was reasonable, and the response was proportionate to the threat faced. Another defense is defense of others, similar to self-defense, but applied when the accused was protecting another person from imminent harm.

Consent is another potential defense, particularly relevant in third-degree assault cases. If the alleged victim consented to the conduct that resulted in injury, such as in sports or consensual fights, this can be a valid defense. However, consent is not a defense in cases involving serious bodily harm or the use of dangerous weapons.

Mistaken identity or wrongful accusation is also a defense, where the accused claims they were not the person who committed the assault. This involves providing evidence or testimony that establishes an alibi or questions the accuracy of the identification made by the victim or witnesses.

Lastly, the Nebraska Revised Statute §28-310.01 provides an affirmative defense for assault by strangulation or suffocation if the act was a result of a legitimate medical procedure. This defense is specific to situations where the actions were medically necessary and professionally executed.

Back to top

How Can a Criminal Defense Lawyer Help A Client Facing Assault Charges

A criminal defense lawyer represents and advises clients charged with violent crimes including assault. They analyze the case, gather evidence, and develop a defense strategy. The lawyer represents the client in court, arguing on their behalf and challenging the prosecution’s evidence. They also negotiate plea deals, potentially reducing charges or penalties. Their role includes advising the client on legal procedures and options, ensuring their rights are protected throughout the legal process.

Back to top

Additional Resources

Assault Laws in Nebraska – Visit the official website of the Nebraska Legislature to learn more about first-degree, second-degree, and third-degree assault, as well as other related violated crimes in Nebraska.

The Federal Crime of Assault – Visit the official website of the U.S. Department of Justice to learn more about federal assault laws, including 18 U.S.C. 351(e), which considers assault to fall into two categories based on whether there is a personal injury. Access the site to learn about the elements of this federal offense, which is different from the Nebraska state assault laws.

Hiring a defense attorney for Assault | Liberty Legal Group

No matter the reason, we believe that everyone has the right to a fair trial. Liberty Legal Group will put in the research, interview witnesses and deliver to the court the facts. Our lawyers are expert defenders with countless hours protecting our clients both in and out of court and they are ready to help you.

If you or a loved one has been charged with assault, call our firm immediately at (402) 865-0501 to request a free consultation to discuss the facts of your case.