How Are Police Records Maintained?

When someone is arrested, a record is created by the arresting agency - whether it is a local county sheriff, state police or federal agency. These records include details such as the date and place (town) of arrest; charges filed against the suspect; mug shots; personal description such as height and weight; resulting convictions, if any; and sentencing details. Prison or jail records are then created when someone is sentenced to serving time for the crime they were arrested for. These can include dates of incarceration, current disposition (released, absconded or currently in custody) and the place of incarceration. Prison or jail records are then created when someone is sentenced to serving time for the crime they were arrested for.

Police Records

Police Records: A Viable Option for Checking Background Information. If you are concerned about a new person in your own or a loved one's life, it is often a good idea to screen the individual by checking for police records in their name. These records can offer insight into his or her character and fitness, and warn you of any red flags that you should be alerted to in their past.

How Accessible Are Police Records?

Police records are a matter of public record, unless a judge has redacted them from public view. This may happen because the person is or was a juvenile at the time of the offense in question, and when they come of age the record is cleared or expunged. Otherwise, information regarding any arrests, prison time, warrants and convictions in someone's past should be accessible for your personal knowledge. Police Records: A Viable Option for Checking Background Information

What is a Background Check?

A background check is a way that an employer or other private party can examine an individual's past and determine if he or she is trustworthy. Personal background checks can be performed by anyone, and are important when choosing a tenant, babysitter or any other party who will have access to your personal property in the future. These checks may also search for criminal records that will reveal any prior arrests, court cases or warrants in an individual's name.

Conducting a Personal Background Check

If you would like to find out more about someone's past in general, you may want to check out personal references, former employers and even credit histories. Vital records such as marriage, birth and divorce records can confirm someone's identity or whether they have ever been married or divorced in the past. Contacting former landlords, employers and current personal references can help you verify information you have been told by an applicant, and can also help determine their trustworthiness.

Conducting a Criminal Background Check

In some cases, you may want to determine if someone you know or have met has ever been party to a criminal case or accused of a crime. In order to check if someone has a criminal history, you will need to access both local and federal records. Private websites offer the ability to search both of these simultaneously, ensuring you do not overlook any important information and saving you time in the process. This type of background check can provide arrest records, incarceration records and even past or current warrant information.

Since police are considered to be responsible for maintaining the peace in each state, police records are a good place to start when conducting any type of background check on a person. You may also need to access these records to prove your own character and conduct when applying for a job or acceptance to professional school.

Information Found in Police Records

Police records are generally considered public, and can provide you information about prior arrests, felony and misdemeanor charges, warrants, DWI and DUI records, permits and even traffic tickets or domestic issues in police reports. However, each state exercises its own accessibility laws, and may require written authorization from the individual to access complete details contained in the records.

Limitations on Information

In addition to checking on the corresponding state's accessibility laws and requirements, you must remember that these records are only maintained by local governments, and do not translate across state lines. This means that you will need to check police records for each state in which you or the subject has lived in the past. However, federal records such as sex offender information and arrest and inmate records from federal prisons are available online.

How to Find Police Records

If you don't have the time to comply with multiple state requirements when searching police records, you can always utilize private sources which will search multiple state databases at once.

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What are Background Records?

Background records are created with every major event in an individual's life, and can be researched by outside parties for years to come. These records can include public records, vital records, personal history records, criminal records and even court records. Ideally, background records are used to confirm or deny information about someone perhaps when applying for a job.

Background Checks

Conducting a background check on someone requires accessing various background records in order to establish someone's reliability and assess their ability to be trusted. Using private sites and sources for information will save time and effort by searching all applicable local and state repositories for records regarding an individual.

Criminal background checks will entail arrest and criminal histories available from police records, and court records. Since these records are considered to be in the public domain, they can also be accessed for free; however, this access is limited since state and local records do not translate across state lines.

Background checks are especially recommended when meeting new friends and others online through Internet sites, both personal and professional. Vital records such as birth, death, marriage and divorce records can easily confirm or deny someone's identity as well.

Laws Regarding Background Records

Per the federal Privacy Act, personal information such as Social Security numbers is usually redacted from public records. This law, in addition to others, protects information maintained in medical records, military and educational records. However, the Freedom of Information Act provides that the public should be able to access public records maintained by the government. This means that you may be able to find out that someone was arrested for drunk driving, but you may not be able to find their driver's license number.

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What are Criminal Records?

According to the FBI, there were more than 14 million arrests in 2008, of which nearly 600,000 were for violent crimes and more than 1.5 million were for property crimes committed in the U.S. Arrest records are just one type of criminal record accessible by the public. DUI records, police records, warrant records and even prison records can help determine whether an individual has a criminal history or not.

Information Available in the Criminal Records

Free sources of criminal records will provide the person's name, offense and dates regarding the crime in question. In order to complete a search, both federal and state databases must be checked to ensure completeness. However, state records do not translate to other areas, so each state that the person has lived in will need to be checked.

Private sources of these records will require a fee, but will check multiple state and federal databases at once, saving you time and ensuring a complete screening process. Information unavailable in these records includes details regarding juveniles and personal identifiers such as Social Security numbers. However, you can generally discover whether someone has ever been arrested and for what charge, whether s/he was convicted of the offense, and any time served in prison.

Reasons for Requesting Criminal Records

Criminal records are often a great help when determining a person's character if they are applying for a job or you are considering giving them access to your personal property. This may be the case when hiring a babysitter or allowing a new tenant rent your property.

Other reasons to check for criminal records can include applying for a firearms or professional license, as well as simply checking your own record for accuracy.

A person's criminal record and arrest history is broken down into several categories. Thanks to reality television and motion picture magic, most of us are familiar with terms like felony, misdemeanor, and conviction record. But do you really know what they mean? Here's a breakdown of the different types of criminal offenses:

Felony

In the United States, serious criminal offenses (those that include a potential punishment of two and a half years or longer in prison) are referred to as felonies. Murder, rape, kidnapping, aggravated assault/battery, arson, burglary and grand theft are all considered felony crimes; as are embezzlement, tax evasion, racketeering, treason and espionage. Certain offenses may also straddle the line- being considered either a felony or a misdemeanor, depending on the circumstance. For example, Manufacturing, distributing, or possessing a controlled substance is often considered a felony, but possession of a very small amount can be considered a misdemeanor.

Misdemeanor

Misdemeanors are less severe criminal acts. Technically, a misdemeanor is defined as a crime that is punishable by less than two and a half years of jail time. However, the vast majority of majority of them are punished with monetary fines. (Although repeat misdemeanor offenders are much more likely to serve jail time) Misdemeanors are the most likely type of offense to be expunged off of a person's criminal record.

Parole Violations

People who are serving a jail sentence for a felony conviction may be eligible, after a certain period of time for parole. In essence, parole is a conditional release from prison. When you seriously violate those conditions for your release, you have committed a parole violation, and could potentially go back to jail. Some of the most common parole violations include not checking in with your parole officer (PO), possessing drugs, alcohol or weapons, failing a drug test, not wearing your GPS monitor, or (in cases of sex offenders) being near a school zone or playground).

Probation Violations

Unlike parole, which comes after you have served prison time, probation is assigned as an alternative to a jail term. Violating the terms of probation can result in several consequences, including a revocation of probation (in which case a prison sentence would be imposed), en extension on the length or severity of the probation, community service, or mandatory substance abuse treatment.

Sex Offender Status

Enacted in 1996 after the kidnap, rape and murder of a seven year old girl, Megan's law made the information found on the FBI's national sex offender registry available to the public. This means that people who have been convicted of certain sexual crimes (including rape, sexual assault, and child molestation) must register for life as a sex offender. Depending on what the court decides is the likelihood of a person to commit another sexually based offense, each registered sex offender is categorized as a level 1, 2, or 3.

Traffic Violations

While most driving violations do not go on your criminal record, certain serious traffic offenses will. These will then also be listed on the National Driver Registry (which is maintained by the US Department of Transportation) and can be accessed by an employer if that person seeks a job that involves driving or working with motor vehicles. These serious violations include accidents that resulted in fatalities and DUI arrests. Aside from the different types of violations, there are also several forms of criminal history records, including:

Arrest Records:

Every time someone is arrested, a detailed description of the arrest, including pictures, dates, convictions, and sentencing information is added to their arrest record.

Conviction Records

In addition to listing all of the crimes that a person has been convicted of, a conviction record includes any dishonorable military discharges, as well as a history of any time spent in jail, on probation or on parole.

Inmate Records

Whenever someone serves prison time, they also have what is known as an inmate record. This stays within the prison system, and describes not only the reason why a person was imprisoned, but also records their behavior and additional offenses while behind bars. This records and arrest history system is set up to aid law enforcement agencies- and to keep the otherwise chaotic world of criminal justice and background investigations as organized as possible.

Criminal Background Check

When you need to conduct a criminal background check on someone and determine if there are any criminal records in their past, you can easily access them through your local law enforcement office and courthouse. Though these records are free, they do not cross state lines, so you will have to check with every state and locate where someone has lived. Federal criminal checks can be conducted through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. For local arrest and other police records, you will need to visit the Department of Corrections or State Police site to request information about your subject. The Federal Bureau of Prisons also offers the ability to search for federal inmates by ID number or name, though these online records only date back to 1982. To save time and help avoid missing vital information from other states, you can also conduct a private search that will provide results using databases from across the country. The existence of criminal records will tell you the dates of arrest and court appearances, charges and any convictions and sentences served by the individual.

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What is a Criminal Check?

A criminal check requires you to search for criminal records regarding an individual's past from both state and federal sources. This type of check will provide information that may exist in police records, arrest records, inmate records and even court records.

Why Conduct a Criminal Check

A criminal check is vital when considering hiring an individual for a trusted position to ensure they are reliable and have a clean background history.

Types of Criminal Checks

Criminal checks may be extremely extensive and require fingerprints in order to check against local and national databases, or you can conduct an instant and online search using only a person's name. Of course, the more information you have about someone, the more likely you are to gather correct records and prevent duplicate results because of multiple individuals with the same name. Social Security numbers, addresses and dates of birth are always helpful when narrowing down the results from these types of criminal checks.

Sources of Criminal Records

Local databases are often available online, and you must visit the respective Department of Corrections' or police department's website. Federal databases may be checked with a National Instant Criminal Background Check System.

Private sources will conduct a complete criminal check for you, and can ensure you receive both local and federal records pertaining to your search subject. This search option will also save you time by searching multiple databases at once instead of requiring you to request them from each respective agency.

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Assault and Battery Charges

Assault and battery are common charges dealt with in criminal law, and distinguishing between the two is largely dependent upon the corresponding state's laws. However, there is one common factor that can elevate an assault charge to a battery charge, regardless of the surrounding circumstances. In general, assault charges may result when someone is threatened with bodily harm. This is very different than in the case of battery charges, which occur when actual physical harm has been caused. Distinguishing between the two can also mean that a suspect may face separate assault and battery charges, depending upon the crime alleged.

Factors Affecting Assault Charges and Sub-Types Used

Assault charges generally increase with the level of violence used in a crime. Each state maintains its own criminal code to define the types of assault offenses that can be committed, but in general an assault may be classified as aggravated and/or first, second or third degree. There are several factors that can determine this distinction. One may be the identity of the victim, the presence or use of a deadly weapon, and/or the type of harm intended or threatened.

When public officers such as policemen, firemen and judges are subject to assault, the charges are usually elevated. This is also true if the victim is a family member in some states. For example, threatening to hit someone may be assault, unless it is a police officer you are threatening—now the charges could be elevated to aggravated assault.

Using, threatening or showing a deadly weapon to the victim can also elevate the assault charges faced. This weapon may be a knife, gun or other object that can cause serious bodily injury.

Another factor that can affect the level of charges faced is the type of injury threatened. Threats of sexual harm, for example, are often considered more serious in nature. The same may be true in some states if the victim is threatened with being disfigured or disabled.

Battery Charges and Their Distinctions

Battery is often preceded by an assault, as battery is the actual act of harming or touching the victim in the threatened way. This means that suspects often face charges of both assault and battery. Furthermore, battery charges may be criminal or civil in nature. Criminal battery charges result when there is a criminal intent present to cause the harmful or offensive contact with the victim. Often, a defendant found guilty of criminal battery charges is then faced with a civil action by the victim.

First-offense battery charges are usually classified as misdemeanors, though repeat offenders will likely be elevated to a felony offense. Sexual battery or more violent offenses may also warrant felony charges. Domestic battery charges are rarely allowed to be dropped against a suspect, due to the high risk of repeat and escalated offenses in the future.

Aggravated battery charges are brought when an aggravating factor such as the use of a deadly weapon is added to a simple battery. This type of battery is usually a felony offense, and may also apply when public officers, elderly citizens or children are the victim of the crime. Other cases in which an aggravated battery may occur include when the battery occurs in a protected place such as a public transit station or school zone, or the victim suffers extensive and serious injury.

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Conducting a Criminal Background Check

Criminal background checks may be performed for a variety of reasons. Many times, a credit report is part of a criminal background check because it may contain information that raises red flags to the requester. Employers, landlords, and even individuals may desire a background check. When an employer performs a background check they have several legal obligations they must perform as well.

What You Should Do to Prepare for a Criminal Background Check

Court records should be checked, as they are not always updated correctly. For example, a felony may have been reduced to a misdemeanor, but the updated information may not be reflected in the record. The individual should obtain a certified copy of their report from the court.

Also check DMV records, especially if the job in question requires driving. A DUI or DWI is not a minor traffic offense.

An individual should perform a background check on themselves. This can be done by hiring a company that specializes in such reports. It may also be possible to request copies of previous background check reports.

Individuals preparing for the job market should also know that some information that is off the record may be obtained illegally by potential employers. Caution should also be taken around online blogs and websites, as they may leak unfavorable information to potential employers.

When an individual knows they will be going on the job market and may encounter employers requesting a background check, they should take steps to reduce the chance of being surprised by the information revealed.

The individual should order a copy of his or her credit report and examine it thoroughly. If it contains information that is not recognized or is wrong, it should be disputed with the creditor ahead of time. Also ensure that the correct name appears on the credit report, as a mistake or identity theft may be causing that name to appear on the file.

Employer Requested Background Checks

When an employer performs a background check they have a legal obligation to inform the individual in question. According to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) the employer must provide the applicant's signature authorizing the background check.

The document requesting the individual's written permission cannot contain anything except the notification. An employer must provide this notice and get the authorized signature of the individual before requesting the criminal background report.

If the employer decides to deny a job application, reassign or terminate employment, or deny a promotion—all “adverse actions”—they must contact the individual beforehand. They must provide the individual with a copy of the report and a copy of “A Summary of Your Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act.”

After the adverse action has been taken the employer must give the individual notice. Information on the specifics of what the notice must include can be found at FTC. More information on the FCRA may be found by visiting the web site.

Before a consumer reporting agency gives the individual's consumer report, the employer must be able to certify that they are in compliance with the FCRA and that they will not misuse any information in the report.

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The Third Degree: Police Interrogations and Miranda Rights

When someone says they are being given the “third degree,” they may not realize this expression originates from the standard practice of police interrogations and more commonly the mentally and physically tortuous methods used by police and admissible in court prior to the 20th century. When the police have a suspect in custody or ask that a person of interest come into the station for questioning, certain rules and rights now apply to these situations. Miranda Rights apply when someone is in police custody and an interrogation of any kind ensues. Following are these rights and how they affect what can be done when given the “third degree” by the police.

The Right to Remain Silent

An arrestee has the right to remain silent, and does not need to answer any questions presented by the police. This is because all things said by the arrestee may be presentable in court.

The Right to an Attorney

An arrested individual also has the right to an attorney, and if he or she cannot afford one, they may request that the state appoint one to represent them. The combination of these rights means that the 1966 Miranda case determined an arrested individual may decide to refuse to answer any questions, and demand an attorney before talking to the police.

Other Third Degree Interrogation Techniques

Since physical and mental torture is no longer allowed or practiced, many alternative psychological methods are now used by the police to attempt to sway the suspect or obtain a confession in regard to the crime in question. Some police may attempt a “good cop, bad cop” routine, or try scare tactics to obtain a needed confession. They may request a polygraph, or coerce a confession by telling the suspect such things as they already know they are guilty, the suspect risks going away for life, etc. This latter method is called “maximization.”

The Nine Steps

Many police departments now use the “Nine Steps” of manipulation, which were developed by John Reid. To begin, an interrogation room is designed to make the suspect as uncomfortable as possible. There are no wall hangings or decorations, and only three chairs and a desk exist.

The interrogation then begins with an initial interview, where simple facts about the suspect are discussed. This is done to establish a rapport and attempt building trust with the suspect; the police are also trying to determine his or her guilt during this time. Once the discussion turns to the crime, the following nine steps are used:

Regardless of the methods used by police to interrogate an individual, if he or she ever states they would like to exercise their Miranda Rights, the interrogation must end immediately. Unfortunately for most suspects, this is not what they will do. Many begin talking when the police use psychological methods of coercion, end in a signed and admissible confession before ever consulting with an attorney.

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Federal Assault Law and Penalties

Assault is defined differently by state statutes, but federal code provides a guideline for these classifications. Assault charges may be misdemeanors or felonies, and may also be classified as first, second or third degree offenses. Many times, assault law determines the level of penalties faced by a suspect according to whether it is a repeat offense or considered more violent due to the use or threat of use of a deadly weapon. Following is a discussion of assault law as outlined by U.S. Code, Title 18, Part I, Chapter 7, sections 111-117:

Section 111

This section of the U.S. code addresses assaults which impede specific officers or employees. It states that anyone who assaults or intimidates someone performing his or her official duties may be forced to pay fines and imprisoned for up to 1 year. If the assault is not a simple assault, the suspect may face fines and imprisonment of up to 8 years. The enhanced penalties are imposed if use of a deadly weapon is threatened, or bodily injury to the officer actually occurs. The maximum penalty for such an offense includes both fines and up to 20 years in jail.

Section 112

This section provides protection for foreign officials, official guests or internationally protected individuals. It states that assault takes place when a violent attack upon the above named individuals or their liberty takes place. These offenses, as well as attempting to attack these individuals' forms of transportation, official premises and/or private accommodations, faces fines and up to 3 years in prison under federal law. When the use of a weapon is added to these offenses, the jail time can increase to 10 years. In order to enforce this section, the Attorney General may also utilize local, state and federal agencies as needed.

Section 113

This section outlines punishments for assault committed within maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the U.S. When the assault is accompanied by intent to commit murder, the suspect faces up to 20 years in prison. Assault accompanied by intent to commit any felony other than murder carries a sentence of a fine and up to 10 years in prison. Assault with a dangerous weapon and intent to cause bodily injury carries a sentence of fines and up to 10 years in prison. Assault resulting from striking or beating someone under this title faces up to 6 months in prison, and simple assault results in fines and up to 6 months in prison.

Fines increase, as does imprisonment (up to 1 year), if the victim of the assault is not 16 years of age or older. If the assault results in serious bodily injury, a sentence of fines and/or up to 10 years of prison follows. Substantial bodily injury to a victim under the age of 16 results in fines and/or up to 5 years in prison; this section defines “substantial bodily injury” as one which causes temporary and substantial disfigurement, or loss or impairment of mental, organ or other bodily member function.

Section 114

This section concerns assault within the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the U.S. with intent to torture, maim, disfigure, cut, bite, slit the nose, ear or lip, or cut out the tongue, put out or destroy the eye, or cut off or disable the limb of a person. It also covers assault within this territory involving throwing scalding water, corrosive acid or other caustic substance. These offenses carry a sentence of fines and/or up to 20 years in prison.

Section 115

This section regards assaults against federal officials or their family members. Anyone found guilty of assaulting, kidnapping, murdering or attempting to do these things to an immediate family member of a federal law enforcement officer or the officer himself, a federal judge or other federal official or designated person, faces a sentence of fines and/or up to 10 years in prison for the actual assault, and up to 6 years in prison for a threatened assault.

Section 116

This section addresses the act of female genital mutilation, which results in a sentence of up to 5 years in prison if the victim is less than 18 years of age. However, if this act is surgically necessary the surgeon does not face scrutiny under federal law.

Section 117

This section relates to anyone committing a domestic assault in the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the U.S. or Indian country after 2 prior convictions in the federal, state or Indian tribal courts. When this repeat offense falls under federal jurisdiction, it carries a sentence of up to 5 years. If substantial bodily injury occurs, this increases to up to 10 years in prison. The federal government considers “domestic assault” to include an attack by a former spouse, parent, child, guardian, a person with whom the victim shares a child in common, or someone who is cohabitating or has cohabitated with the victim as any of the above.

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Assault Charges Defined

Assault charges ensue after a suspect intentionally attempts or threatens to inflict injury to a victim. In addition, the apparent ability to carry out the assault must be present. However, actual contact between the victim and suspect does not need to occur for charges to be filed.

Similar to assault charges, battery charges include offensive or harmful physical contact with the victim. However, some states do not differentiate between the two. Assault charges may be considered first, second or third degree in nature, as well as either felony or misdemeanor. The corresponding state's prosecution team will determine the classification of an assault charge depending upon circumstances and evidence against the suspect, as well as his prior criminal charges and history.

Types of Assault

Aggravated assault occurs when a suspect attempts to or successfully causes severe injury with or without a deadly weapon. Sometimes, assault charges may also be elevated to aggravated assault if the attempt was made on a family member or public officer of some kind. The difference between an assault versus an aggravated assault charge includes that using a deadly weapon usually automatically increases the potential and actual sentence against a convicted offender.

First degree assault charges are the most serious, and involve causing bodily injury, disfiguring or disabling a person purposefully, risking the other person's death and/or intentionally risking or causing bodily injury to a public officer. Higher fines and longer prison sentences often follow a conviction of first degree assault, though these limits change on a state-by-state basis. Common defenses to first degree assault charges include heat of passion, defense of another and imperfect self-defense, which will result in the charge being dropped if it is proven.

Second degree assault charges are often brought against someone when bodily harm or intended bodily harm is caused while using a deadly weapon. Some states may use this charge in response to someone recklessly causing serious injury with a weapon. Other unique instances of second degree assault charges include when someone is given a drug without his consent. States may also use this charge when a public officer is threatened or actually injured on the job by a suspect. Common defenses to this charge include self-defense, imperfect self-defense, provocation by the victim and defense of another. Penalties may vary from 1 to 10 years in prison and fines up to $ 20,000, which vary according to state laws.

Third degree assault charges are classified as a misdemeanor offense, and defined as purposefully causing injury or pain to another person. Though this is the least serious assault charge, some states employ a fourth degree assault classification as well. Negligence or recklessness leading to the injury or pain of a victim may also be included in a state's definition of third degree assault. Common defenses against this charge include self-defense, defense of another, or provocation. Penalties include jail time of up to 5 years and more, and fines of up to $ 10,000.

Each state varies according to the types of assault charges it employs and how it defines them, as well as the level and expanse of penalties employed to punish convicted parties of this offense.

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Aggravated Assault: Charges and Sentencing

Aggravated assault, according to the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program, is defined as “an unlawful attack by one person upon another for the purpose of inflicting severe or aggravated bodily injury.” Unlike battery, actual injury does not need to occur for an attack to be classified as aggravated assault. Often, this type of assault is also accompanied by the use of a weapon or some other method which would reasonable cause death or significant bodily harm. Slightly different is the charge of attempted aggravated assault, which occurs when the suspect displays such a weapon and significant harm to the victim would have occurred should the attack have taken place. In addition, if a charge of aggravated assault accompanies larceny theft, it will be categorized as a robbery.

Simple Assaults

Unlike aggravated assault, a simple assault results when the use of a weapon such as a firearm or knife is not present, and the victim does not experience significant injuries. According to the FBI, more than 862,000 aggravated assaults occurred in the U.S. in 2005. 21% of these involved use of a firearm, and 25% involved physical confrontation.

Classification

Whether a case of aggravated assault is classified as a felony or misdemeanor depends upon local and state laws, the type of weapon/s used, and injuries inflicted upon the victim.

Penalties

Penalties, just as classification of aggravated assault, vary from state to state. However, they may include a range of penalties from jail time, probation and electronic monitoring, parole, the loss of the right to possess a weapon, mandatory anger management classes, restitution to the victim, and fines and court costs.

State-Specific Information

Following is information regarding some penalties for aggravated assault on a state-by-state basis:

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Armed Robbery: Charges and Sentencing

Armed robbery is one type of robbery charge that includes the use of a weapon while attempting to or successfully taking something forcefully from a victim. Any robbery charge differs from that of theft because robbery involves violence and intimidation. Sometimes, a suspect may be charged with armed robbery even if he only presents something that looks like a weapon (i.e. a toy gun) to give the impression of willingness to cause harm; it may also result if a real weapon is presented but it is unloaded.

Armed robbery is considered a violent crime and classified as a felony in many states. Penalties also vary according the state that brings the charges, but the average minimum jail time for an armed robbery conviction is 4 years. No matter where you are located, it is possible to serve a life sentence for armed robbery.

Types of Armed Robberies

An armed robbery may be classified as a “handheld” armed robbery if the suspect used a fake gun or violence to rob the victim, used a taser or stun gun, or any other object that could be considered a weapon. Further classifications of armed robberies include civilian robberies, store robberies and bank robberies.

Armed Robbery Penalties

Regardless of whether a state considers an armed robbery charge to be a felony, potential penalties for the crime include jail time of up to 15 years, up to $ 20,000 in fines and less commonly probation or electronic monitoring. Due to the fact that armed robbery regards crimes that are potentially deadly, even first-time offenders often face stiff penalties.

Examples of some state penalties regarding armed robbery include:

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The Accident Report and Hit and Run Laws

Each time an accident occurs, a police report is created and filed with the local law enforcement agency. Anyone involved in the accident will receive a copy of the accident report, or it may be requested for insurance purposes. Some localities may require that you appear in person and provide identification in order to obtain this copy.

Information in an Accident Report

Information contained in the accident report can be very important if any injuries were sustained during the accident. Even informal personal injury negotiations with an insurance company need to be accompanied by these reports. Various details about the circumstances surrounding the accident such as the time, date, location and even weather conditions are included in the accident report.

The responding officer will also include a preliminary assessment of which party was at fault. This is often due to violations of state or local statutes, such as running a red light. If a witness states that he saw one of the vehicles doing this, the officer may deduce that this action caused the incident and thus created fault on that driver's behalf.

In addition to the identities, insurance and vehicle information of each driver involved in the accident, identifying information about any witnesses present is also included in the accident report. This allows the drivers, their attorneys and insurance companies to contact them as needed. Any statement given by the witnesses at the scene is also recorded on the report for future reference.

Hit and Run Laws

Drivers involved in any type of motor vehicle accident that caused damage to property, other individuals or even caused someone's death must follow prescribed procedures. The driver must first stop the vehicle and exchange insurance and contact information with any other drivers involved in the accident. If the property damaged is unattended, the driver must make a reasonable attempt to locate the owner of that property or stationary vehicle. These attempts can include recording the license number of the stationary vehicle and/or leaving a note with identifying and contact information of the driver.

Incidents resulting in injuries should be reported immediately and the drivers involved should contact emergency services as soon as possible. When a driver fails to contact local law enforcement about an accident and fulfilling these requirements, the least that may happen is he will be issued a traffic ticket. Criminal charges of hit and run will follow if damage to property occurs, and felony hit and run charges can be filed against a driver causing injury or death and subsequently leaving the scene of the accident. Following is a list of state-specific laws outlining accident reporting guidelines and hit and run classifications and penalties:

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