What Is Aggravated Assault?

An individual who is accused of intentionally threatening another with physical harm "in a convincing way," may face criminal assault charges. In cases where an assault situation is deemed to be more serious in nature, felony charges of aggravated assault may follow. As with all felonies, the penalties are much harsher than for misdemeanor assault charges and may include fines and time spent in prison.

When determining whether to charge an individual with assault or aggravated assault, several factors must be considered. For example, aggravated assault charges may result in cases where some sort of weapon is used to make physical threats against another individual. While a gun is the most traditional type of weapon involved in aggravated assault cases, depending on the situation, other items including a baseball bat or golf club may also be considered weapons.

In addition to the use of a weapon, the types of injuries that result from an assault can also impact whether or not felony aggravated assault charges follow. For example, injuries that result in a permanent disability such as those that may stem from a traumatic brain injury suffered from a blow to the head, would likely be considered grounds for bringing more serious felony charges.

The identity of the individual against whom the assault is carried out can also impact whether misdemeanor or felony charges are pursued. This includes assaults carried out against individuals, like an on-duty police officer, who are considered public servants and also assaults purposefully carried out against individuals based solely upon their race, religion or sexual orientation.

Source: FindLaw.com, "Aggravated Assault," 2015

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