While the act of assault is serious enough, assaulting a person who is considered a public official can significantly enhance the penalties in the event of a conviction. Even when the assault victim is not a public official, if convicted the penalties can include fines and court costs, time spent in jail, the loss of the right to own a gun, mandatory anger management classes, probation including electronic monitoring and restitution to the victim. As you can see, the stakes in charges of assault are high. Simple assault may be charged in a variety of ways, depending upon the mitigating circumstances. Generally speaking, if a person attempts to cause bodily harm to another, if bodily injury is negligent and includes a deadly weapon, or if a threat is made against another which puts them in fear of bodily harm, then simple assault is charged.
Assault May Be Charged When Injury Does Not Occur
Remember, lasting injuries are not necessary for assault to be charged. If the incident causes even temporary pain or discomfort, includes any unwanted or offensive physical contact or a credible threat, then assault may be charged. This means that shoving another person out of your way—no matter the reason—or even threatening to harm another person can land you in serious hot water. Some of the factors which will influence the assault charges and subsequent penalties include the specific circumstances of your crime, where the assault took place, whether bodily injury occurred, whether the assaulted person was a minor or on school property, any prior history of convictions, whether the victim was a public official and, of course, on the skill and experience of your criminal defense attorney.
Charges of aggravated assault are much more serious than those of simple assault. If your assault was against a public official including: police officer, security guard, fireman, judge or teacher then aggravating circumstances apply. The result can be a penalty which is enhanced to include a minimum sentence of ninety days in jail. You may find that it takes much less to get yourself charged with assault and battery on a public official than on anyone else. Aggravated assault may also be charged when the assault was against a family member, serious bodily injury occurred, a deadly weapon was used, you threatened another person with a gun or the assault occurred as you attempted to elude arrest or while resisting arrest.
What is Serious Bodily Injury?
Serious bodily injury may be defined as any injury which creates the risk of death or causes permanent disfigurement. Short-term loss of the function of any body part, organ or any of the five senses is also considered serious bodily injury. The wording of your charges can be critical: Recklessly causing injury with a deadly weapon may be charged as a fourth degree felony bringing up to a year and a half in prison, while purposely causing injury with a deadly weapon can be charged as a third degree felony, bringing up to five years in prison. Should you have shown extreme indifference to human life, your assault may be charged as a second degree felony, bringing up to ten years in prison.
If you have been charged with assault, take these charges very seriously and hire a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible following your charges. Don’t speak to the police without your attorney present—your right to remain silent is an important one that you should respect. Your criminal defense attorney will assess all the facts of your case and determine the best option for your future.