Hearing stories about people who are facing criminal charges for assault can bring up many questions. One question that might come up pertains to the difference between simple assault and aggravated assault. While both of these charges have the same basis, aggravated assault is a more serious crime because there are certain elements that allegedly occurred at the time of the incident.
One of the main differences between simple assault and aggravated assault is that simple assault is a misdemeanor and aggravated assault is a felony. This means that each charge has a different set of consequences, so it is vital that you learn the possibilities based on your specific case.
There are a few factors that can lead to an alleged assault being classified as aggravated assault. If there is a weapon involved, such as a gun, knife or anything that could be considered a deadly weapon, the charge will likely be upgraded to aggravated assault. Your intent and the method in which the weapon is used have an impact on whether a charge is upgraded to aggravated assault.
Two points about the alleged victim are also considered. One point is the extent of the injuries, meaning more serious injuries are likely to net a more serious charge. The second point is the identity of the victim. One example of the identity affecting the charge is if the victim is a law enforcement officer who is on duty.
Being accused of aggravated assault is very serious. You have the right to present a defense against the charges. Learning your rights as soon as possible can help you determine ways to protect those rights.
Source: FindLaw, "Aggravated Assault," accessed April. 23, 2015