Government and Law

What is Aggravated Assault?

Aggravated assault refers to the attempt to cause actual bodily harm to someone without regard for their life. The factors considered when accounting for an aggravated assault charge include the status of the assault’s victim, using a deadly weapon, degree of injury resulting from the action, and the perpetrator’s intentions, such as intentions to murder or rape.  

 Aggravated assault charges are serious charges, and they carry both state and federal charges. Most states recognize the charge as a felony that is punishable by serving a prison sentence, fines, restitution, community service, and counseling. Other states have different standards for defining the charges, ranging from misdemeanors to felonies, depending on the intent and impact of the aggravated assault. However, these charges can leave a long-lasting criminal record on the individual, especially when they fail to involve a lawyer specialized in aggravated assault cases. 

What are Some Actions That Can Lead to An Aggravated Assault Charge?

Some actions can lead to someone being charged with aggravated assault. Some of these actions include:

Assault with a Deadly Weapon

Using a deadly weapon during an assault counts as an aggravated assault. In a basic assault, the perpetrator is charged regardless of whether they caused physical harm to the victim. The charges stick regardless of whether the weapon results in physical harm or injury to the victim. It can simply be a result of certain behavior that threatens the safety of the victim.

When the perpetrator engages in such an activity threatening the victim’s safety while using a deadly weapon, it automatically qualifies as an aggravated assault. The fear resulting from the perpetrator’s behavior threatens the victim, leading to fear of grievous harm. 

The weapons, in this case, are weapons that can result in serious injury or death, such as guns. Other weapons can be included depending on how the perpetrator used or handled them during the assault. Here, we could use a pocket knife. Normally, a pocket knife is not deemed a lethal weapon. However, if, during the assault, it helped the assault victim’s vital organs helps such as the neck, it is deemed deadly. Such an offense automatically qualifies as an aggravated assault.

Victim’s Identity

At times, the victim’s identity of an assault can result in the assault being deemed aggravated. Many states recognize an assault on a firefighter, police officer, and in some cases, teachers, as an aggravated assault. However, this typically applies if the victim was in their line of duty when the assault happened, and the perpetrator knows the victim’s status. 

It is worth noting that during the trial, the assault of certain professionals may include hate crime charges. It can be based on race, nationality (originating from another country), ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability, or religion.

Degree of Injury

An aggravated assault charge can be brought forth depending on the degree of injuries caused by the assault. The majority of assaults resulting in bodily harm are charged as aggravated assault cases. Although the degree of injuries varies from case to case, any injuries that pose a threat to the victim’s life or those that disfigure or maim the victim automatically qualify to be an aggravated assault. Different states have different methods of defining the degree of injury. In some states, life-threatening injuries might qualify for attempted homicide. Besides, sexual assaults may also qualify as aggravated assault, depending on the state. 

Final Thoughts

Aggravated assault charges are serious charges that involve actions that lead to actual bodily harm with disregard to human life. In some instances, using deadly weapons qualifies as an aggravated assault depending on how the weapon was used. It is important to seek the services of a qualified criminal lawyer to help you determine the extent of the charge or get some help with the case.