Simple versus aggravated assault: The differences matter

It's never a good feeling to find out you're being charged with a crime that you didn't commit. Or, perhaps you're being charged with a crime that is much more extreme than what the situation calls for. It's important that you have the chance to defend yourself. You are not obligated to do anything that incriminates you. That means you don't need to admit to doing anything wrong, plead guilty or even speak during a trial if it could solidify your guilt.

One thing that sometimes happens is that someone involved in a fight or altercation is charged with assault. Then, that charge is raised. It becomes aggravated assault, which is a much more serious offense.

Aggravated assault is more serious because they typical become felonies instead of misdemeanors, like many simple assaults are. Why would a simple assault charge be raised to aggravated assault? It's possible if a weapon was used or present at the scene. Even if you did not use a weapon, having it present makes it possible to have this charge raised a degree.

Sometimes, a simple assault is raised because of the victim's profession. For instance, if you get into a fight with a police officer, then the charge may be raised. The same is true for teachers or firefighters.

Of course, another way to determine if the charge is aggravated or simple is by looking at the severity of a person's injuries. Serious injuries often result in aggravated assault charges.

Fortunately, you have a right to defend yourself, and your attorney can help you work toward a different charge or having the case dismissed if it is based on false allegations.

Source: FindLaw, "Aggravated Assault," accessed March 09, 2017

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