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What is the difference between a simple and aggravated assault?

What is the difference between a simple and aggravated assault?

Posted By Kenneth Krebs || 25-Oct-2014

On behalf of Kenneth Krebs of Law Offices of Karlstrom & Krebs posted in Violent Crimes on Saturday, October 25, 2014.

When facing criminal charges, it's important to understand what those charges are as well as the penalties that may result from a conviction. In many cases, the criminal charges brought against an individual are based upon intent and the degree of harm inflicted. Consequently, there are often significant differences in the degree of seriousness of criminal charges as well as the associated penalties.

Take, for example, a criminal charge of assault versus aggravated assault. Under California's Penal Code, an assault is defined as an "unlawful attempt to cause a violent injury." In cases involving criminal charges of assault, even if no harm or injury actually occurs, an individual's intent to inflict injury may be sufficient to file the charge. However, in these types of cases, the assault charge would most likely be considered a misdemeanor.

Criminal charges of aggravated assault are classified as felonies and are therefore more serious in nature. In cases where an individual faces charges of aggravated assault, the degree of injury inflicted and the intent of the accused are taken into consideration. For example, if two individuals are involved in a bar fight and one suffers permanent brain damage after being punched and falling to the ground, the prosecution is likely to file charges of aggravated assault.

However, there are cases where charges of aggravated assault are filed even when no one is physically injured. In cases involving a handgun or other deadly weapon, an individual will face aggravated assault charges even if the weapon wasn’t fired or used to physically harm anyone.

Individuals in Alameda County who are facing assault or aggravated assault charges would be wise to discuss their case with an attorney. A criminal conviction of any kind can adversely impact an individual's life in many ways. However, the penalties associated with a felony conviction are much harsher and often result in a prison sentence. A criminal defense attorney may be able to assist in getting criminal charges related to assault dismissed or reduced to misdemeanor charges.

Source: FindLaw.com, "Aggravated Assault," 2014

FindLaw.com, "California Assault and Battery Laws," 2014

Categories: Violent Crimes