Defining what constitutes aggravated assault

A slap across the face or a punch in the nose happens all the time and are classic examples of simple assault.  In some instances, just the threat of physical harm is enough to constitute assault.

However, when an assault turns more violent, either through the use of weapons or through the intent of the perpetrator, than simple assault can be raised to aggravated assault.  In most all cases, aggravated assaults are considered felonies.

Using a deadly weapon during an assault is considered aggravated assault.  The weapon does not actually need to be used for the charge to apply.  Simply threatening a person with the use of a weapon means that the injuries would be more serious than without the weapon.

Determining the mental state of the perpetrator can also result in an upgrade to an aggravated assault charge.  If the intent of the perpetrator can be proven, that they wanted to cause severe harm or that they acted with reckless indifference toward human life, a charge of aggravated assault can be applied.

Some states also raise the level of assault automatically to aggravated assault if certain classes of victims are involved.  Typically, this will include, fire and police officers, paramedics, doctors and nurses, and in some cases, teachers.

Assaults based on race, ethnicity, national origin, religion or sexual orientation of a victim may qualify as a protected class, resulting in not only aggravated assault charges being filed but hate crime charges being filed as well.

There are also degrees of aggravated assault.

First degree aggravated assault occurs when there is adeliberateand premeditated malice.

Second degree aggravated assault takes place when there is no deliberate or premeditated planning.

Third and fourth degree aggravated assault are lesser charges where significant bodily harm may be committed, but does not rise to the standard of serious bodily harm.  This may take place during serious fist fights and similar events.

Because penalties from an aggravated assault charge can be quite serious, it’s best to consult with a lawyer as soon as possible if you are facing this kind of a situation.

Dwane Cates Law Group proudly serves the cities of Phoenix, Scottsdale, Glendale, Tempe, Mesa and surrounding Arizona communities.