If you’ve been charged with assault, we will discuss the specifics in a second.
First, for the benefit of those who don’t yet know the charges which they or the person they’re inquiring on behalf of, face, let’s define what assault is, relative to two other similar charges – battery and aggravated assault.
Difference between Assault, Battery and Aggravated Assault
As is the case with robbery, both battery and aggravated assault fall under the rubric of violent felonies.
In essence, battery and assault are defined as one person meaning to do harm to another. So whether the attack occurred or was merely intended, the crime was committed.
A battery or simple assault charge can be upstepped if the weapon used (if there was one) is judged to be dangerous, and/or if the attack was very grave.
If Two People Are Fighting Each Other, Is This Assault?
In certain states, even when two people have come to a mutual decision to physically fight each other, yes, it can result in an assault charge.
But Simple Assault Isn’t Really A Very Serious Charge, Is It?
Most states have different sets of assault rules for the various degrees of assault.
Simple assault is usually a misdemeanor and there are other, more serious assaults, which are felonies.
What’s The Penalty in Georgia for Simple Assault?
In the state of Georgia, for simple assault– a misdemeanor–you face up to one year in prison and up to $1,000 in fines.
What about the Penalty in New York?
Simple assault is considered a Class A misdemeanor In New York. You would probably be sentenced to a maximum of one year of incarceration and/or probation of up to three years.
Additionally, a fine of $1,000 may be imposed.
Is a Charge of Aggravated Assault Very Serious?
If charged as a felony, there are degrees of assault which are deemed to be one of the most violent felonies on the books in some states.
For instance, if a state decrees that an assault should be charged as Assault in the First Degree, it is commonly a Class B violent felony. To give you an idea of how grave that is, you’ll recall that a Class A violent felony is as serious a charge as the courts can hand down.
If, indeed, the charge is that of Assault in the First Degree, even if the person who committed the crime has no prior criminal history, the minimum of some states is somewhere around five years and the maximum is around 25 years.
What’s Assault and Battery?
In the old days, the two charges were dealt with separately. It actually meant that a victim had to be “battered” or touched in such a manner that the physical harm would be considered a full assault. However, most statutes are not set up that way any longer, with assault and battery going hand in hand.
I’m Not Clear – What Is the Difference Between Simple and Aggravated Assault? Don’t They Both Involve Injury?
Yes, they both involve the attempt or threat of injury, but aggravated assault connotes that the seriousness or danger to the victim in the situation is deemed to have been greater.
For instance, aggravated assault may take place when a perpetrator actually follows through on the intent of doing serious physical harm and/or has a weapon. (Note: a weapon can be a piece of furniture; it all depends on the intent behind the blow.)
There are some states which actually classify crimes commuted with a weapon as “assault with a deadly weapon.”
Special Court-Protected Cases – Finally, there are a few relationships which the courts seek to monitor, as these relationships are deemed to deserve particular and special attention.
As two examples, in the case of the elderly, or those persons who are thought to have a mental incapacity, there may be unfortunate instances where caregivers of these persons take advantage of the victims’ vulnerable state.
Generally, excluding the above, all cases would be termed misdemeanors in many states.
If Someone Has Verbally Abused Me, Can I Report It As an Assault?
In most cases, no. The reason is that, in general, the courts are cognizant of the fact that, when angered, or during an altercation, persons may utter words which are not meant. Too, the courts maintain that, if a threat is issued in this emotional state, the threat will, in all likelihood, not be carried out.
However, as with any law, exceptions exist. There are cases on the books where a threat is deemed serious enough to be considered criminal, as is the case with “criminal threats”.
Each state has different parameters but, ordinarily, the threat would have to be specific and credible.
Slander and Defamation
Slander and libel are not criminal threats, but they are a category unto themselves, and, in many cases, are prohibited or restricted. Too, many states have criminal defamation laws on the books.