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Assault Charges: 6 Types Explained with Examples

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C.L. Mike Schmidt Published by C.L. Mike Schmidt

Schmidt & Clark, LLP is not currently accepting these types of cases and has posted this content for information purposes only. We encourage you to seek a qualified attorney, if you feel you might have a case.

Whether you are the accused or someone close to them, it's important to understand the different types of assault charges and their possible consequences.

With over a decade of experience as an attorney, I can provide you with valuable information on the various assault charges, the penalties they carry, and any possible defenses that can be used by those who are facing such charges.

Quick Summary

  • Assault charges can vary depending on the jurisdiction and circumstances but generally include simple assault, aggravated assault, sexual assault, assault with a deadly weapon, vehicular assault, and felony assault.
  • Common assault charges range from misdemeanors to felonies, including domestic violence cases.
  • Assault charges vary in severity and can carry serious consequences.

6 Common Assault Charges

a man touching a person buttAssault can take many forms, but there are six common types of assault charges that most people are likely to encounter: 

  • Simple assault
  • Aggravated assault
  • Assault with a deadly weapon
  • Sexual assault
  • Vehicular assault
  • Felony assault 

While these charges can vary in severity, they all involve intentionally instilling fear or causing offensive contact in another person.

Assault charges can vary from misdemeanors to felonies, including domestic violence cases.

Simple Assault

Simple assault is the least severe type of assault crime. It is also known as a Class C misdemeanor assault. It is usually charged as a misdemeanor assault [1]. It involves deliberately or recklessly causing physical harm to another individual or creating a reasonable apprehension of harm.

Examples of simple assault include hitting, pushing, or shoving another person and a threat of physical contact.

In some jurisdictions, simple assault may be classified as a Class C misdemeanor assault, with potential fines of up to $500. In certain cases, such as domestic violence, a misdemeanor assault or battery conviction may lead to the forfeiture of gun rights.

Also Read: Assault in CA: Time Limits to Report

Aggravated Assault

a woman holding a stool to hit a manAggravated assault is a more serious form of assault involving using a deadly weapon or causing physical harm and serious bodily injury to the victim [2].

Committing aggravated assault involves:

  1. Assault another person, and
  2. Do so under certain aggravating factors.

Aggravated assault can involve different types of harm to the victim, such as bodily harm and serious bodily harm, as well as threats of disfigurement or impairment. Additionally, assault on a public servant or a minor may have more severe legal consequences.

An aggravated assault charge can result in severe penalties, such as a maximum of one-year imprisonment and fines of $4,000. Aggravating factors in aggravated assault charges may include assaulting a police officer or a person's spouse, causing serious injury, or using a deadly weapon.

"Most adults are familiar with this type of assault and understand the signs. When an aggravated assault occurs, it tends to be quite obvious as the victim's injuries might be extreme."
-Attorney Shazam Kianpour, Denver Criminal Defense at Shazam Kianpour & Associates, P.C.

Assault With A Deadly Weapon

Assault with a deadly weapon is a specific type of aggravated assault involving the intentional infliction of fear or offensive contact by using an object that could potentially cause death. Examples of deadly weapons include firearms, knives, and even everyday things like baseball bats or hammers, depending on how they are used during the assault.

It is typically the responsibility of a judge or jury to assess all of the facts in a case and determine if an item qualifies as a deadly weapon. The consequences of being convicted of assault with a deadly weapon can be severe, making it crucial to enlist the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney if you find yourself facing these charges.

Sexual Assault

Sexual assault is defined as non-consensual sexual contact with another person [3]. In certain states, sexual assault is categorized as the same criminal act as rape, while in other states, they are differentiated.

Vehicular Assault

a man pointing a gun outside the carVehicular assault is a criminal offense in which a person recklessly operates a vehicle and causes substantial bodily harm to another [4].

This type of assault is classified as a Class B felony in some jurisdictions, like Washington state, and may result in a minimum sentence of 3-9 months.

Certain states have a specific crime called vehicular assault.

This means that to commit this crime, you would need to:

  • operate or drive a motor vehicle
  • do so in a reckless manner
  • cause serious bodily harm to another personal injury

Felony Assault

Felony assault is a form of assault that incurs felony charges.

An assault is considered a felony when the victim is a public servant, such as a police officer, or the injuries sustained are severe.

The consequences of felony assault may include incarceration, probation, and monetary penalties.

If the assault is against a protected class, such as a public servant, the penalties can be even more severe, including incarceration of up to 10 years and a fine of $10,000.

Read Also: Assault With a Deadly Weapon

Potential Defenses For Assault Charges

When facing assault charges, it's essential to build a strong defense strategy tailored to the specific circumstances of your case. a photo of judge and a the suspect

The most prevalent strategies for defending against assault charges include self-defense, defense of others, defense of property, consent, lack of mental state, necessity, and duress.

These strategies may be more or less effective depending on the case facts, the type of assault charge, and the laws in your jurisdiction.

An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you determine the best defense strategy for your case by carefully reviewing the evidence, identifying weaknesses in the prosecution's case, and presenting a compelling argument on your behalf.

They can also assist with plea negotiations, particularly in cases involving misdemeanor assault or battery charges and domestic violence, where the potential forfeiture of firearm privileges may be a concern.

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What Is The Lowest Form Of Assault Charge?

The lowest form of assault charge is simple assault, which is generally a misdemeanor. Simple assault involves intentionally or recklessly causing physical harm to another person or creating a reasonable apprehension of harm.

Is Assault A Felony?

Yes, assault is a felony. This type of offense involves intentional acts that cause harm or fear of harm to another person, and the penalties for this type of crime can be quite severe. Depending on the facts of the case, it may result in long prison sentences and high fines.

What Are The Parts Of Assault?

The parts of assault are an intentional act, reasonable apprehension of imminent harmful or offensive contact, and attempted battery. This means that for an act to be considered assault, the accused must have intended to cause fear or offensive contact, the victim must have reasonably believed that they were in immediate danger of being harmed, and there must have been an attempt to make physical contact with the victim.

Contact A Personal Attorney Today

If you or someone you know is facing assault charges, it is crucial to seek legal advice as soon as possible. An experienced attorney can help you understand your rights, the potential penalties you may face, and the defenses available to you. They can also guide you through the legal system and provide valuable support during this challenging time.

Don't wait to get the help you need – contact the skilled criminal defense attorneys at Schmidt & Clark, LLP today to discuss your case and begin building a strong defense strategy. The sooner you take action, the better your chances of achieving a favorable outcome in your case and protecting your future.