Penalties for Aggravated Assault
What are the penalties for aggravated assault?
An assault is known as any attack done from one person to another with the intent to cause harm to the other person, or any threats to do so. However, the exact definitions of assault may differ from state to state. Depending on the state, there are a few different actions that someone can take that will get them charged with assault.
What warrants an assault charge?
The first action is making physical contact with another person with the intent to hurt them. Some states include the battery as a form of assault. The battery is attacking someone with an object or weapon. Therefore, depending on your state, an assault can be punching someone or hitting them with an object.
When a person fails to assault someone, it is known as attempted assault. An individual who attempts to physically harm someone, or acts in a manner that makes them fear for their safety, they may be charged with assault even though they never touched the other person. An example of attempted assault would be if someone swung a bat at another person’s head but missed.
In some states, merely threatening to hurt another person can be considered assault. Verbal threats are often not enough to get someone charged with assault. However, verbal threats as well a menacing or threatening action are often sufficient to get an assault charge.
The two different types of assault
Assault is classified in two distinct ways. Attacks that involve small insignificant injuries, or minimal threat to a victim, are classified as simple assaults. A simple assault is a misdemeanor, and the punishments are often a fine and jail time of up to a year.
Assaults of a more serious nature are referred to as aggravated assaults. Aggravated assaults are when the victim of the assault receives an injury that lasts longer than a sting. Examples of aggravated assault include:
- Hitting or threatening someone with an object
- Shooting someone or pointing a gun at them
- Assault did with the intention of committing an additional felony such as robbery
- Assaults that result in a long-lasting injury for the victim
- Assault or a threat of violence under a concealed identity
- An attack on a police officer, or other protected class
How does the victim’s fear have an effect on penalties?
Two of the three manners in which someone is charged with assault do not involve any physical violence. In these circumstances, making a victim fear for their safety is considered an assault. However, the victim’s fear must be genuine and reasonable for the assault charge to stand in court.
Ways to defend yourself from an assault charge
Before a defendant can be accused of aggravated assault in Columbia SC, the prosecutor must first prove every element of the crime. These elements must be proven beyond reasonable doubt and include the assault itself as well as the reason the assault is considered aggravated. With that requirement in mind, a defendant charged with aggravated assault has a few options to choose from when deciding their defense.
A defendant can claim that the assault the occurred happened because they were defending themselves, or a loved on. To prove self-defense, a defendant must first demonstrate that the victim is not as innocent as they seem. A few ways they can show that the victim was holding the weapon first, the victim threatened the defendant, or the victim made contact with the accused first.
A defendant charged with aggravated assault may also attempt to show that the attack was an accident. An assault implies intent, so proving that the accused did not purposefully hurt the victim may at least lower the charges.
The last option open to a respondent is to claim insanity. Claiming insanity relies on proving the defendant was not in control of his or her actions when the assault took place, or that the accused does not have the capacity to control themselves or to understand what Is lawful.
Before a judge passes down their sentence, they will take several parts of the trial into consideration. Some things they may consider are:
- Does the defendant show remorse for the crime and have they assumed the responsibility for their actions?
- What were the circumstances of the crime?
- How severely was the victim injured?
- If the defendant used a weapon, what type of weapon was it?
- What is already on the accused’s criminal record?
- Do the victim and the defendant know each other?
Possible penalties for aggravated assault
Aggravated assault is a felony, and the punishment for it can be as long as twenty years in prison. The judge may have some discretion about the length of the sentence, and may even allow the defendant to serve some of their sentence on probation. A criminal defense attorney in Columbia can help to lessen the penalties for aggravated assault.