While emotions can sometimes get the best of us, when it comes to assault charges, there are various factors that could elevate this criminal charge. No matter the cause or intent of the matter, when an individual in New York or elsewhere faces allegations of aggravated assault, this is likely to mean harsher penalties and consequences for this violent crime. Because an elevated charge could greatly impact a defendant, it is imperative that they understand how an assault charge is raised to this offense as well as defense options available.
Aggravated assault involves an assault that is so serious that it raises the severity of the punishments for the accused. While many factors could raise an assault to an aggravated assault, most states define this as an assault with a deadly or dangerous weapon. Often times, aggravated assaults qualify as felonies; however, they can also be classified as misdemeanors.
The use of a deadly weapon during the commission of an assault, and this determination applies whether or not the weapon involved causes another physical injury or not. Because basic assault does not require physical harm to occur but rather the intention to put a person in reasonable fear of his or her safety, and aggravated assault can do the same. For example, an individual could use a gun or knife to threaten and instill fear in a victim.
When it comes to assault, basic or aggravated, the intent to cause severe harm or the fear of severe harm must be present. If intention cannot be proven, it might be possible to reduce or dismiss the charges. Additionally, if there are not factors to raise a charge to an aggravated assault, a defendant could initiate a defense to reduce them to a basic assault charge. This could help the accused reduce the penalties they could face.
When faced with criminal charges, it can be difficult to navigate the matter. Those facing criminal allegations should take the time to consider their rights and the defense options available to them.
Source: Findlaw.com, “Aggravated Assault,” accessed Jan. 15, 2017