Attorney DeBruin represents clients from across lower Michigan.

Attorney DeBruin represents clients from across lower michigan.

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How types of assault – simple, aggravated and felonious – differ

On Behalf of | Jul 4, 2024 | Criminal Defense

In Michigan, facing criminal charges will cause a person worry and fear about what the future holds. There are a seemingly endless number of ways in which a person can find themselves under arrest. One that happens frequently and unexpectedly is assault.

While people might have a vague notion of what it means to be accused of assault, they are frequently unaware that there are levels of assault that will play a large role in the charges themselves, the potential penalties, what avenues are available to fight to charges and how to reach a positive result with limited damage to their life and reputation. Knowing the difference between simple assault, aggravated assault and felonious assault is crucial to a defense.

Recognize the different levels of assault

The circumstances of the incident in which an assault allegedly occurred will dictate the level of charges. If a person tries to cause a physical injury to another, it can be categorized as assault.  According to the law, simple assault is either causing the injury or willfully committing an act that would reasonably be expected to injure the other person.

While these incidents commonly occur while a person is committing other crimes such as theft, they can occur during what appeared to be an innocuous dispute that escalated. That means it can happen to anyone. Perhaps two college students get into a disagreement during a pickup basketball game and it leads to a fistfight. One or both could be charged with simple assault. Those who have no criminal past could face charges they never expected in these incidents.

Those charged with simple assault are likely to be charged with a misdemeanor. A conviction can result in up to being imprisoned for up to 93 days and fined up to $500. The victim who was assaulted will be a factor in the level of charges and the accompanying penalties. For example, if it is a health professional who is assaulted, the fine can be doubled.

Aggravated assault is when a person is injured because of the acts of another person but the other person did not use a weapon to commit the act. The intent is the key with aggravated assault. Law enforcement and the prosecutors will assess the circumstances to decide whether this is an appropriate charge.

If the injury goes beyond something minor like a bruise but does not cause the person to have life-changing damage, it would likely be an aggravated assault case. The penalties will be up to one year incarceration or a fine of up to $1,000. The fine is doubled if it is a health professional who is assaulted.

Felonious assault will be charged when a weapon is used to commit the assault. That could be a gun, a knife, a club or other item that would clearly cause severe injury to the victim. This is a felony with up to four years’ incarceration, a fine of up to $2,000 or both. Health professionals being victimized would warrant the same term in prison and a $4,000 fine.

The penalties are significantly higher for these acts committed in a school zone with the same jail term, 150 hours of community service or a fine of up to $6,000. Students who get into an altercation and are accused of using a weapon need to be aware of this.

A criminal defense must be tailored to the severity of the charges

When charged with any level of assault, it is vital to understand that the penalties will vary depending on the crime itself. That makes it essential to have a criminal defense that specifically addresses those charges.

The situation itself will be a fundamental part of how to move forward with the defense. In some cases, the person might simply have defending themselves or another person. There could have been justification to react the way they did. Regardless, there are steps to take to deal with these charges and having a comprehensive, well-crafted strategy can go a long way toward reaching a positive outcome and avoiding long-term damage to a person’s future goals.