Assault. It is a basic crime, and a crime that people are charged with on a daily basis. An assault occurs when a person violates another’s personal space. In most states, the threat of attack is enough to have a person charged with assault. In many cases, the crime is a misdemeanor. In more serious cases, a felony. But what is the difference?

Misdemeanor Versus Felony Assault
When you are charged with misdemeanor assault, you will spend no more than a year in jail if you are convicted. If you are charged with the felony version of the crime, you may likely spend far more than a year behind bars. Additionally, you will be housed in a prison with other violent offenders.

Generally, there are three classes of assault. A simple assault is one where the victim of the crime genuinely fears for their safety. The second class, assault and battery, is more serious. For this crime to have occurred, the victim suffers an actual physical injury. Finally, aggravated assault, a felony, involves serious harm to the victim. That harm may be a debilitating injury, permanent disfigurement or the like.

Felony Assault
To be convicted of felony assault, the prosecutor must prove that you had intent to harm someone. Additionally, you must have used a potentially deadly weapon in the attack. The victim of the crime must have suffered a physical injury. Very few states will allow a felony assault charge if the victim merely suffered emotional or financial distress as a result of the crime. While it is certainly your right to carry a weapon, using that firearm in the commission of an assault, or even threatening to use that weapon, can land you in hotter water than you can handle. Just brandishing your weapon during a simple assault can bump it to a felony.

Sentencing for felony assault varies among states. Criminal history and the injuries sustained by the victim will also come into play during sentencing. You can reasonably expect to spend at least 12 months in prison if you are convicted of felonious assault. This is why retaining an attorney experienced in criminal defense is essential.

Assault is a serious crime, whether it is a misdemeanor or felony. Invading another’s personal space or outright attacking someone is never in anyone’s best interest. Issues can always be worked out in ways that will not land you in jail. If you have been charged with assault, you need an attorney by your side defending your rights. Contact our knowledgeable and trustworthy criminal defense team today for assistance. We will review the facts of your case and advise you how to best proceed. Your initial consultation will be held at no cost to you.

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