What are the elements of aggravated assault?
There are many ways that an altercation can get out of hand and you could find yourself on the receiving end of aggravated assault charges. These charges often carry stiffer penalties than simple assault charges, and can easily result in significant fines or even lengthy time behind bars.
If you or someone you love recently received aggravated assault charges, you should not waste any time before you begin building a strong legal defense. You have a right and responsibility to fight these charges, and, in some cases, may have grounds to dismiss them entirely. Even if you cannot get the charges entirely dropped, you may have many ways you can lessen the blow of a conviction.
In most cases, it is simplest and most effective to enlist the help of an experienced defense attorney who has practiced law in your area for a number of years. An attorney can help you identify the strengths and weaknesses in your case and help you craft a personalized defense, while advising you on how to keep your rights protected in the process.
Who is the victim?
Depending on the status or profession of the victim of an assault, the charges may increase in severity. Each day in the news, it seems we hear another instance of a hate crime, or an act of violence committed against people because of their race, religion, sexual orientation, etc. Hate crimes are generally considered aggravated assaults, and carry stiffer penalties.
Similarly, you may face aggravated assault charges if you commit an act of violence against a firefighter or police officer. In these instances, prosecution must prove that the alleged perpetrator of the crime knew the status of the victim when the crime occurred.
Was there a weapon?
Any time that an assault involves a deadly weapon, it generally counts as aggravated assault. It is important to understand that this may apply even if the weapon itself does not actually cause physical harm.
Even if an object is not typically considered a deadly weapon, such as a baseball bat, it could reasonably cause serious injury. If an individual uses the weapon as part of a threat or harm, this may mean aggravated assault.
Was there intent or serious harm?
The mindset of the alleged perpetrator may also play a role. If a person intends to harm someone, this may increase the severity of charges. In contrast, if someone is simply being unruly and accidentally harms someone else, he or she may have room to argue against aggravated assault charges.
Similarly, even if the harm was not particularly intentional, a person may face aggravated assault charges if the victim suffered serious injuries. In general, the more serious the injuries, the more serious the charges.
If you face any kind of assault charge, begin building your defense as soon as you can. Rest assured, the prosecution is already building its case against you, so you should not waste any time.