You don’t need to commit bodily injury in order to get charged with aggravated assault charges. Assault is not the same as the battery, it can occur even if there is no physical violence involved in an interaction but just the threat of physical violence. In order to understand how it is that aggravated assault charges work, we must first take a look at how simple assault works.
Aggravated assault charges function as a kind of upgrade to a simple assault charge. Many people think of assault as a purely physical crime. This makes a lot of sense considering that we primarily use the word assault to refer to a physical altercation. However, assault occurs in several ways:
- When you cause another person bodily harm through intentionally or reckless action
- When you threaten another person with physical harm intentionally
- When you make physical contact with another person in an offensive or provocative manner intentionally
Note that only the first of those includes a reference to bodily injury. The last of these does also include physical contact but it does not imply injury. For example, pushing somebody violently would be enough to count under the third description but the push itself would be enough even if it did not lead to an injury-causing fall.
So how does this affect aggravated assault charges?
Does Aggravated Assault Charges Require Bodily Injury to Have Occurred?
As previously mentioned, aggravated assault functions like an upgrade of simple assault. In order to be charged with aggravated assault, your actions must meet the criteria for simple assault listed above. However, there must also be one of the following circumstances:
- The assault caused the victim to suffer serious bodily injury
- A deadly weapon was used while committing the assault
- A deadly weapon was exhibited while committing the assault.
Take note of that first criteria. While aggravated assault does not require bodily harm, it is important to remember that serious bodily harm is often a part of aggravated assault charges. So in many cases causing bodily harm is an important and vital part of the aggravated assault charges that an individual could be facing.
However, the latter two criteria cannot be ignored. Let’s take the example of the simple assault from the last section whereupon the victim was simply pushed. There is a physical altercation in this example, however, the victim did not suffer from physical harm. Therefore this assault would not qualify as an aggravated assault.
But if that same simple assault was committed while holding a gun, then it would qualify as an aggravated assault charge. This could even be true if you were not waving the gun at the victim but simply had it holstered, though those circumstances are much easier to argue against than when you directly imply that you will use the weapon.
How Do I Defend Against Aggravated Assault Charges?
Reach out to Wilder Law Firm to speak to a qualified attorney about your case to receive advice and legal representation that takes into account the unique circumstances of your aggravated assault charges and the incident that sparked them.