The attempt to cause serious physical harm to a person with disregard for their life is described as aggravated assault. Not to be confused with plain assault, an aggravated assault occurs when a weapon is used, the degree of injury caused is high, or there was aggressive intent from the perpetrator.
Different states classify aggravated assault in different ways. In Texas, a crime is considered aggravated assault if they perpetrator uses weapons, or it results in serious injury. If the assault is of someone who you are in a domestic partnership with, a public official, an emergency worker, or a witness or informant to a crime, it gets upgraded to a first-degree felony.
Degrees of Aggravated Assault
While the exact terms differ state by state, most states agree that first degree aggravated assault describes a violent act that is committed after premeditated planning. The act was an intentional attempt to cause serious injury to the person.
Second degree aggravated assault describes when a violent act is committed without any planning or premeditation. A lesser charge can be changed to a second degree aggravated assault charge if the victim has a protected status such as a police officer.
Third and fourth-degree aggravated assault is when the assailant attempts to significantly harm the victim, like in a fistfight or physical altercation. Even though these are classified as lesser offenses, they still carry severe penalties.
Some assaults may begin as simple assaults, but their status changes to aggravated assault based on the status of the victim to the intent of the perpetrator. Many states have strict laws against assaults on firefighters, police officers, or teachers who are harmed while performing their duty. Additionally, some hate crimes or crimes against members of certain groups of people can be considered aggravated assault if the assailant intended to target that particular group.
Penalties for Aggravated Assault
The penalties for assault charges differ depending on the assault and degree to which injuries occurred. Depending on the state where the assault happened, it could be treated as a misdemeanor or a felony based on the circumstances.
In Texas, many aggravated assaults are classified as first-degree felonies. If you’re found guilty of committing a first-degree felony in Texas, you could face a life sentence in prison plus a fine as determined by the judge, which could be up to $10,000. Some less severe assaults that may fall under misdemeanor classification can result in fines of $500-$1000 as well as a prison sentence.
The penalties for aggravated can differ significantly based on your state, the circumstances of the crime, and the victim. It’s tempting to want to research online what might happen with your case. Don’t rely on information from the internet to understand the complexities of your case.
If you’ve been arrested for aggravated assault in Houston, contact Christopher T. Gore. Find out how he and his qualified team can help answer your questions and represent your best interests after an assault charge.