Updated: Dec 17, 2019
Have you ever wondered about the difference between assault and aggravated assault? Here's what to know about the specifics and implications of this offense.
The Legal Definition
An assault (or "simple assault") is an unlawful physical attack or threat of attack without a weapon that results in no injury or a minor injury.
A charge is upgraded to an aggravated assault if a serious injury occurs or if a weapon is used in the assault (with or without injury). In many jurisdictions, the charge becomes aggravated assault if the victim is a member of a protected class, such as a public servant.
How Common Is It? The U.S. Department of Justice typically reports over 800,000 instances of aggravated assault and over 3 million instances of simple assault each year. In the workplace alone, about 1.5 million assaults are reported yearly.
If You're a Victim If you or someone you know has been assaulted, charges can be filed with the police. If you choose to do this, it's important to find witnesses (if there were any), write down what happened while it's fresh in your mind, and take that information to the police department. If you're worried about retaliation, you should consider applying for a restraining order.
If Charges Are Filed Against You Start by finding out what you've been charged with. It's also important to have a competent defense attorney on board as early as possible to help with gathering witness statements and arranging any other necessary legal proceedings.