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The difference between a simple assault and an aggravated assault

Being accused of a violent crime is a serious matter. These criminal charges can range in severity, meaning that the resulting penalties can also vary. Nonetheless, no matter the severity of the assault charge, defendants should understand the details of the crime, the evidence used against them and what defense opportunities might be available. This could help individuals in Iowa get reduced or even dismissed charges.

A simple assault charge occurs when an individual attempts to or does physically strike another. This could also occur if an individual acts in a threatening manner to another person, putting that person in fear of immediate harm. A more serious version of this crime is an aggravated assault. This occurs when a person attempts to or does causes severe injury to another person. This also occurs when the injury is caused by the use of a deadly weapon.

In most cases, aggravated assault is considered a felony, while simple assault is categorized as a misdemeanor. When a deadly weapon is used during an assault, this constitutes an aggravated assault. This remains true even if the weapon doesn't cause physical injury to anyone. By generating a threat or causing the fear of harm, the use of a deadly weapon results in an aggravated assault.

Weapons that are classified as "deadly" typically include items that could cause death or serious injury, including guns and knives. What makes an object deadly or not also depends on the manner in which the weapon is used in the commission of the assault. For example, a pocketknife is generally not considered to be a lethal weapon. However, if it is placed on a victim's neck, it could be considered deadly.

Iowa residents who are facing allegations of aggravated assault might be able to challenge the criminal charge. One defense option is self-defense. Such a defense route could result in the dismissal of the charges. Additionally, a defendant could challenge details and evidence. The mental state of both the defendant and the victim could prove actual intent and the resulting impact on the victim. If there was no intent to cause harm or fear of harm and neither resulted for the victim, it is possible to use this information to challenge the charges.

Source: Findlaw.com, "Aggravated Assault," accessed April 30, 2017

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