Simple Assault vs. Aggravated Assault

What is simple assault?

Simple assault, or more commonly known as just “assault ,” is defined as when an individual makes another individual reasonably fear for their safety through their actions (MCL 750.81). A person doesn’t have to be physically contacted to be considered an assault victim.

For example, Jim and Eric are neighbors. Jim owes Eric $500 and is not paying Eric back as quickly as Eric would like. If Eric were to show up at Jim’s home, tell him he better give the $500, and pull up his shirt to reveal a gun holstered in his waistband, he would be committing assault.

Penalties for assault

Assault is a misdemeanor and a conviction can result in up to 93 days in jail and/or up to a $500 fine.

Penalties become more severe if there has been a previous assault on any of the following:

  • a spouse, former spouse,
  • someone you have or had a dating relationship with,
  • someone you had a child with, someone you live with or used to live with, or
  • a woman you know is pregnant.

Learn if there is a statute of limitations on domestic violence cases here.

Someone who already has a conviction for simple assault will be charged with a misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year in jail and/or up to a $1,000 fine. For example, if Bob and Lisa used to be married and Bob assaults Lisa after already being convicted for assaulting her, he could spend a up to 1 year in jail and/or pay up to $1,000. More than two convictions for assault against the previously mentioned individuals is a felony punishable by up to 5 years in jail and/or up to a $5,000 fine.

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What is aggravated assault?

Aggravated assault is a form of assault. It is when an individual causes serious or aggravated injury to another person through their actions without using a deadly weapon and without intent to cause a bodily injury/bodily harm (MCL 750.81a).

In this scenario, Eric shows up at Jim’s home and tells him he better pay him the $500 he owes him. Then, he shoves Jim, which causes Jim to fall and hit his head on the edge of a table, which results in a concussion. Since he just caused a serious and aggravated injury, Eric has just committed aggravated assault.

Since Eric did not use a weapon or intend for Jim to become concussed, it is considered aggravated assault. A serious or aggravated injury is defined as a, “physical injury that requires immediate medical treatment or that causes disfigurement, impairment of health, or impairment of a part of a body.”

Penalties of aggravated assault

Aggravated assault is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year jail time and/or fines up to $1,000. Penalties for aggravated assault become more severe if there is a repeated assault on a:

  • spouse,
  • former spouse,
  • someone you have or had a dating relationship with,
  • someone you had a child with, or
  • someone you live with or used to live with.

According to the Michigan Incident Crime Reporting, 62% of aggravated assaults reported in 2018 took place in a residence/home.

More than two convictions for aggravated assault against the previously mentioned individuals is a felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison and/or up to a $5,000 fine. If you attempt to commit great bodily harm (GBH), this is a separate charge called assault with intent to commit GBH less than murder.

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Contact a criminal defense attorney for your assault charge

If you’re facing a simple assault charge or aggravated assault charge, it is incredibly important to have the best representation. An assault conviction will not only impact your criminal record, but your career, family and much more.

The attorney client relationship during an assault case needs to be one you feel confident in. Contact our team of experienced assault attorneys today at (248) 541-2600.