Difference between Aggravated and Felonious Assault & What’s the Penalty for them in the US?

If you have been learning law, you might have come across the word “felonious assault”. Generally, a deliberate attempt of attack on another individual using a “dangerous weapon” or “dangerous ordnance” is considered a felonious assault.

According to Ohio’s state law, if somebody threatens an individual using a deadly weapon irrespective of whether the accused used that weapon or not, the state could charge the assailant with “Felonious assault”. For instance, if a person threatens someone to stab him/her with a knife or points a gun at someone, felonious assault occurs. Many people confuse it with aggravated assault as they sound similar offenses. However, each of them entails unique criminal penalties. To further explore this concept, keep on reading.

What is an Assault?

As we have previously discussed, an “Assault” is a crime that is committed when someone knowingly harms or attempts to harm another person. Or someone causes “serious physical harm” to another. In the United States, “Assault” is categorized as a misdemeanor of the first degree. Though, it can also be a felony depending on the situation.

A Misdemeanor of the first degree must spend 180 days in imprisonment as per the Ohio state law. Moreover, some states impose fines of up to $1,000 apart from imprisonment.

On the contrary, felonious assault is considered the Misdemeanor of the second degree for which the assailant could be punished for 8 years in jail.

What is an assault
source: lowerylaw.com

How to prove Felonious Assault?

The prosecution must fulfill all the elements to prove felonious assault and receive a conviction for it. The following are the four elements that must be satisfied to prove felonious assault.

  • The defendant must have either committed or attempted to commit the offense to any reasonable person to put him/her in fear.
  • The defendant was intended to harm the other person or put the other person in fear of immediate harm, for instance, pointing a gun at him/her.
  • The defendant thought that he would be able to commit the offense or appear to do that.
  • Committed the offense using a deadly weapon.

Moreover, to legally convict the defendant in front of the court, the prosecutor must be able to show that the act was a felonious assault without any reasonable doubt. Then only the jury will take lawful action against the defendant.

Act Requirement

While physical contact is not typically mandatory for an assault offense, the suspect requires to perform a “Criminal act” to get convicted. Naked threats solely will not constitute a felonious or aggravated assault unless the suspect backs them up with a criminal act that puts the victim in fear of immediate harm.

For instance, shouting at deaf could still be considered an assault even if he/she could not comprehend that as a threat while yelling at a person who is sitting in another state or country could not be an assault as it fails to put the victim in fear of immediate harm.

Felonious Assault Example

Below are some real-life examples of felonious assault as described by the law.

  • In 2018’s People Garland matter, a person named Tamarkqua Garland was charged with several assaults after he opened fire five times in public, one of which injured a 15-year-old in the leg. During a court trial, the victim testified that his wound was “very traumatizing,” and he had spent two months on crutches post the incident. The assault resulted in severe physical injury.
  • The second example involves the felonious assault committed on a police officer. In 2019, some police officials responded to a disturbance in Texas’ Spec’s Liquor store. The officials approached a suspect to interrogate if he had been involved in a disturbance in the store.

Everything was going smoothly until the suspect failed to provide his ID and cooperate with the officers by giving false information. When officers attempted to put him in the car, he spat on one of the officers. Later, when the officer checked his criminal history, they came to know that the suspect had AIDS/HIV, making this minor violent act a serious crime. Ultimately, the suspect received 12 years of imprisonment for attacking a police officer.

About the above-stated example, if you point a gun at someone and pull the trigger, but you miss the target, in such a case, felonious assault won’t be applicable. However, since you pulled the trigger in an attempt to kill the victim, you would be convicted of attempted murder charges.

Felonious Assault Penalties
source: deweybrinkleylaw.com

Felonious Assault Penalties

Just as other felonies, the sanctions for felonious assault are equally extreme and terrible. Of course, the punishment began when the assailant declares guilty by a judge. The penalties could include:

  • Imprisonment for a certain period.
  • A penalty between $5000 to $10,000
  • Hours to serve in community service
  • Restitution payment for any physical or mental damages to the victim

Thereby, the person charged with felonious assault typically hires an attorney to represent his/her case in court. Since the punishment/penalties for felonious assault are too severe, one cannot deal with it all alone.

What to do if you are charged with Felonious Assault?

If you have committed a crime that fulfills the definition of felonious assault, then hiring a lawyer is the first and foremost thing to do. If the crime was committed in Ohio, hiring a lawyer will help you investigate the case and work out if you are wrongfully charged for that crime or not. Your lawyer will attempt to gather the reasons why the case should already be dismissed before a court trial. The attorney can also negotiate with the prosecutor for a plea bargain if he/she believes that their client has been wrongfully accused of a crime he/she has not committed. If needed, they will present the suspect in court. This will help in negotiating with the prosecutor for a lighter penalty.

What is the difference between Felonious and Aggravated Assault?

For starters, felonious assault is a crime, while aggravated assault is a serious misdemeanor. The punishment for a misdemeanor is typically more severe than felonies. It involved a long time of incarceration, higher fines, and cost one his/her right to own a weapon for personal security.

The second most prominent difference between the two is that you will be charged with a felonious crime even if you did not injure the victim physically while in aggravated assault, you will only be charged if you gravely injure a person. In Michigan, felony assault is considered a severe form of simple assault which involves threatening and causing harm to someone or being in a position to cause immediate harm. On the other hand, a person will be convicted of aggravated assault if they physically injure another person. In other words, this assault is a kind of battery.

You need an attorney by your side to fight for you if you have been charged with either aggravated or felonious assault.

What is the difference between felonious and aggravated assault
source: legalmatch.com

When do Aggravated Charges apply?

Considering the punishment with a penalty near $1000 and one year of sentencing for aggravated assault, the offense comes in section 750.81a(1), of the Michigan Penal Code. Aggravated assault is a form of battery – a harmful physical attack on another person without his/her consent. A person will be convicted of aggravated assault charges if he/she makes physical contact and the victim suffers “serious or aggravated injury.” However, there will be no evidence against the suspect that he has used any weapon or intended to commit serious injury or murder.

Like felonious assault, aggravated assault charges apply in certain situations because here, the victim has the evidence that you seriously injured him even though you did not aim to do so.

Aggravated Assault Examples

If a suspect had a gun but pushed the victim instead of pulling the trigger, he can already be charged with “simple assault” however, if the suspect loses balance and hit his/her head on the stone and suffers a concussion, then the suspect will be charged with aggravated assault.

What is Negligence Assault and when does it apply?

When an individual negligently causes “physical harm or injures” another person using a “deadly weapon” or “dangerous ordinance real-life 15-year-old he/she will be charged with negligence assault. It comes under the third-degree Misdemeanor. The suspect who will be charged with this form of assault will be punished with 60 days of sentencing as per Ohio’s state law.

Why do you need a good representation?

Whether it’s aggravated or felonious assault, the convicted individual will lose his/her right to cast a vote or hold public office, own firearms for personal security, or serve as a juror. Moreover, the convicted person will lose his professional license, due to which he will be unable to apply for a job or rent a house.

Only a reliable attorney of your state who is aware of the state’s criminal laws knows how to deal with the case and determine the likelihood of negotiating a favorable outcome for the suspect. A knowledgeable and experienced attorney will help you protect your rights and make the right choices regarding your case.

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