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What Constitutes Felony Assault?

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Among the most well known offenses are assault and battery, which usually go hand in hand. However, the two crimes are actually distinct offenses and can be charged as misdemeanors or felonies. Assault is defined as an unlawful attack caused by one person upon another, and is considered a felony if the attacker uses a weapon in the process. It is not necessary that an attacker injure another person for a court to consider the attempt a felony. Because using a gun, knife, or other weapon could probably result in serious injury if the crime were successfully completed, law enforcement personnel treat this offense very seriously.

Battery, in contrast, involves physically harming another person. Together, assault and battery occur at the felony level when a person willfully or with intent to cause serious bodily harm, injury, or damage, hits, strikes, beats, or otherwise injures someone else. Unlike simple assault and battery, felony assault and battery causes significant injury or damage to the victim or is committed against an elderly person or a child. In addition, one of the most significant assault and battery felonies is that of a sexual nature, which forces the criminal to register as a sex offender after completing his or her prison sentence.

Felony Assault and Battery Penalties

Because felony assault and battery typically go hand in hand, they are usually sentenced together as well. Some of the possible penalties for felony assault and battery are:

  • Prison time
  • Probation
  • Parole
  • Anger management classes
  • Losing the right to own a firearm

As with any violent crime, sentencing with felony assault and battery tends to be very strict in most states. Even for first offenses, jail time and/or significant probation time with reporting and contact with a probation officer are quite common. In addition, courts almost always view second offenses as felonies since these crimes often cause significant physical harm and mental duress to the victim.

A good defense attorney can work with the courts to possibly reduce the charges to a misdemeanor under some circumstances, especially if he or she can prove important factors such as self-defense or previous threats from the other person involved. When dealing with any felony charges, it is important to remember that having such charges on your record can negatively impact your future and even result in termination from current employment. Fighting assault and battery charges, especially if there are mitigating circumstances present, is the best option for a possible reduced sentence or acquittal.

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