Being accused of a violent crime is a serious situation. The penalties associated with the crime are harsh due to the severity of the allegations, meaning defendants accused of such a crime are likely to endure personal and professional damages in addition to losing their freedoms if convicted. Thus, it is important to gain a full perspective of the situation, understanding your rights and abilities to assert a defense.
An aggravated assault is more serious than an assault charge because it typically involves the use of a weapon. Other factors that raise the severity of this charge include the status of the victim involved, the intent of the defendant and the degree of the injury caused by the supposed crime.
When a deadly weapon is used during the commission of an assault, this constitutes an aggravated assault. This charge results no matter whether the weapon involved resulted in physical injury. With regards to basic assault charges, these are based on the conduct of the accused and whether they intended to put an individual in a reasonable fear for their safety. When this occurs with the threat of a deadly weapon, an aggravated assault charge results because of the fear of injury or harm involved.
When a person is charged with an aggravated assault, their mental state must be proven. Because the prosecution seeks to prove that the accused had the intent to cause harm or a reasonable apprehension of imminent harm, a defendant could use evidence to prove that was not the case. If the elements of the crime are not proven, it is possible to have the charge reduced or dismissed.
No matter the severity of the charge, it is important that those accused of a violent crime understand their criminal defense options. Even if it seems difficult and complex, initiating a defense is the best way to protect your rights and interests in the matter.
Source: Findlaw.com, "Aggravated Assault," accessed Sept. 10, 2017