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What is Assault?

The term “assault” has many definitions and covers a very broad range of crimes. It can be vaguely defined as when one person injures or tries to injure another person. Depending on the type of assault, it can be charged as a misdemeanor to a felony with varying penalties. Under Ohio law, you don’t even have to “try” to assault someone to face criminal charges. You can also face serious penalties when you don’t harm anyone.

The most basic form of assault is simple assault which is a first degree misdemeanor or third, fourth, or fifth degree felony but can carry up to six months of jail time and a $1,000 fine. This involves recklessly causing serious injury or harm to someone or knowingly causing or attempting to cause physical harm to another person. This falls under the category of not intending to injure someone.

Negligent assault is the least serious of all the assaults. It is still a third degree misdemeanor and carries up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine. A person charged with this type of assault is believed to be negligent when carry a deadly weapon that can cause someone else serious physical harm. For example, people who hunt are often found to be charged with negligent assault if they injure someone.

The most serious assault is felony assault. This is a second degree felony and carries anywhere from two to eight years of jail time and up to $20,000 in fines. A person could face this charge if they cause serious harm to an unborn child or cause or attempt to cause harm with the use of a deadly weapon. This means someone does not have to actually cause the injury, only an attempt to injure is enough to be charged with a felony assault.

Aggravated assault is similar to felony assault but with an added twist. In order to be aggravated, the assault must be done “under the influence of sudden passion or in a fit of rage”. If charged with aggravated assault, the courts usually are more lenient when handing down penalties since they understand that most people do not act irrationally unless provoked by passion. Also depending on the particular case, an experienced criminal defense attorney may be able to claim self-defense if they can prove the degree of force used was necessary in proportion to the amount threatened against you. Aggravated assault can carry anywhere from 18 months to six years of jail time and $5,000 in fines.

If you have been charged with any type of assault, contact an attorney at DiCaudo, Pitchford & Yoder today.