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Don’t be deceived by the name, simple assault, sometimes known as general assault, is a serious charge and can carry substantial legal consequences. It is contrasted with felony or aggravated assault, which typically involves a weapon and serious bodily harm. 

Simple Assault Definition

Simple assault is defined in law as: 

  • The intent to cause physical harm to someone
  • The attempt to physically injure someone
  • Causing bodily injury purposefully, knowingly, or recklessly
  • Putting another in fear of bodily harm by words that cause induce that fear

What can impact assault charges?

A charge for a simple offense can be doubled if there was discriminatory intent. If the person was assaulted based on their race, ethnicity, gender, religion or sexual orientation, the need for a lawyer is even more vital. 

In addition to discriminatory intent, assault on an enumerated or  “special person” can also enhance the offense and can lead to a felony. “Special” individuals include: 

  • public school administrators or teachers
  • social workers or family protection workers employed by the Human Services Department
  • elected officials
  • emergency medical personnel
  • judges or specific court employees
  • law enforcement, firefighter or corrections officer
  • a person over the age of 64 who is an incapacitated or disabled adult

Similarly, simple assault charges can also become more serious if they involve violence against spouses, partners or children because they can be prosecuted as domestic violence

What are the penalties for a simple assault conviction?

Penalties of simple assault in general can be punished up to 6 months in jail and a fine of up to $500. If there was the intent of discrimination a person can be punished with up to 12 months in jail with an additional $1,000 fine. Finally, if a simple assault against an enumerated individual is performed, the fine can be as high as $1,000, with up to five years in jail. 

What should I do if I’ve been charged with simple assault?

If you’ve been charged with simple assault, it’s important to seek legal representation as soon as possible. Any type of assault charges carry serious consequences, and an experienced attorney is your best chance at fighting the charges. 

If you are looking for legal representation, contact attorney Amy Pietrowski today.