The definition of what constitutes assault is slightly different depending on what state you reside in. Likewise, what constitutes simple assault versus aggravated assault is also defined differently as well. However, there are many commonalities as well.
In some instances, the mere threat, or an attempt to commit an assault can be viewed as an actual assault. In other states, actual contact must take place for the assault to have occurred.
The difference between simple assault and aggravated assault depends on the degree to which the victim is injured. A minor injury such as a bruise or a limited threat of physical abuse will more often than not be relegated to a simple assault status. However, where injuries are more significant, such as broken bones, or the threat is obviously violent, aggravated assault charges will likely result.
Aggravated assault will also be the case when a person uses a weapon on another person, or uses or points a gun at them. Aggravated assault also applies when the assault takes place during the commission of another crime such as a robbery or rape, or the assault is committed against police or fire personnel, the elderly or developmentally disabled individuals.
The most common form of aggravated assault defense is a claim of self-defense, especially when it can be proven that the victim is the one who initiated the confrontation. Another possible defense is that there was no criminal intent and that the assault that took place was purely accidental. There is also the mental capacity claim, where the defendant can make the argument that they were not capable of controlling their actions or that they didn’t understand that the assault was breaking the law.
The Law Office of David M. Smith serves clients in Chicago, Cook County and surrounding Illinois communities.