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When does an assault become a felony?

On Behalf of | Feb 27, 2023 | Criminal Defense

A charge of assault has varying consequences depending on the nature of the crime. While occasionally the state charges an assault as a misdemeanor, many times offenders may find themselves charged with a felony.

It is essential to understand what constitutes assault and when these actions might cross the line and result in felony charges.

Actions that qualify as assault

When people make threats against another’s health or safety, the assailants have committed assault. Law enforcement could arrest those individuals even if the offenders did not act on those threats. Charges are more severe if aggressors used weapons, committed concurring crimes, had previous assault charges or were in personal relationships with the victims.

Misdemeanor assault

The state considers several factors when determining the severity of assault charges. Simple misdemeanor assault is when an individual threatens to harm without using weapons. It can also be a failed attempt to commit battery, which is acting on the threat.

Felony assault

More serious threats or assaults that occur with compounding factors are felonies. Some actions that lead to felonious assault are:

  • The intention to kill
  • Use of a deadly weapon
  • Assault while committing another felony or with the intent to rob
  • Strangulation without the plan to kill
  • The intention to permanently disfigure
  • The intention to cause extreme bodily harm but not kill

If assailants act on any of these assaults, they may also be guilty of battery, resulting in additional charges.

Knowing that making threats without action can still lead to felony charges should encourage people to walk away from heated situations.