Although it is often used in casual conversations, the actual definition of what aggravated assault is may be unclear to some. By better examining the meaning of this term, you can fully understand what it means and how it impacts you.
Simple assault is not the same as aggravated assault, which typically involves a perpetrator who intends to seriously hurt a person. According to FindLaw, one of the most important factors to determine if a situation is aggravated assault is whether or not you use a weapon. Some weapons are deadly depending on the situation, such as pocket knives. In that situation, the type of assault depends on if you have the intention to gravely injure the person. If they fear for their lives but you did not strike any blows, you still may still have committed aggravated assault. Intent is a mental state where you purposefully choose to attack someone with the goal of killing or seriously hurting them.
In addition, the identity of the person whom you strike may factor into the situation. Interfering with police officers and firefighters can make a simple assault case become an aggravated assault case, depending on whether the assault occurred while they were performing their duties. How well you know the person you attacked can also factor into what type of degree of assault it is. Additionally, how injured the person is afterwards can influence each case, such as situations where the person becomes maimed or disfigured.
Aggravated assault cases do differ from simple assault cases, and knowing what situations qualify can help you in a court of law.