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What’s The Difference Between Simple Assault and Aggravated Assault, and Why Does it Matter?

Being accused of Assault here in Michigan is a scary prospect. You have to deal with being arrested, charged with a violent crime, time in court, and the very real possibility that you’ll be convicted and have to go to jail. Or worse – prison! The last thing you need on top of all that is confusion about what you’re being accused of doing, and what that could mean for your future. So we’ve decided to break it down for you, so that at the very least, you can take confusion off your plate during this difficult time.

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Why are there so many different types of assault?

A person in Lansing who grabs someone by the arm and threatens to hit them, is very different from the person in Grand Rapids who beats someone’s teeth out with a baseball bat. Frightening someone by making them think you’re going to hurt them is not the same thing as actually hurting them. And then there’s the issue of a weapon. Did you use a weapon or not? And were you trying to hurt them, or kill them? All of these are factors that affect the type of assault charge you’re possibly going to face. So circumstances, certain factors, and even intent all count when the prosecutor is deciding what type of assault to charge you with. It is not at all unusual for the prosecutor to over-charge a defendant but we’re used to dealing with that tactic. 

What does ‘simple assault’ mean in Michigan?

The term ‘simple assault’ just refers to a basic assault charge. It’s the kind of charge that an Ingham or Isabella County prosecutor would use if you had threatened someone with violence and made them think they were about to be harmed. Or perhaps if you hit or slapped or kicked someone, but didn’t use a weapon or try to kill them. It’s a misdemeanor charge, and if you get charged and convicted, it’s punishable by up to 93 days in jail with the possibility of a $500 fine, or both.

What does ‘aggravated assault’ mean in Michigan?

Like simple assault, aggravated assault doesn’t involve the use of weapons, or the intention to kill the victim. However what makes it different from simple assault is the fact that it always includes battery (which is the act of physically hurting someone according to Michigan law) and results in serious injury to the victim. Assault and battery are often charged together. And in this case, if you were to get into a serious fist fight with someone outside a bar in Midland, or get into an argument with a friend somewhere in Detroit and push them over, so they fell and cracked their head open on the pavement, you would likely end up charged with aggravated assault. It’s also a misdemeanor, but can land you in jail for a full year, with a $1,000 fine as well!

Are there other kinds of violence charges in Michigan as well?

Yes there are. Aggravated and simple assault are not the only types of violence charges you could end up facing if you hurt someone in Jackson, Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Brighton, Adrian or anywhere else in Michigan. For example, there’s Felonious Assault, which is also called Assault with a dangerous weapon. This is when you use violence another person with an object that can cause serious injury. This could mean a regular weapon, like a knife or a pair of brass knuckles, or another object like a glass ashtray or a bottle. There’s also Assault with Intent to do Great Bodily Harm Less Than Murder, which is just the long and wordy way of saying you hurt someone really badly, but not badly enough to kill them. And then there’s  Assault with intent to commit murder, which means exactly what it sounds like – harming someone with the intention of killing them. There are even more, and if you’d like to read about them, check out our page on Assault charges in Michigan.

Charges for violence in Michigan? Get help from the best!

At The Kronzek Firm, we’ve spent decades defending clients from all over the lower peninsula of Michigan against every kind of assault charge imaginable. We understand how complex these charges can be, how specialized the defense needs to be, and exactly what’s involved. If you or a loved one have been accused of hurting anyone, please call us immediately at 866-766-5245 to set up your free phone or Zoom consultation. A skilled and aggressive criminal defense attorney is standing by 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to advise you and provide the help you need. Phone us at 866 7NoJail.  

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