Michigan’s assault laws can be a little difficult to understand if you’re unfamiliar with how the law works in our state. One of the most common questions I get, for instance, is the difference between felony assault and aggravated assault—especially as many other states charge aggravated assault as a felony. If you’re charged with an aggravated assault, how is that different from felony assault? Is it different at all?
Let’s begin with the definition of simple assault in Michigan. Simple assault is the most broadly defined form of assault in our legal code: any attempt (successful or not) to cause physical harm to someone else, or any act (verbal or physical) that would cause a reasonable person to fear for their safety or well-being. Simple assault includes threats, intimidating behavior, or unarmed attack.
Simple assault is charged as a misdemeanor.
What Is Aggravated Assault in Michigan?
Aggravated assault is any assault where the victim suffers serious bodily injury. It’s commonly called “battery.” Aggravated assault is also charged as a misdemeanor, so long as the defendant is not accused of using a weapon during the assault. In order to be “aggravated,” the assault in question must have causes actual injury to the victim.
As a result, aggravated assault cannot be verbal or solely a threat—the prosecutor must prove the accused actually committed physical harm.
What Happens If I’m Accused of Assault with a Deadly Weapon?
There’s only one difference between simple assault and felony assault in Michigan: the presence of a deadly weapon. Guns, knives, brass knuckles, or any other weapon—whether you use it or only threaten to use it—turn a misdemeanor assault into a felony charge automatically.
So, what’s the difference between aggravated assault and felonious assault? Sometimes, there isn’t a difference. If someone causes serious bodily injury with a deadly weapon, they’ve committed both aggravated assault and felony assault. In that case, it’ll be up to the prosecutor which charges they’ll apply to you, or if they’ll stack all of them against you.
The key difference between them is this: aggravated assault involves causing actual, physical injury to someone else. Felony assault requires the use of a weapon.
Speak with a Farmington Hills Assault Defense Lawyer
As serious as assault is, Michigan applies the label “assault” to actions as broad as shooting a gun to an attempted kiss. Most assault charges don’t justify years of prison time or probation, and they certainly don’t justify a lifelong barring of your constitutional right to bear arms or vote. If you’re facing serious assault charges, speak with me, Daniel D. Hajji, Attorney at Law, as soon as possible.
Since 2002, I’ve helped my clients defend themselves from all manner of serious charges. I’ve resolved countless cases in nearly two decades of practice, utilizing my trial experience and my relentless, aggressive approach to litigation. Learn your defense options today for free in a free consultation over the phone.
Call (248) 599-0054 to defend yourself from serious assault charges of all kinds!