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When does assault become aggravated assault?

On Behalf of | May 28, 2021 | Criminal defense | 0 comments

In a time when people are interested in crime dramas and other law-themed fiction, it can be difficult to understand terms like assault and when they apply. Often, TV and movies have such a close base, in reality, it can be hard to know where one ends, and the other begins.

When you face your own assault charges, you will quickly find that your experience is quite different from what you see portrayed in fiction. In these cases, charges that go from assault to aggravated assault can seem incredibly intimidating.

Here’s what you should know about assault and when prosecutors may increase the charge to aggravated assault.

Understanding assault

Assault and battery are two terms that you might hear used together so often that they seem interchangeable. In Illinois, there is an important difference between these two terms.

Assault is a threat of bodily harm, where a battery is actually causing physical harm. One way to think about these concepts is that assault makes someone reasonably believe they will be battered.

Aggravated assault becomes a question of where or whom

When you consider that an assault happens before there is physical harm to the victim, understanding aggravated assault can seem confusing. In Illinois, aggravated assault can be divided into the following types:

  • Location-based. Assault that happens in a public place.
  • Person-based. Aggravated charges can apply to people who have a disability or work in public professions, like teaching or community policing.
  • Weapon-based. These charges may include using or discharging a deadly weapon or concealing your identity during the assault.

Aggravated assault charges tend to have more severe punishments like enhanced jail time, so it is essential to understand when an assault charge could cross the line into aggravated assault.