In Mississippi, assault charges fall into two categories—simple assault and aggravated assault. The specific offense a prosecutor chooses to charge defendants with depends on the circumstances of the incident.
Those facing assault allegations need to understand how a conviction will impact their lives. Being informed about the charge and its possible penalties helps defendants create a sound defense strategy.
The basics of simple assault
Under state law, simple assault involves knowingly, purposely or recklessly causing bodily injury to another person. You could even face assault charges if you attempt but fail to cause injury. Two other factors in simple assault offenses:
- Causing imminent fear of severe harm
- Using a deadly weapon
The possible penalties you could face if convicted include up to six months in jail, up to $500 in fines or a combination of both. If your actions impact certain individuals (listed below), you may face a $1,000 fine, five years of imprisonment or both.
Factors that lead to aggravated charges
Simple assault may become aggravated if the authorities believe your actions showed an “extreme indifference” to human life. Using a deadly weapon and harming vulnerable citizens (elders, children, etc.) also elevate assault charges.
Targeting certain people can also result in aggravated assault. Examples include:
- Police and fire department personnel
- Elected political figures
- Vulnerable adults
- Social workers
- Jail officers
The potential consequences upon conviction include up to 30 years in prison, fines approaching $5,000 or some combination of both.
The information in this post represents a mere fraction of what you should know about simple and aggravated assault charges. Increasing your knowledge of assault laws in Mississippi ensures you and your legal counsel mount the most effective defense.