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Understanding the Difference Between an Assault and an Aggravated Assault Charge

In Oklahoma, a person can be charged with either assault or aggravated assault, depending on what exactly occurred. It is important to understand the difference between the two crimes, as the penalties for aggravated assault are much more severe.

Assault, also known as simple assault, covers a wide range of conduct. A person can be charged with assault for allegedly attempting to cause bodily harm to another or threatening someone while engaging in a physical act. The offender does not have to make physical contact with the person. Charging, raising a fist at or drawing a weapon on another person is assault even if there no touching involved. Simple assault is a misdemeanor, and is punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a fine of $500.

Aggravated assault is a more serious crime. A person can be charged with aggravated assault if the attack results in the victim suffering great bodily injury. State statute defines great bodily injury as permanent disfigurement, permanent loss of bodily or organ function, long-term brain injury, broken bones or any other injury that puts the victim’s life in danger.

An able-bodied person may be convicted of aggravated assault by attacking someone who is elderly, disabled or incapacitated, even if no actual injury was inflicted. Aggravated assault is a felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a $500 fine. As with simple assault, a person convicted of aggravated assault may have to pay restitution to the victim for damages and other losses.

There are legal defenses to assault or aggravated assault charges. A person who makes unwanted physical contact with another may claim that the touching was accidental. Oklahoma law also recognizes the right of people to use reasonable force to defend themselves or someone else from an attacker. A defender may generally use the same level of violence against the aggressor to prevent or stop an attack.

Lindsey Law Firm, P.C. has been practicing criminal law throughout the greater Tulsa area for many years. If you are in need of a highly capable Oklahoma criminal defense attorney feel free to contact us online or call 918-587-0097 for an initial consultation.

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  • Tulsa Office
    1612 S Denver Ave.
    Tulsa, Oklahoma 74119
    Phone: 918-587-0097
    Fax: 918-587-3763
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