Aggravated Assault: Charges, Penalties and Defense

Aggravated assault charges

According to a 2016 news article that ranked Michigan’s cities by rates of violent crime, Detroit was the most violent city, followed closely by Flint and Saginaw. No surprise there, except that Flint had dropped from the top 10 most violent cities in the U.S. to number 11. Detroit was still in the number 2 spot, which is noteworthy because of the population.

What is interesting about this article was how the pie charts broke down each type of crime, showing the percentages of each type of crime. Predictably, murder was the smallest wedge of each pie chart as it is actually the rarest crime. Rape was only slightly larger, followed by robbery. It claimed a much larger slice of the pie chart than the most violent crimes we think of.

By far the biggest piece – most of the chart in every city – was aggravated assault.

Definition of Aggravated Assault

If you read the definition of simple assault, you might feel like it should be called something else. Simple assault is if you threaten to hurt someone or do something that doesn’t actually cause bodily harm. You could grab a stranger’s hand and get charged with simple assault.

On the other hand, you could punch someone in a fair fist fight and get charged with aggravated assault. You could slap someone or elbow them and it would be aggravated assault.

In addition, aggravated assault does not have to be with a weapon or with the intent to beat someone up. In fact, you can be charged with aggravated assault and not have meant to really hurt someone. You could get a year in jail for hurting someone without even possessing a weapon.

Every city has problems with theft and violence. People see those statistics and they think if they move there, they’re going to be the victims of some horrific crime. Violent crime is sensationalized to such a degree that we lose sight of what’s actually going on.

Even in Detroit – the second most violent city – aggravated assault is the number one violent crime. In fact, aggravated assault is one of the most common crimes in the United States.

Aggravated Assault in Michigan

Aggravated assault is a misdemeanor charge in Michigan. However, it can be intensified to bring about a felony conviction.

  • If someone is charged with assault with intent to do great bodily harm (less than murder), he or she could be facing a prison sentence of 10 years and $5,000 in fines.
  • Assault with intent to maim (remove a portion of someone’s body or face) can land you in prison for 5 years and $5,000 in fines.
  • If you are charged with assault with intent to commit murder, this is a very serious charge. You could face life in prison for this charge and it’s important to hire a good defense attorney to work against that charge.


Detroit and other Michigan cities may be in trouble, or they may be on their way to a brighter future. No matter who you are, if you are facing charges of aggravated assault, you deserve the best defense you can get to avoid being hit with the maximum penalty the law allows.

Contact us today for a consultation about your case.

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