The Difference Between Aggravated Assault and Felonious Assault in Michigan

Gavel and handcuffs depicting the difference between aggravated assault and felonious assault

Assault is by far the most common violent crime reported in America. Aggravated assault accounts for over 60% of violent crimes reported to law enforcement, with robbery at a distant second at 29%. Rape and murder are miniscule by comparison; only 6% and 1% respectively.

What does this mean? It means that of all “violent” crime reported, most of it is comprised of fights between two people, or situations where someone loses their temper and does something regrettable, like threatening someone else.

Michigan classifies assault in a few different ways. Each of Michigan’s assault charges can be enhanced for various reasons. Whether a “weapon” was used if the victim has injuries, and how bad they are. This makes navigating assault charges tricky.

Trickier still, prosecutors routinely overcharge people so they will plead guilty to lesser crimes. 

Michigan Criminal Law

The terms “assault” and “battery” aren’t defined in Michigan criminal law, although these terms are used in many places. However, battery refers to making physical contact with someone forcefully or violently, and assault refers to actions that cause reasonable fear of battery. 

Prosecutors use both aggravated assault charges and felonious assault charges in a variety of circumstances. There are some key differences:

Aggravated Assault

 Aggravated assault is generally defined by the victim’s injuries. If it results in a serious or aggravated injury, which is an injury that “requires immediate medical treatment or that causes disfigurement, impairment of health, or impairment of a part of the body,” the crime can be charged as an aggravated assault.

Felonious Assault

Felonious assault is characterized by the presence of a weapon, which is usually defined as any kind of gun, knife, club, or brass knuckles. There have been cases where even a child is charged with felonious assault for throwing a ball, so the term “weapon” is not limited to only this list. 

Aggravated Assault and Felonious Assault – The Difference

While aggravated assault charges stem from some injury to the victim, you can be charged with felonious assault without causing bodily harm to anyone.

The main difference is that aggravated assault charges involve no weapons, and felonious assault charges do. Therefore, you could punch and kick someone and potentially only incur a misdemeanor charge.

However, if you threaten someone with a bat but never lay a finger on them, you could be looking at a felony.

There are enhancements to each of these charges. For instance, aggravated domestic assault charges will be enhanced if the person is a repeat offender. A felonious assault charge is enhanced when it occurs in a weapon-free zone, like a school zone.

Aggravated assault is a misdemeanor while felonious assault is – as the name says – a felony.

How an Aggressive Assault Attorney Can Help

It’s crucial to understand the difference between these two charges and how they are used by prosecutors to drive plea bargains. The chances are good that you will be overcharged for assault and battery.

If you are facing charges for aggravated assault or felonious assault, you will need an aggressive assault attorney.

Call my office today to get started fighting for your future.

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