The 4 Most Common Types of Assault Charges, Explained

types of assault

If you’ve been accused of assault in Ohio, you likely have a million questions running through your mind. Will I go to jail? Is this going to ruin my career? What exactly constitutes assault under the law?

This article will cut through the confusion by answering the critical questions facing those accused of assault. We’ll explain the most common types of assault – from minor misdemeanors to serious felonies and how prosecutors decide what charges to pursue.

With clarity on what the specific charges mean and potential penalties, you can make informed choices when building your defense. Let’s break this down step-by-step so you know what you’re up against.

Simple Assault

Simple assault is the lowest level assault offense in Ohio. It involves knowingly causing physical harm or attempting to cause physical harm to someone else. However, you can be charged even if physical contact isn’t made.

A conviction is a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail and $1,000 in fines.

Examples of simple assault include shoving someone during an argument or creating minor scratches during a scuffle.

Aggravated Assault

This is where charges escalate to serious felony territory with heavy fines and months or years of jail time on the line. Aggravated assault in Ohio involves causing serious physical harm to another person in a fit of rage or sudden passion. This charge is largely based on your mental state during the crime.

Aggravated assault is charged as a fourth-degree felony punishable by up to six years in prison and fines of up to $5,000.

As seasoned assault and battery lawyers, our firm has helped many clients facing aggravated assault charges understand their options for plea bargaining or challenging problematic evidence at trial. There are paths forward.

Negligent Assault

Negligent assault in Ohio is recklessly causing physical harm through actions like accidentally firing a gun at a shooting range and injuring someone — meaning there was no intent to cause harm.

Despite the lack of malice, negligent assault is still considered a third-degree misdemeanor in Ohio. Negligent assault convictions can lead to 60 days in jail and up to $500 in fines.

Specific details always determine the outcome, and an aggressive legal defense can make a difference.

Felony Assault

In Ohio, felony assault is the most serious type of assault charge, carrying steep penalties. These charges typically involve the use of weapons.

Penalties can include the following:

  • Second-degree felony — Up to eight years in prison and up to $15,000 in fines.
  • First-degree felony — Up to 11 years in prison and up to $20,000 in fines.
  • First-degree felony — Between three to 11 years in prison and up to $20,000 in fines.

We’ve defended clients against allegations of felony assault that were exaggerated or taken out of context. Thorough investigation and advocacy can reveal the full story.

How Do Prosecutors Determine the Type of Assault Charge?

With assault encompassing everything from minor offenses to serious felonies in Ohio, what makes the difference in the severity of charges?

Prosecutors and judges consider several factors:

  • Injuries caused – More serious physical harm leads to higher charges. Minor scrapes may be simple assault versus broken bones or wounds constituting aggravated assault.
  • The weapon used – Any assault involving a deadly weapon elevates the charges due to increased danger. Hands, fists, or feet are viewed differently than knives, bats, or firearms, even in otherwise similar assaults.
  • Status of the victim – Attacking a police officer, a minor, elderly, or disabled person leads to harsher charges than assaults on able-bodied adults. These groups are seen as more vulnerable.
  • Intent – Was the attack purposeful, or did it result from reckless, negligent behavior? Intentional harm brings aggravated charges.
  • Prior criminal history – Repeat offenders face escalating charges, while first-time assault leads to more leniency.

The totality of circumstances determines where a given assault lands on the spectrum of charges under Ohio statutes. An experienced criminal defense attorney thoroughly analyzes all these factors to build the strongest case.

Are You Facing Assault Charges in Ohio?

Being arrested for any kind of assault can make you feel trapped in a nightmare. But you have more options than you realize. For years, our firm has been helping Ohio residents navigate assault charges to reach the best possible resolutions.

We have the experience to build a strong defense while avoiding unnecessary risks. If any part of your case doesn’t sit right – question marks about certain evidence, gaps in the police report, murky circumstances – we know how to bring those issues to light.

We know you’re scared about what happens next. That knot in your stomach won’t go away overnight. But take comfort in the fact that you are not alone in this fight. We are here as your advocate to listen and provide honest guidance at every turn.

Get Help From the Botnick Law Firm’s Seasoned Attorneys

If you or a loved one are facing assault charges in Ohio, turn to our team for skilled representation focused on YOUR best interests.

At Botnick Law Firm, defending people in your exact situation is our purpose and passion. Contact us today for criminal defense assistance and an initial case review. During this difficult time, you need experienced lawyers on your side. Let us fight for the legal justice and peace of mind you deserve.

Author Bio

Botnick Law Firm

Robert Botnick is CEO and Managing Partner of Botnick Law Firm, a criminal defense law firm in Cleveland, OH. With more than 19 years of experience in criminal defense, he has zealously represented clients in a wide range of legal matters, including DUIs, misdemeanors, felonies, domestic violence, and other criminal charges.

Robert received his Juris Doctor from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law at Cleveland State University and is a member of the Ohio State Bar Association. He has received numerous accolades for his work, including the Best DUI Lawyers in Cleveland award by

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