We’ve talked before about the way that “simple” assault charges are applied under Illinois law.
Now, let’s talk about what it means when the prosecution ups the ante and charges someone with aggravated assault.
What is aggravated assault?
Putting someone in fear of immediate violence is all it takes for a simple assault charge. Not all assault charges are treated alike, however.
When certain circumstances apply, an assault is considered particularly serious, or “aggravated.” Under the statues in Illinois, you can be charged with aggravated assault when you threaten someone and cause them to fear for their immediate safety while:
- Using a firearm or another deadly weapon
- Using an object that is designed to appear like a deadly weapon (including putting your finger in a hoodie pocket and pretending to aim a gun at someone)
- Use a motor vehicle to intentionally create fear
- Record the assault with the idea of sharing the recording with others
- Assault someone on public property or a place of public amusement or accommodation, including sports venues, houses of worship and on public roads
In addition, you may be charged with aggravated assault based on the mere identity of your victim. Certain people have special status or protections under the law, including:
- Peace officers
- Emergency medical personnel
- Correction officers
- Park employees
- School officials and teachers
- Seniors over 60 years of age
- Someone with physical disabilities
In the heat of the moment, it’s unlikely that you’re thinking about all these things — but you can bet that the prosecution will comb through the circumstances of the incident to look for ways to raise the stakes.
What happens if you’re convicted of aggravated assault?
Aggravated assault can be charged as either a Class A misdemeanor or a Class 3 or 4 felony, all of which carry the potential for prison time, heavy fines, probation and restitution to the victim.
Many times, the charges prosecutors apply are highly subjective. It takes an experienced attorney to know how to look for weak points in the prosecution’s case. If you’re facing aggravated assault charges, take immediate action to protect your future.