All Assault Laws & Penalties

Edited by Edward La Rue

Simple Assault – Laws & Penalties

Assault, also referred to as simple assault, is considered a misdemeanor in most circumstances. Assault can be committed by:

  • Knowingly causing or attempting to cause physical harm to another or to another’s unborn.
  • Recklessly causing serious physical harm to another or to another’s unborn.

Does this mean I can be charged with assault for something that happened on accident?

Yes. If you acted recklessly and it led to serious physical harm of someone then you can be charged and potentially found guilty of this offense. For instance, if you are drinking and at a party when you decide to juggle knives, your actions could be considered reckless, particularly if you do not know how to juggle. If your juggling leads to the injury of someone, even unintentional, you can be charged with assault.

In most cases assault is considered a first degree misdemeanor and is punishable by up to 6 months in jail and fines up to $1,000.

Negligent Assault – Laws & Penalties 

Negligent assault is one that is committed without intent. To be negligent means that through your neglect, harm was done. For instance, if you are a professional knife juggler and decide to juggle knives but neglect to take time to move back from your audience knowing the risk exists for a knife to go awry you are being negligent. If the juggling act ends in harm to someone, you could be charged with negligent assault.

According to the law, negligent assault occurs when physical harm is caused through the negligent use of a deadly weapon. A common example of negligent assault is hunting accidents.

Negligent assault is considered a 3rd degree misdemeanor and is punishable by jail time up to 60 days and fines up to $500.


Ohio Felony Assault – Laws & Penalties

Typically a second degree felony, felonious assault can be committed in a few different ways. If there is probable cause (or a good reason to believe) that you committed any of the following, you may be charged with this offense:

  • Cause serious harm to someone or an unborn child, or
  • Cause or attempt to cause harm through the use of a deadly weapon.

A second degree felony typically carries a potential sentence of 2-8 years in prison and fines up to $20,000. A very serious penalty for what the courts consider a very serious crime.

Aggravated Assault – Laws & Penalties

Slightly less severe than felonious assault, aggravated assault is very similarly written in Ohio Laws. The difference between a felonious assault and an aggravated assault is the manner in which they are committed.

Aggravated assault is when you:

  • Cause serious harm to someone or an unborn child, or
  • Cause or attempt to cause harm through the use of a deadly weapon

And does this while in “under the influence of sudden passion or in a sudden fit of rage”.

The court recognizes that when in an extreme rage or while feeling high levels of passion, a person may not act rationally. For this reason, when an assault is committed in this heightened state, it is punished less severely.

Under Ohio law, aggravated assault is a 4th degree felony and is punishable by a prison term of 18 months to 6 years and fines of up to $5,000.

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About the author

Edward La Rue

Attorney Edward R. La Rue is a compassionate and dedicated litigator who provides criminal defense for good people in Cleveland. He puts his extensive experience to work in difficult cases involving cutting edge technology and the most complex legal issues at the forefront of criminal law.

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