Assault is one of the most basic types of crimes in criminal law, and happens as an unwanted violation of a person’s space. In many states, you can be charged with the crime of assault as long as there was some realistic threat of attack on another person. However, it must be noted that you could be charged with either misdemeanor or felony assault. But what dictates the differences between the two?

Misdemeanor vs. Felony 

If you have been charged with misdemeanor assault, you probably already know that the penalties will be less than if you were charged with a felony. For instance, you will not serve more than a year in jail or a small fine. However, with felony assault you see much more severe circumstances with a minimum of a year in prison and your prison sentence will take place in a state facility. These are for those convicted of the most serious crimes.

Usually, aggravated assault is the type of assault that calls for felony charges. Sometimes, what distinguishes between a misdemeanor and felony is the simple distinction between a slap to the face or a punch that leads to a broken jaw or other severe injuries. In your case, the prosecution will have to show that the felony assault involved intent, in which you intended to cause harm to another person. It must have led to a physical injury of some kind, and in some states this even includes mental trauma.

If You Have Been Charged 

If you have been charged and you believe you were acting in self-defense, this is something that you need to speak with to your attorney about. By using this defense, you may be able to avoid the severe penalties that coincide with felony assault. In California, the sentencing range for a felony assault is 16 months to 3 years long, with fines up to $2,000. If you have aggravating circumstances, these could be added on and you could receive an even longer sentence. This is why it is important to speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney at this time. We can help you get the best outcome to your case and hopefully help you avoid severe penalties. Call us today.