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Understanding simple assault charges

On Behalf of | Apr 26, 2021 | Criminal Defense

Mississippi residents who are accused of assault fall into one of two categories. These include either a simple assault or an aggravated assault. A simple assault carries the least amount of penalties with it and is considered a misdemeanor under state law.

What is simple assault?

In the state of Mississippi, a simple assault can happen in one of three scenarios. The first is that the defendant recklessly caused or attempted to cause bodily injury to another person. The second is if the defendant negligently caused bodily injury with an instrument that is highly likely to cause death or injury. The third is that the defendant threatened another person in a way that made them fear imminent bodily injury.

Any criminal defense attorney can reveal that the defendant does not actually have to intend to cause harm. If a defendant inflicted injury on another person because they were reckless, they could still be found guilty of simple assault. Reckless actions are classified as those done without any level of reasonable care or regard for the consequences of other people.

With discriminatory intent

A simple assault charge could be worsened in its degree if there was discriminatory intent involved. Discriminatory intent means that the defendant assaulted a person solely based on their race, gender, sexual orientation, color or religion. In these types of situations, the penalty for simple assault can be doubled when it has discriminatory intent. Apart from discriminating intent, the charge of simple assault can be upgraded beyond a misdemeanor in the event that it happened to a special person. The special person could be emergency medical personnel, elected officials, law enforcement, social workers, judges and anyone over the age of 64 who is disabled.

Mississippi law is very clear on what a simple assault is. While being charged with a simple asset is typically a misdemeanor, it can be upgraded to a felony in certain cases. It’s always advisable to seek the assistance of an attorney if you’ve been charged with a simple assault.