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What Makes an Act an Aggravated Assault in Oklahoma?

Illustration depicting cutout printed letters arranged to form the word assault.When a disagreement turns hostile, and someone ends up injured (or at least claims to be injured), the police can get called in and you might end up facing criminal charges for your alleged acts. What crime the prosecutors decide to charge you with can make a huge difference in the type of criminal penalties you face. The crimes may all sound the same to you – assault, aggravated assault, battery – but they each are different under Oklahoma law, and a prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you are guilty of the crime charged. Below, we will get into what the definition of aggravated assault is in Oklahoma, but first we will discuss how assault and battery are defined.

Assault

You might think of “assault” as being a violent act in which physical contact is made with another person, but, under Oklahoma state law, an assault is defined as “any willful and unlawful attempt or offer with force or violence to do a corporal hurt to another.” What this means is that assault is merely trying to carry out a violent act against another person or threatening to do so. Thus, if you try to take a swing at a person, or even just threaten to punch them but do not actually do so, you can be guilty of assault in Oklahoma. Assault is punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a $500 fine.

Battery

In Oklahoma, battery is defined as “any willful and unlawful use of force or violence upon the person of another.” Thus, unlike assault, battery actually requires that violent contact be made with another person’s body. Battery must be willful, meaning you must have intentionally carried out the act, and it cannot be accidental. The other person also must not have consented, e.g. in a boxing or wrestling match. Battery is punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a $1000 fine, with higher penalties when the victim is a family member or belonging to some other special classification.

Aggravated Assault

Aggravated assault is where there is a battery (meaning violent physical contact) and one of the following elements is met:

  • When great bodily injury is inflicted upon the person assaulted, or
  • When committed by a person of robust health or strength upon one who is aged, decrepit, or incapacitated

The law defines “great bodily injury” as including

  • bone fracture
  • protracted and obvious disfigurement
  • protracted loss or impairment of the function of a body part
  • organ or mental faculty, or
  • substantial risk of death

The punishment for aggravated assault in up to 5 years in the state penitentiary. Clearly, a sentence of five years is much more severe than the 90 day maximum sentence for battery. Thus, working with an experienced criminal defense attorney to fight aggravated assault charges and potentially negotiate the charges down to battery can be critical to defending your long-term freedom.

Experienced Criminal Defense in Your Oklahoma Aggravated Assault Case

If you have been charged with or are under investigation for any type of violent crime – whether it be aggravated assault, assault, battery, or even robbery or homicide – you face serious criminal penalties. Make sure you do everything you can to mount your best possible defense in your case to defend your freedom. Oklahoma City criminal defense attorney Patrick Quillian is a former district attorney who has the experience, skills, and dedication to work towards the best possible outcome in your case. Contact his office today at 405.294.4448 to schedule a consultation.