Exclusively Practicing Criminal Defense for
Two Decades
David Olshansky

Assault / Aggravated Assault

The Illinois criminal code divides crimes into two distinct categories. There are crimes that can be carried out against property and crimes that can be carried out against a person.

Assault is an offense that is carried out against a person. Its legal understanding is slightly different than common perception.

The common perception is that an assault is carried out when a person uses physical violence against another person which ends up in injury. However, the legal definition of assault states that assault is committed when a person engages in conduct that puts another person in reasonable apprehension of receiving a battery.

This means that a person can be charged with an assault even if they have not made actual physical contact with another person.

When a person has caused actual, physical harm to another person, it is considered an act of battery. in the legal system battery and assault are covered under different sections of the law. You will need a Chicago assault lawyer to help defend your case.

Illinois State Legislation

Assault is covered in section 12-1 of 720 ILCS. According to law, a person commits an assault when he or she engages in conduct that places another person at the risk of receiving a battery. Assault includes both physical harm and threats to physically harm another person.

An aggravated assault is covered by section 12-2. A person is said to have committed aggravated assault when they use a deadly weapon, such as a firearm, and discharge it in the direction of another person. Aggravated assault is also committed when a person threatens or attempts to assault a person with a physical disability, a teacher, a park grounds employee, a peace officer or a person summoned and being directed by a peace officer.

Peace officers include firemen, police officers, emergency management workers, medical services personnel, private security guards or correctional officers etc.

Aggravated assault is also committed when a person is hooded or masked in a way to conceal his or her identity while giving the impression of carrying a firearm while committing assault.

Punishment for Assault and Aggravated Assault

Simple assault is a Class C misdemeanor with 30 days in jail and a fine of up to $500 in case of conviction.

Aggravated assault is more serious and a Class A misdemeanor with jail time of up to one year and a maximum penalty of $2,500. In some situation, the prosecution may try aggravated assault as a Class 4 felony which carries a maximum prison sentence of 3 years.

Considerations for Assault

There is a misperception about the legal usage of the term and its day-to-day usage. For this reason, some people are not even aware of having committed assault because they believe they have not made any physical contact with the victim. But under the law, if a person feels a threat of receiving a battery from another person, they can press charges for assault. Chicago assault lawyer David Olshansky can assist in making this determination.

One important factor is the intent. If a person ends up causing an injury to another person inadvertently, like in the case of an accident, this cannot be tried in court as an assault case.

Another thing to consider is that assault can take place even when there is no physical injury or contact. According to one previous case, even a poke in the chest can be considered and tried as an assault.

Examples of Assault and Aggravated Assault

An Illinois man was recently charged with robbing a motor vehicle and simple assault on his father after an argument took place between the two. The two men were driving through the countryside when an argument started over directions. Fahrenbacher, who was a passenger in the pickup truck, allegedly stabbed his father twice in the right arm.

The older man pulled to the side of the road and got out. His son reportedly chased him around the parked vehicle before getting in the truck and driving off.

In another case, a man from Chicago was recently charged with two cases of aggravated assault after he tried to strike a police officer with his car. According to the Attorney’s office, the officers conducted a traffic stop on a car allegedly driven by Auterberry.

One of the officers tried to approach the parked vehicle from the front. The driver allegedly drove his vehicle towards the officer, coming close to him before the officer fired his service weapon.

The man crashed his car into another parked vehicle and fled the scene. He was later arrested without incident.

Lastly, a woman was arrested in Mattoon on the charge of aggravated assault. The woman chased a man around the parking lot of an apartment complex in the city with a knife.

Possible Legal Defenses

Assault is a Class C misdemeanor with a relatively small prison term and fines. Aggravated assault can be more complicated to deal with, especially if it is committed against a “special victim”, such as a law enforcement or peace officer. An aggravated assault can lead to Class 4 and Class 3 charges which carry longer prison terms.

This is why the prosecution usually builds a strong case for aggravated assault. The defendant’s options depend on the circumstances of the case. An experienced legal counsel can go over the merits of the case and present the options with the highest chances of success.

If the defendant has been wrongfully charged, there is usually compelling evidence to counter the prosecution’s narrative. In order to get a conviction, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that the defendant had the intention and ability for the aggravated assault.

One avenue open for defense is to argue from the perspective of intention. A good legal defense team may be able to prove that the defendant did not actually have an intention to carry out an assault.

Finally, there is the option of a plea bargain where the defendant can admit to the assault in exchange for leniency. The prosecution will be more open to plea bargain if they don’t feel confident about their case. On the other hand, if the prosecution is convinced on the strengths of their case, they will be less open to negotiations.

Contact Chicago criminal defense lawyers at the Law Office of David S. Olshanksy for immediate assistance if you have been charged with an assault or aggravated assault. We can be reached at 312-902-3344 or online here.