14 April, 2021

The sentences for an assault conviction depend on the state’s law in which you committed the offense. The specifics and circumstances of the case will also play a role. This article will provide you with an overview of assault convictions and explain the different penalties, helping you determine how many years in jail for an assault charge you could serve.

how long can you go to jail for assault


What Is Assault?

Assault is a crime of violence that involves threats of bodily harm. While different states view assault differently, there are a few main divisions.

Assault as Physical Connection

In some states, assault is defined as the intentional use of violence or force against another. This violence could include punching or striking a person with an object. In such states, attempted assault is defined as the act intended to cause the victim physical harm.

Assault as an Attempt To Physical Touch

Assault in other states does not need actual physical contact. Such states define assault as threatening actions that lead a person to fear impending violence. Though the person has to believe the threat to be a credible one, verbal threats are not enough to warrant an assault charge.


Forms of Assault Charges

On top of the varying definitions, there are also different types of assault charges.

Simple Assault

Simple assault is the least severe form of assault. It typically involves minor injuries or limited threats of violence.

Aggravated Assault

This form involves circumstances and situations that make the crime more severe. It might include striking someone with a dangerous object, shooting someone, or assaulting someone with the intent to commit another crime.


Penalties Involved in an Assault Charge

The surrounding circumstances and seriousness of the threat will determine whether the assault charge will be a misdemeanor or a felony. Depending on the state, a misdemeanor assault charge carries a possible jail term of less than a year. On the other hand, a felony is punishable by up to 10 or 20 years of imprisonment. In most cases, simple assault cases are treated as misdemeanors.

Penalties for Aggravated Assault

The penalties for aggravated assaults are often steeper, especially if the sentencing is for assault with a deadly weapon. However, the judge will have some discretion on how long the maximum sentence for assault will be and whether to permit the defendant to serve a portion of it on probation instead of in prison.

Some of the factors a judge would take into account often include:

  • The defense presented at trial
  • Remorse shown by the defendant
  • Circumstances surrounding the felony
  • Extent of injuries
  • Defendant’s previous criminal record
  • Victim’s relationship to the defendant


Are There Ways of Staying Out of Assault Convictions?

It is possible to stay out of assault convictions. Some of the factors that are often considered for no jail time for assault include:

  • Having a stable job
  • A lack of criminal history
  • Having strong, healthy relationship ties
  • Absence of alcohol or drug dependence

Having an experienced and knowledgeable criminal defense attorney can also help.

Getting charged with assault can be a scary and stressful time for many. That’s why you must have the right criminal defense attorney by your side.

If you are facing assault charges, reach out to Matthew Leyba at 206-258-6031 for a free consultation.