When Is an Assault Charge Elevated to Aggravated Assault in Illinois?

St. Charles aggravated assault defense attorney

Under Illinois law, “assault” is defined as putting someone in reasonable fear of battery. Actions causing actual bodily harm or physical contact that is offensive, provocative, or unwanted can be considered battery. There are some circumstances that can cause an assault charge to be elevated to an aggravated assault charge. The criminal penalties associated with aggravated assault are much harsher than those for an assault charge. If you have been arrested and charged with aggravated assault, it is crucial that you speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney to learn about your defense options.

You Can Be Charged with Assault Even if You Do Not Physically Injure Someone

Most people assume that the word “assault” refers to punching, hitting, or otherwise injuring someone. However, you can be charged with assault for simply saying something threatening to someone or making a gesture that puts them in fear of being physically harmed. Assault is a Class C misdemeanor in Illinois, which is punishable by up to 30 days in jail, up to 120 hours of community service, and a fine of up to $1,500.

Illinois Law Regarding Aggravated Assault

When certain elements are present, an assault charge may be raised to an aggravated assault charge. For example, if the alleged assault took place on public property such as a public park or in a sports venue or public place of amusement such as a state fair, it will be considered aggravated assault. Aggravated assault may also be charged if an alleged act of assault is committed against certain individuals, including:

  • A physically disabled person

  • Someone over the age of 60

  • A school employee on school grounds

  • A peace officer, police volunteer, firefighter, private security guard, EMS worker, probation officer, correctional officer, or utility worker while he or she is performing official duties

  • A state employee

  • A transit employee or passenger 

  • A coach or sports official

An alleged assault is also considered aggravated assault if an individual uses a deadly weapon, a firearm, or a laser sight. You could also face aggravated assault charges for driving a motor vehicle in a way that causes someone to fear being struck by the vehicle or if you concealed your identity in some way during the alleged assault.

Contact a St. Charles Aggravated Assault Lawyer

You can be arrested and charged with assault for threatening someone with harm. If certain elements are present, the charge may be elevated to an aggravated assault charge. A conviction for aggravated assault may be considered a Class A misdemeanor or a Class 4 felony depending on the circumstances. If you are convicted of felony aggravated assault, you could face up to three years in prison. For help fighting an assault or aggravated assault charge, contact the Law Office of Glenn M. Sowa, LLC. Call us today at 630-232-1780 to schedule a free initial consultation with an experienced Illinois criminal defense attorney.