What is Felonious Assault?
How do you legally define it?
What are the essential elements you should know!
In this article, we will break down the legal definition of Felonious Assault so you know all there is to know about it!
Keep reading as we have gathered exactly the information that you need!
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Table of Contents
What Is Felonious Assault
Felonious assault is when a person attacks another with a weapon putting another at risk of serious injury or death.
Let’s break down the term “felonious assault” into its components to better understand its meaning.
“Assault” means to cause someone to feel threatened or fear that they may be inflicted physical injuries.
“Felony” means is a crime generally involving violence that is more serious than a misdemeanor and is punishable by law with imprisonment of generally more than a year.
“Felonious” is a malicious act committed with the intention to commit a crime.
“Felonious assault” means to threaten to cause harm to another with a weapon.
With felonious assault crimes, the use of the weapon is the aggravating factor resulting in heavier penalties and sanctions than pure assault cases.
There are different types of assault, such as:
- Simple assault
- Physical assault
- Aggravated assault
- Sexual assault
- Verbal assault
- Felonious assault
Each of the different types of assault have their own unique characteristics.
With felonious assaults, the defendant has unlawfully attacked (or attempted to attack) another using force or violence to cause physical injuries while using a weapon.
How do you define felonious assault?
You can define felonious assault refers to instances when someone threatens another to cause them serious harm using some sort of a weapon.
Due to the fact that the assaulting party threatens to use a weapon, the law considers this crime to be serious to a point that it will punish it as a felony.
For the prosecutor to successfully prosecute a felonious assault case, four elements must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt:
- The defendant attempted or acted in such a way as to cause the victim to fear an imminent attack
- The defendant has the intention to cause harm to the victim or make the victim fear that he or was going to be harmed
- The defendant was capable or appeared capable of committing the offense
- The defendant used a weapon when committing the offense
What is considered a weapon?
A weapon can be any object that can be used to inflict bodily injuries or physically harm another.
Evidently, there are the “obvious” weapons such as guns, revolvers, and pistols.
However, other objects can be used as weapons, such as:
- Kitchen knives
- Broken glass
- Steel rod
Also, a defendant will be accused and convicted of assault of the type “felonious” when he or she either uses the weapon or threatens to use the weapon.
The actual firing of a gun or the actual use of a weapon is not required to be found guilty.
How do you defend against a felonious assault accusation?
Just like any other crime, the prosecutor has a duty to prove the case against the defendant beyond a reasonable doubt.
As such, a typical and classic line of defense is to shed doubt in the mind of the judge or the jury that the defendant had the “intention” to commit such an office.
As a result, a criminal defense attorney can raise the following arguments to defend a felonious assault crime accusation:
- The defendant was acting out of self-defense
- The defendant had the right to protect his or her property
- The defendant was defending and assisting others at risk
- There was no weapon used
- The defendant did not have the intention to cause harm
What are the penalties for being found guilty of a felonious assault crime?
Due to the severity of the crime, the law punishes felonious assaults as felony crimes.
In other words, these crimes are punished more severely than pure assault cases or other types of misdemeanor charges.
Generally, a convicted defendant may be exposed to jail time, having to pay fines between $5,000 to $10,000, or sentenced to hours of community service.
In the end, the judge or the jury will assess the circumstances of the crime, the injuries caused, and all other factors to render a sentence that will reasonably “punish” the wrongful actions.
What is an example of felonious assault?
Let’s look at a few examples of crimes that can be considered as an assault with a dangerous weapon:
- A person points a gun at another threatening to shoot them
- A person threatens to stab another with a knife
- A person uses brass knuckles to threaten to punch someone in the face
- A person using a steel rod to threaten to attack another
Let’s look at how a felonious assault crime is legally constructed.
In the state of Michigan, in Section 750.82 of the Michigan Penal Code, felonious assault is defined as follows:
(1) Except as provided in subsection (2), a person who assaults another person with a gun, revolver, pistol, knife, iron bar, club, brass knuckles, or other dangerous weapon without intending to commit murder or to inflict great bodily harm less than murder is guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 4 years or a fine of not more than $2,000.00, or both.
It’s clear under this provision that felonious assault is a person assaulting another with a weapon such as a gun, revolver, or other without the intention of murdering the other person.
Also, it provides a maximum of four years of imprisonment along with a fine of no more than $2,000.
Felonious Assault vs Aggravated Assault
What is the difference between felonious assault and aggravated assault?
Although the statutory definitions and requirements may be different depending on your jurisdiction, let’s look at the two types of crimes from a more general perspective to nuance them.
A felonious assault is a type of crime where the defendant assaults another or threatens to assault another using a weapon.
When we talk about “aggravated” assault, that’s when we take into consideration the victim’s injuries into consideration and the law considers that there is an aggravating factor to consider.
For example, a victim that was effectively assaulted using a knife and had to receive immediate medical attention and is left with a permanent scar is effectively an aggravating factor.
If there is disfigurement, physical impairment, or other limitations caused to the victim, the law will recognize that this is more serious and will treat it as such.
So what is the legal definition of Felonious Assault?
Let’s look at a summary of our findings.
If you enjoyed this article on Felonious Assault, we recommend you look into the following legal terms and concepts. Enjoy!
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