Arkansas divides assault into aggravated assault (the most serious), assault in the first degree, assault in the second degree, and assault in the third degree. The difference in degrees depends on the accused's intent, whether the accused used a firearm, and the seriousness of the risks created. Aggravated assault is a felony, while first, second, and third degree assault are misdemeanors.
To learn more about assault in the first degree, see Assault in the First Degree in Arkansas. For more information on assault in the second degree, see Assault in the Second Degree in Arkansas. To learn about assault in the third degree, see Assault in the Third Degree in Arkansas.
A person commits aggravated assault, classified as a Class D felony, if the person, under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life, purposely does any of the following:
(Ark. Code Ann. § 5-13-204.)
People act purposely when they consciously intend to engage in what they're doing or to cause a result. For example, if a defendant aims a gun at another person and threatens to shoot the other person, the defendant has purposefully displayed the firearm.
(Ark. Code Ann. § 5-2-202.)
Firearm means any device designed, made, or adapted to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive, or any device readily convertible to that use. Moreover, the definition includes these devices even if they are unloaded or missing a component, such as an ammunition clip.
(Ark. Code Ann. § 5-1-102.)
Serious physical injury means either:
(Ark. Code Ann. § 5-1-102.)
A judge or jury must often examine the specific facts of a case and determine whether an alleged victim has suffered serious physical injury or whether an accused has acted purposefully. For example, in one case a jury determined that a police officer suffered serious physical injury after the accused threw a rock that hit the officer, causing a bruised shoulder and a damaged nerve. In another case, spitting on a victim constituted purposeful behavior.
Someone convicted of aggravated assault can be subjected to any or all of the following penalties:
(Ark. Code Ann. § § 5-4-401, 5-4-702, 16-90-102, 5-4-501, 16-90-121, 5-4-201, 5-4-205.)
For more information on felony sentencing in Arkansas, see Arkansas Felony Crimes by Class and Sentences.
If you are facing a charge of aggravated assault, consider consulting with an experienced criminal defense attorney who regularly practices in your area. A lawyer understands complicated legal definitions. Additionally, numerous defenses apply to charges of aggravated assault and a lawyer can evaluate the strength of the prosecution's case against you and help develop any defenses that might apply to your case.
A lawyer's skillful negotiation with the prosecutor also can sometimes result in a reduction of charges or a reduction in penalties, such as less prison time, no prison time, probation, and lower fines. A local criminal defense attorney, who knows how the prosecutors and judges involved in your case typically handle such cases, can assist with these negotiations. Finally, if you decide to go to trial, having a good lawyer to assist you will be essential.