Kansas Assault and Aggravated Assault Laws

Assault charges can lead to misdemeanor or felony penalties in Kansas.

By , Attorney · Mitchell Hamline School of Law
Updated April 11, 2024

Threatening to harm someone can result in assault charges in Kansas. Read on to learn how Kansas classifies and penalizes assault and aggravated assault crimes.

What Is Considered Assault in Kansas?

In Kansas, a person commits assault by knowingly placing another in fear of immediate bodily harm. To be an assault, the defendant must appear able to make good on the threats.

Examples of assault could include raising a fist and threatening to pummel the victim, angrily chasing a victim and trying to grab their hair to pull them down, or menacingly moving toward a victim while threatening to kick the daylights out of them.

Assault doesn't require any injuries. If a victim suffers injuries, the crime becomes battery.

What Are the Penalties for Assault in Kansas?

Assault starts as a class C person misdemeanor, punishable by up to a month in jail and a $500 fine. Kansas increases the penalty when the assault victim is a law enforcement officer or university or campus police officer engaged in their duties. Assaulting an officer carries class A misdemeanor penalties of up to one year of jail time and a $2,500 fine.

What Is Aggravated Assault in Kansas?

A defendant who commits an assault with a deadly weapon, while disguised, or with the intent to commit a felony can face aggravated assault changes.

Deadly weapons include anything designed to be a weapon, such as a gun (loaded or unloaded), a knife, or brass knuckles, or anything that can be used to inflict bodily harm, such as a baseball bat or a crowbar. In court cases, judges have found the following to be deadly weapons: driving a vehicle at someone, threatening to douse someone with gasoline, and charging at a victim with "writing instruments."

The classic example of aggravated assault is pointing a gun at someone. Other examples of aggravated assault could include a defendant who wields and jabs a knife at someone or a defendant who shouts "get down or else" while wearing a ski mask.

What Are the Penalties for Aggravated Assault in Kansas?

Aggravated assault carries felony penalties. Committing aggravated assault against a law enforcement officer is severity level 6, person felony. In all other cases, it's a severity level 7, person felony.

For a level 6 felony, a defendant faces around 1½ to 4 years of prison time. The approximate sentence for a severity level 7 is one to 3 years of incarceration. The actual sentence will depend on the circumstances of the offense and the defendant's criminal history.

Will You Go to Jail for Assault or Aggravated Assault in Kansas?

It depends. Judges consider several factors when sentencing someone.

Misdemeanor Assault Sentencing

For misdemeanor assault, a first-time offender might see little to no jail time. A judge might order the defendant to serve their sentence on probation, under house arrest, or under another sentencing alternative. However, if the circumstances warrant, a judge can order an offender to spend time in jail. For example, a judge might impose jail sentences for repeat offenders or defendants who target vulnerable victims.

Felony Aggravated Assault Sentencing

Defendants convicted of felony aggravated assault will be sentenced under Kansas's sentencing guidelines. The guidelines specify whether a defendant should be sentenced to prison or probation based on the severity level of the crime and the defendant's criminal history.

Most convictions for severity level 7 felonies carry probation (rather than prison) sentences, unless the defendant has two or more prior convictions for person felonies. Having a history of person felonies makes the defendant eligible for a prison sentence. A defendant could also face prison time if the crime involved any "aggravating factors," such as targeting someone as a hate crime.

Aggravated assault against a police officer (severity level 6) carries a prison sentence regardless of criminal history.

Defenses to Assault and Aggravated Assault Charges in Kansas

A person facing assault or aggravated assault charges can fight the charges in several ways, including by poking holes in the prosecution's case or by raising an affirmative defense.

Self-defense. A defendant might claim self-defense or defense of others if the alleged victim started the altercation or was about to. To be successful, the defendant can only use as much force as is reasonably necessary to prevent the threatened injuries.

Reasonable doubt. The defense might also try to poke holes in the prosecution's case by arguing the prosecution failed to prove the required intent or aggravating factors. In this case, the defense might be able to get the charges dismissed or reduced.

Talk to a Lawyer

If you're facing criminal charges or an investigation for assault, talk to a criminal defense attorney. A defense attorney can review the case and determine if any defenses may apply. Your attorney can also walk you through the criminal legal process and help you understand what's at stake.

(Kan. Stat. §§ 21-5222, 21-5412, 21-6604, 21-6804(g) (2024).)

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