Navigating the legal system can sometimes feel daunting, especially when it comes to understanding different charges and what they mean. In Louisiana, the law classifies assault based on the severity of the act and the intention behind it.
Assault does not necessarily mean physical harm occurred; sometimes, even the threat of harm can result in an assault charge. For those residing in or visiting Louisiana, it is important to understand these distinctions.
Simple assault is the most basic form of assault. It encompasses an attempt to cause violence or the intentional act of putting someone in fear of immediate physical harm. For instance, if you threaten someone verbally without actually causing any physical harm, you could face a simple assault charge. While it might sound minor, a judge could give you possible jail time or fines.
Louisiana’s Department of Justice reported that authorities arrested over 5,000 people for aggravated assault in 2021. Aggravated assault is a step up in severity from simple assault. It involves an assault with a dangerous weapon. For instance, if you threaten someone with a knife, even if you do not inflict any injury, the presence of the weapon can elevate the charge to aggravated assault. This charge often carries more severe penalties compared to simple assault, and you could find yourself in jail for up to 10 years.
Assault with a firearm
Threatening someone with a firearm, even if you do not discharge the weapon or cause physical injury, is a specific type of assault. Given the potential lethality of firearms, the state treats this as a distinct category, often with heavier penalties than other forms of assault.
If you face assault charges, it is important to understand the distinctions between different levels of assault so you can navigate situations more informedly and responsibly.