Arkansas assault laws enforce penalties ranging from misdemeanors for first, second, and third degree assault to a felony for aggravated assault. Understanding the difference between the charges and the penalties each brings can help you plan your legal defense if you believe you may be charged with assault.
The below information should be used as a guideline only, as laws and their enforcement may change over time. And while we try to keep all information in these posts up-to-date and accurate, with any charge of assault and battery you should consider consulting with an experienced criminal defense attorney.
FIRST DEGREE ASSAULT
You may be charged with assault in the first degree – a Class A Misdemeanor – if you engage in reckless behavior that places a substantial risk of death or serious physical injury on another individual OR prevents circulation or respiration through applied pressure or blocking of the neck, throat, nose, or mouth.
SECOND DEGREE ASSAULT
You may be charged with assault in the second degree – a Class B Misdemeanor – if you recklessly engage in behavior that places a substantial risk of physical injury on another individual.
THIRD DEGREE ASSAULT
You may be charged with assault in the third degree – a Class C Misdemeanor – if you purposefully create the fear of imminent physical injury to another person.
Aggravated assault implies circumstances of extreme indifference to the value of human life. You may be charged with aggravated assault – a Class D Felony – if you purposefully
- Engage in conduct that places a substantial danger of death or serious physical injury to another person, or
- Display a firearm in such a way that substantial danger of death or serious physical injury is present, or
- Prevent circulation or respiration of another person through pressure to the neck or throat or blocking the nose or mouth of the other person.
Aggravated assault does not apply to law enforcement officers acting within the line of duty or individuals acting in self-defense or the defense of a third party.
A common misconception is that assault and battery are the same offense, and defending against one is the equivalent of defending against the other. The truth is a little more complicated, and you should consider consulting with an experienced attorney if you are facing Assault and/or Battery charges.