Did you know that in 2017, there were over 810,000 aggravated assaults in the United States? Among those, 26% involved a firearm. Aggravated assault is a common crime in the US, but it carries stiff penalties, especially if a firearm is present.
Keep reading to learn more about aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and other firearm-related crimes in the state of Louisiana.
What Is Aggravated Assault?
According to the FBI: “aggravated assault is an unlawful attack by one person upon another for the purpose of inflicting severe or aggravated bodily injury.”
Aggravated assault usually involves a weapon or some other method of inflicting severe bodily injury.
Simply attempting aggravated assault is enough to be a crime. Attempted aggravated assault includes the display or threat to use a firearm, knife, or other weapons. If the offender were to complete the offense, severe injury would occur.
This definition varies by state, though. The FBI uses this definition in their Uniform Crime Report (UCR), but every state gets to write their own laws and define crimes in their own way.
How Is Aggravated Assault Defined in Louisiana?
In Louisiana, the definition is very similar to the FBI. Aggravated assault is assault committed with a deadly weapon.
In addition to general aggravated assault, there are also laws that deal with aggravated assault on specific people. Aggravated assault on a dating partner occurs when one dating partner uses a deadly or dangerous weapon to assault another dating partner.
A dating partner includes people who are currently, or have been in the past, involved in a sexual or intimate relationship. These dating partners do not need to live together currently or have lived together in the past.
Domestic abuse aggravated assault, on the other hand, does require that the victim and the offender currently live together or have lived together in the past. Thus, domestic abuse aggravated assault is assault with a dangerous weapon committed by one household member or family member against another.
The family member could be:
- Current and former spouses
- Step-parents and step-children
- Foster parents and foster children
Household members could be anyone that currently lives together or used to live together. Household members must also currently be in, or have been involved in the past, in a sexual or intimate relationship.
This crime could also include children of the offender who lives with him or her or any other children who might live with him or her.
What Is Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon in Louisiana?
Aggravated assault with a firearm. Any discharge of a firearm during the course of an assault is a felony offense. A firearm is “an instrument used in the propulsion of shot, shell, or bullets by the action of gunpowder exploded within it.”
Assault by drive-by shooting. This occurs when a person shoots at another person from a motor vehicle located on a public street or highway, with the intent to kill, injure, or frighten the victim.
Aggravated assault on a police officer with a firearm. This is specific to a police officer who is in the line of duty. It includes attempting to or threatening to shoot the officer or pointing a gun at him or her.
What Are the Penalties?
Aggravated assault is a felony in Louisiana. The penalty depends on the specific type of assault.
Aggravated assault with a firearm can carry a sentence of imprisonment for up to 10 years, with or without hard labor, and a fine of up to $10,000.
Assault by drive-by shooting is also a felony and is punishable by up to five years in prison, with or without hard labor.
Aggravated assault on a police officer with a firearm carries a fine of up to $5,000 and anywhere from one to 10 years in prison, with or without hard labor.
Sentencing Enhancement and Mandatory Minimum Penalties
Louisiana also has something called a sentencing enhancement statute for crimes involving firearms. This means that any time an offender possesses, uses, or discharges a firearm during a crime, there is an additional number of years added on to his or her prison sentence.
This applies to crimes where the use of a firearm isn’t part of the original statute. If a defendant has the gun in his possession while committing a crime, the sentence has to be at least two years in prison or the maximum sentence included in the statute, if it’s less than two years.
If the gun is used, such as if the offender threatened something with it, the sentence is five years in prison. If the gun is discharged, the sentence is a minimum of 10 years in prison.
If bodily injury occurs by the use or discharge of the firearm, the minimum sentence is 15 years in prison. If a firearm is used or discharged during the commission of sexual battery, the minimum sentence is 10 years if the firearm was used and 20 years if the firearm is discharged.
The Bottom Line
If you are charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon or any other crime involving a firearm in Baton Rouge, don’t waste any time — hire a criminal defense attorney. They can help you navigate through the system, advocate for you, and advise you how to plea and whether to accept plea bargains or not.
Finding an experienced attorney is critical. Contact us today to see how we can help you.