Simple assault is the least serious form of assault, usually involving minor injury or a limited threat of violence, according to CriminalDefenseLawyer.com. It is usually considered a Class 2 misdemeanor, the third highest level of misdemeanor, states David Burgess Law.
Assault is a crime of violence, and simple assault is defined differently in different states. In general, verbal threats usually do not constitute an assault; some physical action is usually required. Also, if the simple assault is against someone who is disabled, or a community worker, it can be treated more seriously, states CriminalDefenseLawyer.com. These persons could include police officers, firefighters, teachers, judges or utility workers. Aggravated assault is the next serious offense and usually involves a deadly weapon.
The simple assault misdemeanor is usually punishable by six months to one year in jail, depending on the state. The judge has discretion as to the length of the sentence or any other special consideration. Often, a person receives the option to perform community service or participate in a criminal education program. Since it is not considered a felony, one also usually has the option for a plea bargain or other sentencing arrangements to keep their criminal records as clean as possible. Self-defense, defense of a family member or defense of a third-person are all defenses to simple assault, according to David Burgess Law.