Assault is a crime that encapsulates a wide range of conduct directed at another person. Each state has its own laws defining the different types of criminal assault and the associated penalties. While simple assault is usually charged as a misdemeanor, it can at times be charged as a felony, which subjects the defendant to prison time and other stiff penalties.

Under state statute, simple assault is a crime in which the accused does one or more of the following:

  • Attempts to cause another person bodily injury with the ability to inflict an injury. Whether the accused had the ability to physically harm the victim is a question for the judge or jury in each specific case.
  • Recklessly causes another person bodily injury. The accused need not have intended to cause the victim any harm. However, recklessness is more than ordinary negligence or simple carelessness. Someone who is reckless acts with complete disregard for the safety of others.
  • Negligently causes another person bodily injury using a dangerous weapon, such as a firearm or knife.
  • Threatens another person, putting the victim in fear of imminent bodily harm. The person’s fear of suffering injury or death must be reasonable under the circumstances.
  • Intentionally causes another person to suffer minor bodily injury.

Simple assault is charged as a Class 1 misdemeanor for a first offense. If convicted, you may be subject to up to one year in the court jail and/or a fine of up to $2,000. The court may also require you to pay the victim restitution for any financial losses they incurred as a result of the assault. 

A simple assault charge can be elevated to a Class 6 felony for a third offense. This crime carries a punishment of up to two years of imprisonment and/or a $4,000 fine. Assault charges can also be elevated to higher-degree felonies with potentially greater penalties for fourth and subsequent offenses. Convictions for similar crimes in other states may be counted as prior simple assaults for the purpose of elevating charges in South Dakota. Whether you’re facing a misdemeanor or felony assault charge, reaching out to a seasoned criminal defense attorney should be a top priority.

Anker Law Group, P.C. in Rapid City offers staunch legal support to those who have been accused of simple assault. If you have a criminal action pending or are being investigated for a crime, feel free to contact us online or call 605-519-5967 for an initial consultation.

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    1301 West Omaha Street
    Suite 207
    Rapid City, South Dakota 57701