Unlike the direct physical violence that is associated with charges of battery, assault is instead defined as the unlawful attempt to injure another person or the use of verbal or written threat in a way that left the alleged victim fearful that such an action was inevitable or possible. When the assault is carried out with the addition of aggravating factors, the charge will be bumped up to the crime of aggravated assault and will have exponentially more severe penalties.
These aggravated factors can include the inclusion of a deadly weapon during the crime, an action that could lead to severe bodily injury, or the use of toxic chemicals. To be considered a deadly weapon during an assault, the weapon must be a firearm that is either unloaded or defective in a way that would cause it to be unable to be fired. Punishments for the successful conviction of an assault include such things as fines up to $1,000 and imprisonment up to three months. Aggravated assault, on the other hand, carries with it up to five years spent in state prison along with a fine of up to $5,000.