If you are accused of assault in Kentucky, one of the first things you need to find out is which degree the charge is set at. There are first-, second- and third-degree assaults that are all different kinds of felonies. There is also fourth-degree assault, which is a misdemeanor. You may see these identified as Class B, C, and D felonies and Class A misdemeanors.
There are some major differences between misdemeanor and felony offenses in Kentucky. To start with, misdemeanor offenses have lower penalties and are less likely to include jail times exceeding a year. For example, assault in the fourth degree in KY is penalized with a maximum fine of $500 and up to a year in jail.
A fourth-degree assault, a misdemeanor, occurs when a person wantonly or intentionally causes another person harm. It can also be used in situations where physical injury is caused by a dangerous or deadly weapon but the injury was caused by recklessness, not intention.
What makes a felony assault charge different?
There are three felony assault classes. These each vary.
- Felony assault to the first degree occurs when someone intentionally harms another person using a dangerous instrument or deadly weapon. First-degree assault may also include circumstances where the accused showed extreme indifference to human life and caused serious injuries as a result.
- Felony assault to the second degree occurs when someone intentionally causes serious injury to another person with or without a dangerous or deadly weapon. The accused may have wantonly caused serious injuries using those weapons or instruments.
- Felony assault to the third degree happens when someone recklessly or intentionally causes injuries to certain people, such as teachers or police officers. Assault with saliva, vomit or other bodily fluids while knowing that they have a communicable disease may fall into this category as well.
The severity of the crime does make a difference in the penalties. No matter what kinds of charges you face, be aware that you deserve an opportunity to defend yourself and have the right to do so.