Why wasIcharged with a assault 4 felony and not a misdemeanor if I just slapped someone?

I slaped a family member who was verbally abusing me. My 14 year -old sister came up from behind and saw it. I know what I did was wrong but I dont know why it was considered a felony.

Asked on July 26, 2010 under Criminal Law, Oregon


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

I believe the reason is the presence of your 14-year old sister. While you are correct that assault 4 is usually a misdemeanor, there are several factors that can turn it into a felony. One of this is:

"(c) The assault was . . . witnessed by . . . a minor child residing within the household of the person [committing the assuault] or the victim."

If your sister, who is a minor, lives in the same house as you or the person you hit, that would seem to be enough, in and of itself, to upgrade the offense to a felony. (N.B. some other factors that can also upgrade it include if the victim was pregnant or your having previously assaulted the same family member.)

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