Can someone be charged with a felony for hitting someone just once?

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Can someone be charged with a felony for hitting someone just once?

My stepdad was punched in the face by a random man. The man had been drinking and was angry with his wife, stormed out of the establishment and hit the first person he saw (my stepdad). The man only hit my step dad once but broke 4 bones in his face and required him to have facial reconstruction surgery (pins, screws, stitches, and 2 metal plates). The cops originally said the man would have a class 3 felony. Now they are saying that because he was only hit once, the man will be charged with a misdemeanor. Because so much damage was caused, shouldn’t this be a felony?

Asked on April 16, 2012 under Criminal Law, Virginia

Answers:

Kevin Bessant / Law Office of Kevin Bessant & Associates

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

What determines the felony vs misdemeanor charge is the level of injuries caused to the victim. In Michigan, Simple assault (misdemeanor) is where the person was hit, but no severe injuries. Aggravated Assault is where the person suffered an injury (misdemeanor). Felonious Assault is a felony where a weapon was used. Assault with intent to do great bodily harm (10 year felony) is where the person assaulted the victim with an intent to cause great bodily harm and severe injury to the victim. Being hit once may nullify a great bodily harm felony, but the injuries suffered may be enough to charge him with aggravated assault, but this indeed would only be a high level misdemeanor (max 1 yr in jail).


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