Mississippi Simple & Aggravated Assault

Mississippi criminal defense lawyer Kevin Stewart explains the different classifications of assault in our state.

97-3-7. Simple and aggravated assault;

Simple Assault (misdemeanor) – Up to $500 and/or 6 months jail

  • Elements of the crime:
    • Attempts to cause or purposely, knowingly or recklessly causes bodily injury to another;
    • Negligently causes bodily injury to another with a deadly weapon or other means likely to produce death or serious bodily harm; or
    • Attempts by physical menace to put another in fear of imminent serious bodily harm

Simply Assault on Protected Class (felony) – Up to $1,000 and/or up to 5 years prison

  • Elements of the crime: same as simple assault
  • Conduct must have occurred as it relates to one of the following individuals:
    • When acting within the scope their duty: a statewide elected official, law enforcement officer, fireman, emergency medical personnel, health care provider, social worker, family protection specialist employed by the Department of Human Services, Division of Youth Services personnel, any county or municipal jail officer, superintendent, principal, teacher or other instructional personnel, school attendance officer or school bus driver, any member of the Mississippi National Guard or United States Armed Forces, a judge, district attorney or legal assistant to a district attorney, county prosecutor or municipal prosecutor, court reporter employed by a court, court administrator, clerk or deputy clerk of the court, public defender, or utility worker
    • A legislator while the Legislature is in regular or extraordinary session or while otherwise acting within the scope of his or her duty
    • A person who is 65 years of age or older or a person who is a vulnerable person 

Aggravated Assault (felony) – Up to 1 year in the county jail or up to 20 years in prison

  • Elements of the crime:
    • Attempts to cause serious bodily injury to another, or causes such injury purposely, knowingly or recklessly under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life;
    • Attempts to cause or purposely or knowingly causes bodily injury to another with a deadly weapon or other means likely to produce death or serious bodily harm; or
    • Causes any injury to a child who is in the process of boarding or exiting a school bus in the course of a violation of Section 63-3-615 (passing a stopped school bus)

 Aggravated Assault on Protected Class (felony) – Up to $5,000 and/or up to 30 years prison

  • Conduct: same as aggravated assault but conduct must occur as it relates to one of the following individuals:
    • When acting within the scope their duty: a statewide elected official, law enforcement officer, fireman, emergency medical personnel, health care provider, social worker, family protection specialist employed by the Department of Human Services, Division of Youth Services personnel, any county or municipal jail officer, superintendent, principal, teacher or other instructional personnel, school attendance officer or school bus driver, any member of the Mississippi National Guard or United States Armed Forces, a judge, district attorney or legal assistant to a district attorney, county prosecutor or municipal prosecutor, court reporter employed by a court, court administrator, clerk or deputy clerk of the court, public defender, or utility worker
    • A legislator while the Legislature is in regular or extraordinary session or while otherwise acting within the scope of his or her duty
    • A person who is 65 years of age or older or a person who is a vulnerable perso

(11)(a) Upon conviction under subsection (3), (4) or (5) of this section, the court shall be empowered to issue a criminal protection order prohibiting the defendant from any contact with the victim. The court may include in a criminal protection order any other condition available under Section 93-21-15. The duration of a criminal protection order shall be based upon the seriousness of the facts before the court, the probability of future violations, and the continued safety of the victim or another person. However, municipal and justice courts may issue criminal protection orders for a maximum period of time not to exceed one (1) year. Circuit and county courts may issue a criminal protection order for any period of time deemed necessary. Upon issuance of a criminal protection order, the clerk of the issuing court shall enter the order in the Mississippi Protection Order Registry within twenty-four (24) hours of issuance with no exceptions for weekends or holidays, pursuant to Section 93-21-25.

(b) A criminal protection order shall not be issued against the defendant if the victim of the offense, or the victim's lawful representative where the victim is a minor or incompetent person, objects to its issuance, except in circumstances where the court, in its discretion, finds that a criminal protection order is necessary for the safety and well-being of a victim who is a minor child or incompetent adult.

(c) Criminal protection orders shall be issued on the standardized form developed by the Office of the Attorney General and a copy provided to both the victim and the defendant.

(d) It shall be a misdemeanor to knowingly violate any condition of a criminal protection order. Upon conviction for a violation, the defendant shall be punished by a fine of not more than Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00) or by imprisonment in the county jail for not more than six (6) months, or both.

(12) When investigating allegations of a violation of subsection (3), (4), (5) or (11) of this section, whether or not an arrest results, law enforcement officers shall utilize the form prescribed for such purposes by the Office of the Attorney General in consultation with the sheriff's and police chief's associations. However, failure of law enforcement to utilize the uniform offense report shall not be a defense to a crime charged under this section. The uniform offense report shall not be required if, upon investigation, the offense does not involve persons in the relationships specified in subsections (3) and (4) of this section.

(13) In any conviction under subsection (3), (4), (5) or (11) of this section, the sentencing order shall include the designation “domestic violence.” The court clerk shall enter the disposition of the matter into the corresponding uniform offense report.

(14) Assault upon any of the following listed persons is an aggravating circumstance for charging under subsections (1)(b) and (2)(b) of this section:

(a) When acting within the scope of his or her duty, office or employment at the time of the assault: a statewide elected official; law enforcement officer; fireman; emergency medical personnel; health care provider; employees of a health care provider or health care facility; social worker, family protection specialist or family protection worker employed by the Department of Human Services or another agency; Division of Youth Services personnel; any county or municipal jail officer; superintendent, principal, teacher or other instructional personnel, school attendance officer or school bus driver; any member of the Mississippi National Guard or United States Armed Forces; a judge of a circuit, chancery, county, justice, municipal or youth court or a judge of the Court of Appeals or a justice of the Supreme Court; district attorney or legal assistant to a district attorney; county prosecutor or municipal prosecutor; court reporter employed by a court, court administrator, clerk or deputy clerk of the court; public defender; or utility worker;

(b) A legislator while the Legislature is in regular or extraordinary session or while otherwise acting within the scope of his or her duty, office or employment; or

(c) A person who is sixty-five (65) years of age or older or a person who is a vulnerable person, as defined in Section 43-47-5.

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