I previously wrote about the misdemeanor crime of simple assault under Mississippi criminal law. While simple assault is generally a misdemeanor, there are situations when this crime can be a felony. Specifically, if simple assault is committed against the following persons, then it is a felony:
Statewide elected official;
Law enforcement officer;
Emergency medical personnel;
Public health professional;
Family protection specialist;
Family protection worker;
Youth detention center personnel;
Training center juvenile care worker;
County or municipal jail officer;
Other school instructional personnel;
School attendance officer;
School bus driver;
Legal assistant to a district attorney;
Court reporter employed by a court;
Court clerk or deputy court clerk; or
It is important to note, however, that in order to qualify as a felony, these individuals must be acting within the course and scope of their employment at the time of the assault. In other words, if a person assaults someone in one of these categories while the victim is off-duty, and the assault is not related to the victim’s official duties, then it is not a felony.
In addition to the above-listed persons, simple assault may be a felony if the assault is committed against a member of the Legislature (while the Legislature is in session or while the victim is with the scope of his duty as a Legislator), or if the victim is over 65 years-old or a vulnerable adult.
If a felony, simple assault carries penalties including a $1,000.00 fine and five (5) years in prison.
Regardless of whether you are charged with simple assault as a felony or misdemeanor, there are many defenses available under Mississippi law. Please visit our Mississippi Criminal Defense website for more information.