Simple assault is a misdemeanor crime in Mississippi. Pursuant to Mississippi Code Section 97-3-7, a person is guilty of simple assault if he or she:
(a) attempts to cause or purposely, knowingly or recklessly causes bodily injury to another; or
(b) negligently causes bodily injury to another with a deadly weapon or other means likely to produce death or serious bodily harm; or
(c) attempts by physical menace to put another in fear of imminent serious bodily harm.
Mississippi’s simple assault statute makes it a crime to intentionally cause bodily injury to another person. This part of the statute is simple. However, many people find it surprising that other acts may constitute simple assault under Mississippi law. Under subsection (b), to be convicted of simple assault, all the State must prove is mere negligence if the defendant causes serious bodily harm to another using a deadly weapon. For example, if a person negligently discharged a firearm while hunting and accidentally shot someone, that person could be prosecuted for simple assault.
Another aspect of the Mississippi simple assault statute that some people find surprising is that a person can be charged with simple assault even if he did not actually assault, or even attempt to assault, the victim. Under subsection (c), a person can be convicted of simple assault if he uses “physical menace” to put another in fear of an “imminent” assault. Police officers sometimes refer to this part of the statute as “simple assault by threat.”
The potential penalties for simple assault in Mississippi include a $500.00 fine, and up to six (6) months in jail.
There are numerous defenses to a simple assault charge. If you have been charged with simple assault, please contact our Mississippi criminal defense law firm for a free consultation.