The Truth About “Aggravated Assault”

In the past, attackers were usually charged with Murder if the victim died, or Attempted Murder if they survived. For whatever reason, the practice of charging attackers with either of these felonies has largely been abandoned. In fact, the FBI Uniform Crime Report no longer even has an entry for Attempted Murder. Now, if the victim dies, the charge is Murder, but if they survive it is Aggravated Assault.

Aggravated Assault simply means the victim survived an attack in which the attacker tried to kill the victim but was inept. The FBI definition of Aggravated Assault is “an unlawful attack involving a weapon or other means likely to cause death or great bodily injury”. In other words, an attacker tried to kill you, but you survived.

The murder rate in the U.S. is about 15,000 murders each year. One can conclude from that low number relative to the U.S. population of about 330 million that the odds of needing a gun are very low. This is until you take into consideration the 1,000,000 Aggravated Assaults! So that is 1 million ATTEMPTS to unlawfully kill a victim.

So why is the murder rate relatively low? It’s certainly not for the lack of trying? It’s because of modern trauma care. Modern trauma care in big cities is phenomenal. The VAST majority of people shot, stabbed or bludgeoned by criminals don’t die from their injuries. So the charges are not Murder, but Aggravated Assaults.

But the bottom line for the reclassification of surviving from Attempted Murder to Aggravated Assault is that the victim survives, but may be maimed, blind, lose a limb, be paralyzed, require multiple corrective surgeries, lose the ability to work, and other tragic consequences. But since they did not die, the crime is treated as a lesser crime than Attempted Murder.