A 4th degree assault conviction carries with it some of the harshest assault penalties under the law. Compared to fifth-degree, which is only 1 degree off, fourth-degree assault charges are much more severe, since they cover crimes that are more serious. Here’s a handy guide to 4th degree assault.
A 4th degree assault charge is reserved for when the victim comes from one of a certain group of people. Those people include operators of rail, light rail or other public transit vehicles. It includes Department of Natural Resources employees who are fighting fires, child protection workers, occupational health and safety workers, parole officers, agricultural inspectors, and animal control officers. School employees, including teachers, are a protected group, as well as United States Postal Service workers. Assault in the fourth degree applies to groups who are performing their duties at the time of the offense.
A 4th degree assault charge can be a felony or a gross misdemeanor. Usually, a gross misdemeanor can result from the assault of a member of one of the groups mentioned above, or a police officer or any other member working in law enforcement. This includes crime prevention groups and neighborhood patrols. A fourth-degree assault may be deemed a felony if the victim is assaulted causing bodily harm, or if the bodily waste or fluids are used, and the victim is part of a certain group. Those groups include judges, prosecutors, and other courthouse staff dedicated to corrections. Also, emergency service members such as EMS, doctors, nurses, and firefighters are included. Assaulting staff from secure treatment facilities can result in fourth-degree felony charges as well. These charges can result in up to $3000 in fines, a year and a day in prison, or even both if the assault is based on discrimination of some kind.
A 4th degree assault is a serious offense, and can carry with it serious consequences. Not only can there be fines and prison time, but future prospects for employment opportunities will show up in any background checks. If you are charged with such an offense, it’s important that you’re aware of the consequences.