CHAPTER TWO - PART A - OFFENSES AGAINST THE PERSON

§2A2.2. Aggravated Assault

(a) Base Offense Level: 14

(b) Specific Offense Characteristics

(1) If the assault involved more than minimal planning, increase by 2 levels.

(2) If (A) a firearm was discharged, increase by 5 levels; (B) a dangerous weapon (including a firearm) was otherwise used, increase by 4 levels; (C) a dangerous weapon (including a firearm) was brandished or its use was threatened, increase by 3 levels.

(3) If the victim sustained bodily injury, increase the offense level according to the seriousness of the injury:

Degree of Bodily Injury Increase in Level
(A) Bodily Injury add 3
(B) Serious Bodily Injury add 5
(C) Permanent or Life-Threatening Bodily Injury add 7

(D) If the degree of injury is between that specified in subdivisions (A) and (B), add 4 levels; or

(E) If the degree of injury is between that specified in subdivisions (B) and (C), add 6 levels.

    However, the cumulative adjustments from application of subdivisions (2) and (3) shall not exceed 10 levels.

(4) If the assault was motivated by a payment or offer of money or other thing of value, increase by 2 levels.

(5) If the offense involved the violation of a court protection order, increase by 2 levels.

(6) If the defendant was convicted under 18 U.S.C. § 111(b) or § 115, increase by 2 levels.

Commentary

Statutory Provisions: 18 U.S.C. §§ 111, 112, 113(a)(2), (3), (6), 114, 115(a), (b)(1), 351(e), 1751(e), 1841(a)(2)(C), 1992(a)(7), 2199, 2291, 2332b(a)(1), 2340A. For additional statutory provision(s), see Appendix A (Statutory Index).

Application Notes:

1. Definitions.—For purposes of this guideline:

    “Aggravated assault” means a felonious assault that involved (A) a dangerous weapon with intent to cause bodily injury (i.e., not merely to frighten) with that weapon; (B) serious bodily injury; or (C) an intent to commit another felony.

    “Brandished,” “bodily injury,” “firearm,” “otherwise used,” “permanent or life-threatening bodily injury,” and “serious bodily injury,” have the meaning given those terms in §1B1.1 (Application Instructions), Application Note 1.

    “Dangerous weapon” has the meaning given that term in §1B1.1, Application Note 1, and includes any instrument that is not ordinarily used as a weapon (e.g., a car, a chair, or an ice pick) if such an instrument is involved in the offense with the intent to commit bodily injury.

2. Application of Subsection (b)(1).—For purposes of subsection (b)(1), “more than minimal planning” means more planning than is typical for commission of the offense in a simple form.

    “More than minimal planning” also exists if significant affirmative steps were taken to conceal the offense, other than conduct to which §3C1.1 (Obstructing or Impeding the Administration of Justice) applies. For example, waiting to commit the offense when no witnesses were present would not alone constitute more than minimal planning. By contrast, luring the victim to a specific location or wearing a ski mask to prevent identification would constitute more than minimal planning.

3. Application of Subsection (b)(2).—In a case involving a dangerous weapon with intent to cause bodily injury, the court shall apply both the base offense level and subsection (b)(2).

4. Application of Official Victim Adjustment.—If subsection (b)(6) applies, §3A1.2 (Official Victim) also shall apply.

Background: This guideline covers felonious assaults that are more serious than minor assaults because of the presence of an aggravating factor, i.e., serious bodily injury, the involvement of a dangerous weapon with intent to cause bodily injury, or the intent to commit another felony. Such offenses occasionally may involve planning or be committed for hire. Consequently, the structure follows §2A2.1 (Assault with Intent to Commit Murder; Attempted Murder). This guideline also covers attempted manslaughter and assault with intent to commit manslaughter. Assault with intent to commit murder is covered by §2A2.1. Assault with intent to commit rape is covered by §2A3.1 (Criminal Sexual Abuse; Attempt to Commit Criminal Sexual Abuse).

An assault that involves the presence of a dangerous weapon is aggravated in form when the presence of the dangerous weapon is coupled with the intent to cause bodily injury. In such a case, the base offense level and the weapon enhancement in subsection (b)(2) take into account different aspects of the offense, even if application of the base offense level and the weapon enhancement is based on the same conduct.

Subsection (b)(6) implements the directive to the Commission in subsection 11008(e) of the 21st Century Department of Justice Appropriations Act (the “Act“), Public Law 107–273. The enhancement in subsection (b)(6) is cumulative to the adjustment in §3A1.2 (Official Victim) in order to address adequately the directive in section 11008(e)(2)(D) of the Act, which provides that the Commission shall consider “the extent to which sentencing enhancements within the Federal guidelines and the authority of the court to impose a sentence in excess of the applicable guideline range are adequate to ensure punishment at or near the maximum penalty for the most egregious conduct covered by” 18 U.S.C. §§ 111 and 115.

Historical Note: Effective November 1, 1987. Amended effective November 1, 1989 (see Appendix C, amendments 85 and 86); November 1, 1990 (see Appendix C, amendment 311); November 1, 1995 (see Appendix C, amendment 534); November 1, 1997 (see Appendix C, amendment 549); November 1, 2001 (see Appendix C, amendment 614); November 1, 2002 (see Appendix C, amendment 637); November 1, 2004 (see Appendix C, amendment 663); November 1, 2006 (see Appendix C, amendment 685); November 1, 2007 (see Appendix C, amendment 699).