When most people consider the word "assault", they just naturally assume that it means striking a person. This word applies to a variety of circumstances, and its definition is far from simple, however. If you or a loved one has been accused of assault, you must understand what is at stake so read on to learn more.
What Is Meant by Assault?
Most people are somewhat surprised when they find out that you can assault someone without laying a finger on them. All that is required to fulfill the legal requirement for an assault is that someone be in fear of bodily harm by the intentional actions of another. Another way to look at this level of assault is to equate it with a threat that carries the potential to be carried out. This definition of assault means that law enforcement can act and make an arrest before someone is physically harmed. Here are some examples of this of assault using that definition:
- You ball up your fists and take aggressive steps toward another person.
- As two people pass each other on the street, one pulls back their arm as if to strike the other and utters a profanity at them.
- You are standing on a subway platform about to board when someone makes an aggressive action toward you as if to push you into the path of the train.
Simple and Aggravated Assault
Simple assault is not so simple to the victim, but this term is used to differentiate it from aggravated assault.
This form of physical contact might cause some bodily injury, but the injury may be minor and not require medical attention. Simple assault and assault with no contact occurring are usually classified as misdemeanors.
Aggravated assault, on the other hand, is more serious and is classified as a felony in most states. Often, weapons like knives, bats, and other objects are involved in aggravated assaults. Some states call this assault with a deadly weapon. Additionally, this charge is sometimes used when the assault was a precursor to another even more serious crime, like rape or murder. For example, if an assailant knocked someone to the ground before a rape, that might be classified as aggravated assault. Even if the victim managed to get free before the rape occurred, if the state can show that rape was imminent, the charges of aggravated assault might be added to the attempted rape charge.
As you can see, an assault is far from a simple crime with an obvious outcome. You will need a criminal defense attorney to help you or your loved one, so seek help right away. For more information, contact your local criminal defense lawyer services.