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Assault Crimes
Assault Crimes

Assault Crimes

Federal and state laws provide protection for individuals to allow them to live safe and healthy lives, free from harm or the threat of harm from others. While it is not uncommon for people to have social and professional conflicts, it is important to remember that violence is not the correct response to interpersonal problems. In fact, many states consider both physical and verbal threats to be a form of assault and persons accused of such actions may face criminal charges.

Assault charges can have serious consequences and can affect your personal and professional livelihood, seriously limiting personal freedoms and making it difficult to find gainful employment. A criminal attorney may be able to help explain your legal options if you have been charged with assault or other crimes.

Assault and Tort Laws

While personal injury claims and claims that involve negligent actions on the part of another individual are often referred to as “torts of negligence”, the crime of assault usually falls under the category of “intentional tort”. Intentional torts refer to actions that are performed voluntarily and intentionally to cause harm or damage, or to deprive people of personal property.

Torts of negligence are often tried in civil court and typically require only monetary compensation following the resolution of the case, while intentional torts may include a trial in criminal court and serious criminal consequences for persons found guilty of a crime.

In order to charge an individual with assault, the prosecution usually needs only to prove that the victim had reason to fear that physical harm or violence would come to them and that the accused individual issued threats or behaved in such a manner as to make the victim believe he or she was in danger. While the specific laws may vary from state-to-state, most states have strict laws regarding assault charges and prosecution for the crime.

In order to pursue assault charges, the prosecution will typically have to show that:

  • The accused individual behaved in a threatening or violent manner toward the victim (including physical or verbal threats)
  • The accused individual was capable at the time of carrying out the threatened action
  • The victim had reason to believe that the threatened violence could possibly be carried out and that he or she was in danger of suffering physical harm
    It is important to remember that anyone who has been accused of a crime (including assault) has a legal right to defend him or herself in a court of law. If you have been charged with assault, it is wise to have an experienced criminal attorney on your side.

Types of Assault Charges

When it comes to assault charges, it is important to note that the two most important factors are usually the “present and apparent” ability of the individual to carry out the threatened act and that the victim had a “well-founded fear” of physical harm and bodily injury. If these two components are present, the accused individual may face criminal charges.

Common types of criminal assault charges include:

  • Simple Assault
  • Aggravated Assault
  • Assault and Battery
  • Assault with a deadly weapon

Assault charges are not automatically accompanied by battery charges and may stand alone if the individual did not cause actual harm to the victim, but simply issued a threat of physical violence. If threatening behavior is followed by actual physical contact, the charges may be increased to assault and battery.

If a person threatens violence with a knife, bat, gun, or other instrument, he or she may face aggravated assault charges, which often come with even more serious legal consequences. Individuals who are convicted of assault may face incarceration, fines and court fees, probation, and other punishment as a result of their actions.

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