Verbal Threats As Assault

Authored by , LegalMatch Law Library Managing Editor and Attorney at Law

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An assault is when someone intentionally attempts to inflict immediate injury or offensive contact onto you and you suffer injury (physical or mental) as a result. Although physical contact is not absolutely necessary to an assault, the immediate threat of violent or offensive contact is required.

Can Verbal Threats Be An Assault?

Generally no. If the other person only uses words to threaten you and does nothing more, then it will probably not be an assault. However, there are situations where threatening words coupled with other acts and/or circumstance can amount to an assault.

What Are Some Examples Of These Acts And Circumstances?

There may be assault if in addition to using threatening words, the other person also:

     - Holds a bat and waves it hostilely near you
     - Carries a sharpened knife and walks hastily towards you
     - Points a gun to your head
     - Violently shakes his/her fist in front of your face and stomps his/her foot onto the ground very loudly

Can There Be Assault If I Think I Can Safely Run Away From Harm?

Usually yes. Normally it does not matter whether you can safely prevent from actually being harmed or not; there is an assault once you perceive the immediate threat of violent or offensive contact.

Can There Be An Assault If The Act Was Meant To Be A Practical Joke?

Yes. Assault can be committed even if it was done without any evil purpose, but for fun.

Victims of an Assault and Battery

If you are a victim of an assault and battery, you should call the police. If there is sufficient evidence, the police will then forward your case to the District Attorney¿s office to prosecute the person who committed the assault and battery against you. You may also want to contact a personal injury lawyer since you may be able to recover phyiscal and /or emotional damages from your attacker.

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Last Modified: 03-31-2011 02:28 PM PDT

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