Assault charges are criminal charges that may result when a person commits any intentional act that is calculated to create a “reasonable apprehension” of imminent harm or offensive contact. An example of this is where a person swings a punch at another person, intending to make the other person believe that they will hit them. Even though there is no contact, assault charges can result if the victim had a reasonable belief that they would be struck with the punch.
Assault is different from battery in that there needs to be actual, completed contact in order for battery to occur. In some cases, a person can be charged with both assault and battery, depending on the circumstances and number of victims.
Are There Different Types of Assault Charges?
There are many, many different types of assault charges. The types of assault charges depend on various factors, including: the degree of harm involved or intended; the nature of the victim; and the type of weapon used, if any. The various definitions and classifications of assault will differ from state to state. Some common forms of assault charges are:
- Felony assault- This is a more serious type of assault charge that results in greater legal penalties. It generally involves serious harm or the use of a deadly weapon.
- Misdemeanor assault- This is a less serious form of assault charge that involves a lesser degree of injury.
- Sexual assault– This kind of assault charge involves conduct or behavior that is of a sexual nature.
- Vehicular assault– This is an assault charge with a motor vehicle. It is often a very serious charge, as vehicles are typically considered to be deadly when used as a weapon.
- Aggravated assault– These are assault charges where certain factors are present, such as the use of a weapon, assault on a woman or child, or serious bodily harm. These are usually classified as felony assault charges as well.
- Assaulting a protected class– This assault charge occurs when assault is committed against a member of a designated protected class.
- Assaulting a police officer– This is also classified as a felony.
There may be other types of unique assault charges, such as medical assault or assault involving toxic or poisonous substances.
Should I Hire a Lawyer for Help with Criminal Assault Charges?
Assault charges can sometimes lead to very serious legal consequences. The laws covering assault and battery can often be complex and may vary from state to state. You may need to hire a criminal law attorney in your area if you need any help with criminal assault charges. Your attorney can help research the laws to determine what types of defenses and options that you have. Also, your attorney can be on hand to represent you during any court meetings.