When most of us think about assault, we imagine someone attacking another person physically, either with their bare hands, or with a weapon of some sort. While that is one form of assault, this criminal charge can actually be leveled in many different situations. Often, even minor actions can be considered assault.
Facing an assault charge? Is someone you love being charged with assault? There is help and hope. Contact us at Gasner Criminal Law. We have the experience and expertise necessary to ensure the best possible outcome for your case.
You’ll notice that different jurisdictions can have somewhat different definitions of what constitutes assault. However, in almost all cases, it comes down to someone intentionally putting another individual in reasonable apprehension that they will suffer imminent offensive or harmful contact.
No, assault does not always involve physical contact. It also does not always involve injury. It only involves a reasonable concern that a person will be harmed or suffer offensive contact. The very act of making someone think that they are going to suffer physical harm is the assault in this case. For instance, drawing back your fist as if you are going to punch someone can be considered assault, as the other individual would rightly fear that they were going to be harmed by your actions.
As mentioned, assault does not actually involve physical contact. It is the mere threat of physical contact – battery is the term used to describe any contact between you and another person, which is why you often hear these two terms used in conjunction as “assault and battery”. Assault is the initial action, and battery is the physical damage.
As such, almost anything can be considered assault. It depends on the victim’s state of mind and whether they were truly apprehensive of harmful or offensive contact. For example, throwing food in a movie theater could be considered assault in some instances.
Aggravated assault, or assault with a weapon or intent to do additional harm, such as rape, is a different matter. In this instance, additional penalties come into play because of the greater potential for harm to the victim. In California, assault against specific individuals, such as doctors and nurses, can also carry steeper penalties than simple assault against a private individual.
However, words alone are not enough to be considered assault, although they can be considered criminal threats.
Adam Gasner has in-depth experience handling assault cases in the state of California, and is one of just 400 attorneys in the state to have earned the distinction of being a Board-Certified Criminal Law Specialist. He brings his full breadth of expertise to bear on each case, ensuring you receive the representation you deserve.
Contact Gasner Criminal Law today to schedule your free 60-minute consultation. Call us at 415-782-6000 or use our contact form.