It is assumed that assault is a physical act against someone and the term assault and battery is an act of extreme violence. This is a common misconception of these terms. However, the true definition of assault will amaze most people and have them reconsidering their actions when they lose their cool.
For true assault to have occurred, the person accused of assaulting another person must be seen as reasonably capable of carrying out the threat. As noted by Katz & Phillips, by legal definition, assault is considered: Any action that includes threatening of injury or bodily harm towards another person for the sole purpose of intimidation. These actions can include the use of intimidating language, shouting, and physical gestures. Physical contact does not have to occur for an assault to have taken place.
Interesting Facts About Assault Laws In Different States
The final definition and punishments attached to assault charges are regulated on a state level. In most states, assault charges are usually seen as a second class misdemeanor because physical contact has not taken place during the event. However, some states have special circumstances that can turn an assault charge into a felony.
Some states still uphold profanity laws and classify the use of these terms as a form of assault. While this type of infraction is very rarely enforced, the prosecutor does have the authority to add profanity charges to any other assault charges that place against someone.
With A Deadly Weapon
According to Florida law firm Katz & Phillips, this type of assault is the most serious of all assault charges. This charge implies that the threat was made with an object that could inflict catastrophic injury or death if used. Threats made while brandishing a gun or other instrument of destruction will fall under this category. However, you can also be charged with this crime if you commit assault while sitting behind the wheel of a vehicle that has keys in the ignition. Yelling at someone from your car and making a threat can land you in jail.
Most states do not consider domestic disputes to fall under the assault laws of their state. Even if actions occur that exactly match the description of an assault, if it is between two intimate partners it will be considered a domestic event.
Nicknamed Granny Laws, most states have specific laws regarding any form of assault that is committed against someone over the age of 65. Usually listed under Elder Laws, being convicted of an assault with special circumstances such as a violation of the granny law can increase your punishment or require incarceration.
As you can see, it is most often a better choice to leave a situation than to lose your temper. Something that could be viewed by you as just blowing off steam can be viewed by the Court as an assault on another person. It is important that you understand the true definition of assault so that you can avoid placing yourself in the position of being charged with this type of crime.
Atlanta writer Sarah Gray is an avid researcher and freelance author who enjoys writing about various lifestyle topics hoping to shine a light on information that may be unbeknownst to others.