Various states have different definitions for the crime of assault, which is a violent offense. Assault may be defined as putting another person in reasonable fear of harm through verbal or physical means. Even though definitions vary, states generally treat assault offenses the same way, regardless of the degree of injury threatened or perpetrated, the presence of a weapon, or the victim’s identity.
Although the slightest contact may entail common assault, authorities will typically not prosecute someone with common assault unless a substantial amount of force is utilized or violent threats are made. People can face many assault charges, such as aggravated assaults and those in a bar fight.
Consequently, we’ll go over the essential components of a common assault charge and why knowing them is crucial.
Identifying what constitutes an assault
In most cases, an assault is characterized by the threat of physical harm. However, the person threatened must believe it is a real threat to be considered credible. Generally speaking, there are two types of assault:
Offensive contact or violence
Depending on the state, assault can be defined as the intentional use of violent force against someone else, such as punching someone or striking the victim with a hard object. A physical attack is what some states classify as an assault and battery. For example, when you swing at someone but miss.
Attempted or threatened physical harm or touch
Another state’s definition of an assault does not include any actual physical contact but rather refers to any threat of violence that causes the victim to fear their safety. In this view, there is no such thing as an “attempted assault” because the act of assaulting is inherently an attempt. An example of this is a verbal threat coupled with the victim’s fear.
Defense against common assault
When it comes to common assault cases, the most commonly used strategy at law is self-defense. It is impossible to convict someone of common assault if they are only acting in self-defense. However, there are limits on self-defense, and a person is only allowed to do what it takes to either stop the other person from continuing their assault or allow themselves to escape.
For an accused person to successfully raise a self-defense defense, the Court will look for two things: When someone is charged with something, they first have to show that they thought it was essential to protect themselves or someone else from a perceived threat. The second test is an objective one, and it looks into whether the accused person’s actions in the situation were reasonable.
Sentence or penalty for common assault
This type of assault is a misdemeanor in the eyes of the law, which means it’s not a crime per se. Hence, the repercussions are less severe than those of more severe forms of assault.
However, a conviction for common assault carries a sentence of up to three years in prison, which isn’t exactly light. In most cases, a common assault charge is handled by the Magistrates Court, which has a maximum sentence of three years.
When someone is charged with common assault, many things can affect how they are punished. These things include their criminal history, how they have been behaving, how much remorse they have shown, and more. With that, your criminal defense lawyers will help you think through and find them. They will then show the Court those things on your behalf.
A common assault can also be considered a severe offense, depending on the state statutes in effect, the facts of the particular case, and a variety of other considerations. If you find yourself in this situation, a competent attorney can help you find possible defenses and develop a strategy to mitigate the consequences.