Being arrested for almost anything is a shocking and potentially life-altering event. If you are accused of assault, you should know that dealing with a violent crime is vastly different from that of other crimes. Your ability to be released on bail, your bail conditions, the potential for a plea bargain, and what could happen if you are convicted are all dealt with in an elevated manner. To find out more about an assault charge and what it means, read on.
What is Assault? You might think you know, but you might also be surprised. It is not actually necessary to touch someone to be accused and convicted of assault. Assault is when a person causes another person to be in fear of bodily harm. No harm may occur, but if the alleged victim felt threatened, it might be assault. This may seem vague, but the purpose of the law is protective in nature. Assault laws are meant to prevent bodily injury by identifying potential perpetrators before someone does get hurt. For example, here are some common situations that describe assault where no contact is made:
1. Several people are about to board a bus; as the bus approaches, one person suddenly lunges at another and makes a motion as if to push them in front of the bus.
2. Two people are involved in a domestic argument, and one person picks up a knife and begins to slap it repeatedly against their palms.
3. An argument erupts in a store, and one person begins to curse, ball up their fists, and brings up their arms as if to punch the other person.
All of the above meet the legal definition of assault. If you are accused of similar acts, you must be ready to prove that you had no intention of threatening the other party. Kidding around, pretending, and unconscious actions are not a defense to assault. While simple assault (without physical contact) is usually considered a misdemeanor, it can still carry stiff penalties.
What is Aggravated Assault? As you might have guessed, this form of assault takes things to the next level and physical contact is made. In fact, aggravated assault may be classified as a felony. This form of assault doesn't necessarily mean that someone was injured enough to require medical attention, but it often does. For example, if two people are in a verbal altercation and one of them takes out a pocket knife and slices the other across the arm, it might only be a minor wound requiring no medial attention. However, it is still assault with a deadly weapon, however.
Being accused of assault is serious regardless of the circumstances. You will need a criminal defense attorney so seek help right away.