The idea of being assaulted is something no one wants to think about, but it can be a reality. Situations that fall under the umbrella of assault include muggings, sexual assaults, and getting into altercations involving violence of some type.
Many cities around the U.S. are dealing with an uptick in violent assaults right now, putting this at the forefront of people’s minds. Whether you live in a big city or plan to travel in the future, you want to protect your personal safety.
If you’ve been assaulted in the past, you may then be involved in criminal court proceedings as the perpetrator is brought to justice.
Regardless of what your situation is, the following are some of the types of assault to be aware of, at least in terms of the legal system.
What is Assault?
The definition of assault in legal terms varies depending on the state you’re in. Overall, assault means intentionally, recklessly or knowingly harming another person or even causing someone else to fear physical harm.
One of the factors that’s part of an assault case or situation is someone’s mindset at the time an incident occurs. The law in most places requires that you had a desire to cause harm or knew your conduct would hurt someone for it to be considered assault.
For a situation to be legally considered assault, you must have acted knowing your actions would hurt someone and you did it anyway.
Simple assault can be a legal issue even if someone doesn’t come into physical contact with a victim.
A threatening, act for example, can be considered simple assault. This might mean that your actions or the actions of someone else led an individual to be in fear of an imminent battery.
If you were verbally threatening someone, this could be a simple assault.
A failed battery attempt may also fall into the category of simple assault.
If you were, for example, trying to hit someone but weren’t successful, it can still mean a simple assault charge.
Some of the possible defenses for simple assault include defense of property and self-defense and an event being an accident.
An aggravated assault is a felony, and as such as more severe legal punishments.
Aggravated assault means a simple assault, plus other elements.
Many different elements can elevate something from simple to aggravated assault.
- The assault causes a victim serious injury, such as a reasonable risk of death.
- A deadly weapon was used.
- The act was committed after entering someone’s home with the intent to assault the victim.
- The perpetrator is over the age of 18, and the victim is under the age of 15 (these age limits can vary depending on the state)
- The assault involved a police officer’s weapon
The type of victim involved can also lead to an aggravated assault charge. For example, if the victim was assaulted when they were working within their professional role, it may become an aggravated assault. This could include a police officer, a paramedic or first responder, or a health care professional.
If a victim is choked or their airway is obstructed, this is also considered aggravated assault. In some states, this varies depending on whether or not an assault is domestic violence. Domestic violence includes when the victim is a spouse or former spouse, family member, romantic partner, co-parent, or a roommate.
Assault vs. Domestic Assault
The differences in assault and domestic assault were briefly touched on above.
Typically, the key difference relates to the relationship between the people who are the victim and perpetrator of the assault.
However, if the relationship of the people involved in a situation does warrant domestic violence charges, the assault isn’t a separate crime, meaning you aren’t charged with both assault and domestic violence.
In some cases, domestic violence is treated more seriously than some other types of assault.
What if Someone Assaults You?
While we do commonly think of assaults as happening between people that know one another, an assault can happen to anyone. Even if you don’t live in a big city or a place with a relatively high crime rate, you can still be the victim of an assault.
If you are a victim, whether you’re in your home city or town or you’re traveling, you should absolutely contact the police right away.
After doing that, if you have someone available nearby, such as a family member you can call, do that as well so that you don’t have to go through the next steps alone.