What Are the Different Types of Assault?

The term assault is used with relation to any number of different crimes and civil offenses, often incorrectly. So, what is assault, actually? And what are the different types of assault?

In legal terms, assault is the threat or attempt to physically touch or strike a person in an offensive manner, regardless of whether contact is actually made. It only occurs if the victim is aware of the threatened touching and is apprehensive about it occurring imminently. Being afraid that someone might at some point offensively touch the victim in the future is not sufficient. The elements for civil assault is basically the same as criminal assault, except that the victim must show the actual damages resulting from the assault in order to recover monetary compensation for their injury.

Types of Assault

Now that you have a general understanding of what assault is, why are there so many different types of assault? What are the differences between them? These are general overviews, and the exact variations may be different in some jurisdictions.

Simple assault is what was described above. It can occur whether or not a weapon is used and whether or not the victim suffers any physical injuries or only minor harm.

Felonious / aggravated assault is distinguished from simple assault in that a weapon is used or the assault occurs during the commission of another crime. Some states also require that the victim suffer an actual injury as a result of the assault, such as a heart attack or an injury while fleeing from the threat of violence.

Sexual assault involves the threat of sexual violence against the victim. In other words, the victim is left in fear of an imminent rape, molestation, sodomy, or other sex crime.

Remember, assault differs from battery in that the actual offensive touching or striking is not an element, only the threat. That is why assault is often lumped together with battery: if one is threatened with the offensive touching then subsequently receives the offensive touching, both crimes have occurred.

Of course, the penalties for assault vary as widely as the different types of assault. They can range from fines and probation to prison and the loss of the right to own a gun as a convicted felon. On the other hand, civil assault can lead to monetary payouts equivalent to the level of harm suffered by the victim, and could include medical bills, therapy, and other losses.

If you have been the victim of an assault, you should first contact the police, and then a local attorney experienced in personal injury. If, on the other hand, you have been accused of an assault, you should also contact an attorney to defend you in either the criminal case, the personal injury case, or both. You can find a list of attorneys organized by jurisdiction under the “Law Firms” tab, and additional resources related to Assault under the “Law” tab, both of which may be found above.

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Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication at the time it was written. It is not intended to provide legal advice or suggest a guaranteed outcome as individual situations will differ and the law may have changed since publication. Readers considering legal action should consult with an experienced lawyer to understand current laws and.how they may affect a case.

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