What qualifies as assault?
While many people think that assault is only physical violence, there are some acts that can qualify as assault even if they do not involve striking or hitting. Examples include threats of violence, unwanted touching and slapping someone on the side of the face.
Those who want to know what qualifies as assault must understand that there are different laws in place for the crime and that each state has its own set of rules when it comes to this charge. Some states define assault as the act of causing harm or fear of harm to another, while others take the approach that the victim has to be in a position where their response would be reasonable under the circumstances.
What Qualifies As Simple Assault?
Simple assault is a misdemeanor offense that involves either the threat of immediate harm or a physical act that results in minimal injury. It can include raising a fist at someone and threatening to smack them or shoving or slapping a person with bruising or cuts that require medical treatment.
Second Degree Assault is a Class A misdemeanor that can range from two years to seven years in jail and a fine of up to $4,000. This type of assault may be more serious than a first degree assault, but it doesn’t carry the same penalties.
Penalties for Assault in the 1st Degree
The more severe types of assault are known as aggravated assault crimes. Those charges are enhanced by a variety of factors, including the severity of the violence, the perpetrator’s actions, and the victim’s special characteristics (e.g., a police officer who is assaulted, or a teacher who is attacked in school).
In some cases, the victim’s age can also make an impact on the charge and the penalties. In New York, assault in the 2nd degree can be charged if an individual commits an assault on a child under the age of 11 even though the victim was under 18.
Assault in the 3rd Degree is a Class C misdemeanor that can carry a maximum sentence of one year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. The penalty is likely to be less if the defendant’s prior convictions are not counted against them or if alternative sentencing provisions are applied.
Aggravated assaults can be a significant concern to those who have been accused of the crime. If you have been arrested and charged with assault, it is imperative that you seek the help of an experienced criminal lawyer.
Defenses for Assault:
While some assault charges are very serious, there are other cases where a person can fight back against an aggressor and defend themselves. A few of the most common assault defenses that a person can utilize to help reduce their charges include:
Duress or Coercion
In order to be guilty of an assault charge, the prosecution must prove that the defendant knew that they were about to be in danger and that they were pushed into doing what they did. This is not always easy to do, as it may be difficult to determine whether a victim was under duress or coercion at the time of the assault.