Types of Assault Charges

What is an Assault?

The term assault is used to define an act, in which a person threatens to or actually causes some amount of bodily harm to another person. An assault can be classified as both a felony, and a misdemeanor, taking into perspective the various underlying factors. Assault is not to be confused with battery, but often times are. Battery refers to physical harm caused by one person to another. Assault and Battery may be similar in nature for being legal offenses, but in legal terms are very different from each other. An assault is more commonly, a threat or show of force. Whereas, a battery may be actually carrying out on that threat and harming the other person! However, what different countries, or even states consider an assault varies greatly from region to region.

There are many factors which help in deciding the penalty for an assault, the factors which need be taken into consideration when choosing a penalty for the offender are; the nature of the assault, the type of assault, conditions and circumstances, and many similar factors. Common penalties or punishments for an assault are, jail time, fines and even a settlement that is to be paid to the victim, on some occasions.

Jail time is a possible penalty, but usually isn’t as common. Whether an assault is regarded as a misdemeanor or a felony depends on the severity of the assault –meaning that, if it’s a simple threat, or show of force, it may be very well regarded as a misdemeanor. However, if the threat is accompanied by a deadly weapon, it can easily be considered to be a felony. Assault can be simply defined as an action or threat from one person to another, to cause harm. Now, it depends on the situation, and the severity of the assault, which makes it either a felony or a misdemeanor.

Charges for assaults are usually filed, after an altercation. An attacker is liable to be sued by the victim for any medical costs paid, and for any lost wages. The victim can also file for a restraining order against the attacker, in order to secure himself from any future mishaps. Assault and battery charges might be filed if the attacker carries out on his or her threat. The assault and battery charge, leads to a more severe penalty as compared to a simple assault charge.

Generally, there is a number of many different assault types. These vary on the basis of the conditions involved, and whether or not there is any physical contact involved. There is a separate type of assault for when, an attempt to harm a person is made, but goes unsuccessful. The various different types of assaults are detailed below.

Types of Assault Charges

Felonious Assault

As the name implies, this type of assault is regarded as a felony. A felonious assault involves, use of force, or simply an attempt to cause harm to a person –regardless of it being successful or not. If a person gets injured due to the attack, the penalty for this type of assault will be much more severe. However, it is still deemed to be a felony if no injuries occur. Assault and battery is a common example of a felonious assault. Many times a weapon may be used to attack a person, this type of assault also classifies as a felonious assault. As felonies are more severe in nature as compared to misdemeanors, they are also penalized accordingly.

Physical Assault

This type of assault occurs when a person causes severe bodily injuries or harm to another person. Physical assault may also be classified as a felony due to it being violent in nature. These types of assaults are generally done by use of hands, where no weapons are involved as if weapons were to be involved it would be a charge of more severe nature and would call for a more severe punishment.

Simple Assault

This type of assault occurs when a person causes some minor amount of harm to another person, maybe following a scuffle or altercation. These types of assaults usually don’t warrant for very severe punishments and can even be brought down to disorderly conduct if handled by an experienced professional. No weapons are used in this type of assault, and it is less violent in nature.

Sexual Assault

This type of assault, classifies as a felony for the most number of cases –exceptions excluded. A sexual assault occurs when a person forces his way with the victim, against the consent of the victim. Sexual assault may be a rape, sodomy, or molestation case. Sexual assaults also include many other similar sexual offenses. Usually these types of assault cases are treated very seriously, and penalized very harshly. If a minor is involved in such an assault, it is very easily classified as a felony, and the attacker gets a very severe penalty for his actions.

Aggravated Assault

Aggravated assaults are one of the more common types of assaults. These occur when a stronger use of force is displayed against a victim. A weapon might also be involved in an aggravated assault. This type of assault carries a severe penalty and a big fine on most occasions. The exact definition for an aggravated assault varies greatly from region to region, and even state to state. Generally, it can be defined as a stronger form of assault, which also makes use of a weapon. The penalties for these types of assaults are judged on the basis of how many injuries are caused, and also the attacker’s intent.

Assault with a deadly weapon

these types of assaults occur when a person threatens to cause harm to another person, by using a deadly weapon to cause fear in the other person. The victim is liable to sue the attacker in this case, and even file for a restraining order. Most of the times the deadly weapon used for this type of assault are a gun. But can also be some other type of weapon which can cause severe bodily injuries and/or death to a person. Regardless of what the attacker’s intentions might be, this assault is classified as a felony, and is to be penalized accordingly.

Malicious Assault

A malicious assault occurs, when an attacker shoots, stabs, wounds, or cuts, the victim causing bodily harm and/or injury to the victim. The attacker’s intention behind the attack may be to cause permanent damage to the victim, to kill the victim, to cause disability to the victim, and to even disfigure the victim. This type of assault almost always classifies as a felony, and typically penalties for these types of assaults are severe in nature. However, the end decision is made based on the underlying factors of the conditions involved during the assault, the intention of the attacker, and the amount of injuries caused to the person.

Verbal Assault

Verbal assaults are by far the most common types of assaults. These usually involve, a person threatening to cause harm to another person, and having the ability to carry out on the threat. Verbal assaults aren’t very violent in nature and hence, are classified as a misdemeanor and can also be minimized to a lesser severe charge by making use of any professional lawyer’s services. Verbal assaults may result in emotional, psychological, and/or mental harm to the person. No bodily harm or injuries are involved in these types of assaults and the penalties for these aren’t as severe as compared to other types of assaults. Sometimes the assault may even be dismissed as disorderly conduct, and penalized by a fine instead of a jail term.

Consequences of Assault

The consequences or penalties for an assault charge aren’t over as soon as an offender leaves the courtroom or is done serving his sentence. These are criminal offenses and have a very long lasting impact on a person’s life. It affects all aspects of a person’s life; mainly social and professional. Consequences for assault charges include; loss of rights, probation periods, rehabilitation programs, loss of employment, hefty fines, various different sanctions and punishments.

The consequences however, greatly vary depending on the location where the assault is committed. Some jurisdictions classify some types of assaults as misdemeanors, which would, be classified as felonies elsewhere. This has a toll on the end penalty given to the offender. Penalties may be more severe if the offender has a past history of criminal offenses, and violence.

The aftermath of an assault, can be very ugly for the attacker especially. As most landlords don’t give residence to criminal offenders, as do some other housing companies, which means that finding residence would be a problem. Employers also don’t usually like working with offenders due to their potentially violent nature. It is very hard for a person convicted of assault charges to find a proper housing or a job. However, it may be possible if the criminal record of the offender is cleared up completely –this is usually done by requesting an official pardon letter from the relevant authority.


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