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Defining Assault

Posted by attorney Benjamin Heimerl

Being charged with assault is a serious criminal offense that has many different nuances to it. Therefore, it is best to fully understand what is entailed when an arrest is made for assault and what the potential consequences of a conviction.

Often, assault and battery are used hand in hand; however, what many people may not realize is that these are actually two separate charges and it is completely possible for an individual to be charge with one and not the other. However, given the definitions of each, it is quite unlikely that someone would be accused of battery and not assault, whereas being charged with assault and not battery is a much more plausible scenario. In general, a crime of assault involves any behavioral or verbal actions made against another which could cause the recipient to fear that violence will be inflicted upon them. Unlike battery, assault does not have to include any physical contact in order to incur criminal charges. The mere threat of violence, physical abuse, etc. is enough to provoke allegations of this nature.

Whereas a battery charge implies that explicit physical force was used against a victim, assault requires no personal contact. In fact, words alone are enough to be criminally charged of assault. Under this philosophy, it is not difficult to see how charges of battery and assault could often be paired together. Actions involving battery include acts of volition that were executed with the specific intention to cause harm of inflict offensive contact on the victim of the situation. Therefore, angrily throwing something at a person would be defined as battery, and threatening to do so would be ruled as assault. As you can see, it is very likely that assault charges would be made in addition to charges of battery threats or warnings are often made prior to actually taking action.

Aggravated assault is a more intense form of the criminal offense, and it almost always involves the use of a deadly weapon. In order to be charged with a crime such as this, it will need to be proven that the suspect had intent to cause bodily harm to another; or that the suspect attempted to engage in sexual activity with an underage person; or that a person caused bodily injury to another by use of a deadly weapon. These are charges that can even be made in instances of harm enacted against a public employee, a police officer, or caused by a reckless driving accident. Defense of assault allegations will need to be aggressive and should not be employed by anyone other than a skilled professional in the field of criminal defense. Only under these circumstances will a defendant stand the chance of having their criminal charges reduced or dropped altogether.

Additional resources provided by the author

Heimerl & Lammers is one of Minnesota state’s premier criminal defense law firms. With more than three decades of legal experience, the firm’s founding partner can offer clients a wealth of knowledge and a multitude of skills in all areas of criminal defense law, including charges of assault, DUI, sex crimes, and more. If you have been arrested in the state and you are facing criminal allegations of any kind than you cannot afford to take the matter lightly. To do so could be a detriment to your case. The Heimerl & Lammers firm is here to make sure that this does not happen. The Super Lawyers Rising Stars are available 24/7 to take your call and work with you on the defense of your case. Whether you are in St. Paul, Minneapolis, or any other community within the state, you can confidently turn to a Minnesota criminal defense lawyer from the firm for the help you both need and deserve during this difficult time.

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