Assault is a tricky term because it can mean so many different things. A verbal threat can be considered an assault under certain circumstances, but someone who commits a violent attack that leaves the victim maimed and nearly dead might also be charged with assault. Understanding the different types and levels of criminal assault is crucial to understanding what assault can mean for the accused perpetrator and what the potential punishment could be.

Assault vs. Battery

Contrary to conventional usage in everyday conversation, assault in a legal sense is not an actual attack on another person. Assault is rather the threat of violence. Battery is the crime associated with an actual attack. When a person commits an act of violence, they are often charged with both assault and battery, since they both threatened to and actually carried out an attack. However, this sometimes gets shortened to “assault” in casual speech, hence the link in many people’s minds between the term assault and a physical violent attack.

Simple Assault

Simple assault is the most basic form of assault. It simply means that a threat or attempt to physically harm another person has been made, that a weapon was not used, and that any injuries suffered by the victim were relatively minor.

Aggravated Assault

Aggravated assault occurs when a weapon is used, when assault occurs during another crime, or when increased force is used. In some states, the victim must suffer physical injuries before an assault can be considered aggravated.

Sexual Assault

A person commits sexual assault when they attempt to commit a sexual act against the will and without the consent of the victim. In sexual assault, the perpetrator threatens rape, molestation, sodomy, or any other sex crime. Within the classification of sexual assault, there are more sub-categories. Sexual assault with a weapon is self-explanatory, and aggravated sexual assault occurs when the victim is seriously injured during the assault (sometimes it is considered aggravated sexual assault if the victim is physically or mentally disabled as well).

If you or someone you love has been associated with one of these crimes, make sure they get the best assault lawyer possible–contact the law offices of Eric Harron today.