What is the Criminal Charge of Criminal Assault and Battery?
In most jurisdictions, a criminal assault, unlike a battery, involves the fear of imminent bodily harm. Depending on what state you’re in, a criminal assault can be a misdemeanor charge or a felony charge. For example, if someone raises your hand to strike you, you might be in fear of imminent, meaning it’s going to happen very soon, bodily harm. If you cringe or you’re afraid, that might be a misdemeanor charge of simple assault or misdemeanor assault. If someone points a gun at your head and you believe it’s loaded and it’s not a joke and you are in fear of imminent, which means immediate, deadly harm by the gun that may constitute the felony charge or more serious crime of aggravated assault. Criminal assault requires two things:
- Fear by the victim: They must be afraid and must be aware of the assault. That means if someone is sleeping and someone points a gun at them, they can’t be afraid because they are not aware of it.
- Imminent danger: Meaning it needs to take place almost immediately. So, if someone points a gun at you and you are afraid that would be fear of imminent, meaning almost immediately, bodily harm or deadly force. However, if someone tells you, if you wear that green shirt again, I’m going to get my gun at my house and shoot. Well, that can’t be aggravated assault. Even though you may be afraid, the fear is not imminent. That means that the deadly force, the gun, is not going to be pointed at you immediately. Therefore, the crime of assault has not been completed.
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Kevin Hayslett, Esq.
J. Kevin Hayslett,The Attorney to the Stars,is a highly-recognized attorney practicing in the areas of Criminal Defense and DUI Defense from the Clearwater office and Hillsborough office. Kevin is an avid tennis player and is currently nationally-rated in singles and doubles. Follow Kevin on Google+, or on Radio IO on his show, "Kevin's Law". Kevin can also be heard on the Bubba The Love Sponge morning show during the "Ask the Lawyer" segment, which can be heard at 7:30 am EST on alternating Thursday's every month.