Peter Blair | November 16, 2017 | Assault
Sometimes, the fear instilled in a victim can dictate whether or not you are going to be charged with assault. When people think of assault, they usually think of physical hitting or slapping of another person. But, did you know that assault can even apply in cases where there was no physical contact? How is this so? We will help you understand the laws that dictate these scenarios.
Understanding What Assault Means
Assault applies to cases where somebody attempts to inflict injury to another person. But this doesn’t just mean physical assault – it means mental assault as well. The immediate threat of violence counts as verbal assault, and is taken just as seriously in the eyes of the court. Let’s say, for instance, somebody threatens to kill you. It’s serious, but the court may not see it as seriously as somebody who threatens to kill someone and holds a gun to their head. This would be considered assault under California law. This even applies in cases where somebody claims that they were just engaging in a prank, because it caused immediate fear to another person.
For you to be charged with assault, there had to be intent to cause harm to another person. If you point a gun at another person, for instance, it is obvious that you intend to harm them. If it was a misunderstanding, however, this could sometimes serve as a defense to the crime.
Other Defenses in Assault Cases
Sometimes, intoxication of a defendant can qualify as a defense in these cases, or self-defense (most popular). To prove self-defense, however, you must show that the assault that you inflicted on another person was reasonable, given the circumstances. If somebody threatened to beat you up, you pushing them to have time to get away could be self-defense. However, if somebody threatens to beat you up and you kill them, you will probably not be able to use this as a defense.