Assault is one of the bedrocks of our criminal justice system. Without assault as a criminal offense, individuals could physically injure others with no penalty. The interesting thing about this charge however is it criminalizes more activity than most people realize. Additionally, even if you were not successful in injuring someone or even hitting them, an attempt to do so could also be considered an assault.
When the average person thinks about an assault they picture a punch to the face. The reality of this charge however is that most often it is simply a push or a grab that triggers chargers. The actual criminal code simply requires that the state show that the individual used unlawful force or violence to cause bodily injury to someone or a substantial risk of bodily injury. Clearly that language could include a large range of activity from the very egregious to the somewhat benign. The deciding factors in most cases is whether or not the violence left any marks or bruising.
Along with the actions above, an individual can also commit an assault by simply attempting violence. Basically what this portion of the criminal statute does is makes it so that a person doesn’t have to be successful in their violent action to be charged. So by simply throwing a punch an individual has already committed an assault whether that punch actually lands or not.
Assault is a very serious offense because it is a violent offense. Violent offenses always carry with them additional negative stigma and higher fines. A lot of class B misdemeanors have a standard fine of almost $700. An assault however usually carries a standard fine of over $1,000. If you or someone you love has been charged with a violent offense then its really important you at least consult with a criminal defense attorney about your case. Without knowing your options and likely outcomes you could possibly take a deal that could cause you serious grief in the future.