Hear the word "assault," and what do you picture? Perhaps a fight comes to mind -- two guys trading blows. Or perhaps your mental picture is a hulking figure beating up on a helpless victim.
These scenarios can describe assault (and battery), to be sure, but assault is a broad term. Here are some important facts about assault.
1. It does not require contact
This may surprise you, but in some cases (fifth-degree assault), assault does not mandate that any physical contact has happened. Some people have been charged with assault entirely because they made another person feel physically threatened.
2. Assault includes domestic violence
Often, people think of domestic violence and assault as separate categories. In fact, many, if not most, actual incidents of domestic violence are also assault. The consequences of domestic violence can be severe, even resulting in the perpetrator (or alleged perpetrator) not being allowed to go home or be around his or her children. In many cases, this consequence is natural, smart and understandable. In some cases, however, the severity of the consequences does motivate people to make false reports in an attempt to gain the upper hand in, say, a child custody proceeding.
3. Anyone can assault and be assaulted
When it comes to domestic violence, it occurs in all sorts of relationships, including same-sex relationships, for example. Some women also assault their male partners, even if the men are much bigger physically. In fact, women can be more likely to get away with domestic violence in such instances due to social stigmas surrounding female-on-male violence. No matter what the situation, though, getting out of an abusive relationship is a difficult act requiring a lot of courage.
Assault is something to be taken seriously. Sometimes it is a misdemeanor, sometimes a felony. If you have been charged with assault or would like to hold someone accountable for assault, an attorney should be able to help.