25 Jun 20

Different Types of Assault + Penalties

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Last Updated on: 6th August 2023, 02:18 am

An assault is the threat or attempt to physically harm another person either by striking or touching in an offensive manner irrespective of whether contact is made.

This can only happen if the victim is conscious of the threat to be touched or physically harmed.

An incidence can only be considered as an assault if it meets the following criteria:

• If without the consent of the victim, a person intentionally applies force either directly or indirectly
• If a person attempts to threaten, through an act or gesture to apply force to the victim
• while overtly carrying a weapon or anything resembling a weapon a person accosts another

It is worth noting that even the slightest application of force or threat to a person can result in assault charges. As such, there are many circumstances through which a person can be accused of assaulting another.

Below are some of the common types of assaults:

1. Simple assault

Simple assault is a hybrid offense and the simplest form of assault. This implies that the charges can be easily be prosecuted through an indictment.

All simple assaults prosecuted via indictment are often treated with a lot of seriousness, undergo a complex and protracted court process, and can attract a maximum of five years in prison.

On the other hand, simple assault cases that are prosecuted summarily are less serious with a simple court process. A person charged through this process can get a fine of up to $5,000 or a prison term of six months.

2. Aggravated assault

Aggravated assault is when there is an attempt to attack or a physical attack by use of force or violence that results in bodily injury to another person. In this type of assault, a weapon is often used and is considered as an assault regardless of whether the victim suffers physical injury or not.

For the court to be convinced that an assault took place, the offender must have shown the intention to cause serious harm to the victim by the use of a deadly weapon such as a gun, a knife, or a blunt object.

Anyone found guilty of an aggravated assault can get a maximum prison term of 14 years.

3. Sexual assault

A sexual assault happens when a person attempts or forces another to engage in touching of sexual nature without consent. Knowing exactly if the touching was sexual depends on the interpretation of the jury or judge.

The courts will investigate the circumstances surrounding the incident and come up with an objective decision.

Sexual assault is also a hybrid offense. If a person if prosecuted summarily, then they will get a maximum prison sentence of 18 months. However, if the assault charge is prosecuted through an indictment, then the maximum jail term will be 10 years.

The punishment of the assault charge can even be harsher if the victim is below 16 years. If it is a summary prosecution, then the jail term goes up to 2 years in prison but if it is an indictment, then an offender can get a maximum prison term of 14years.

4. Felony assault

Also referred to as battery, a felony assault happens in situations where a person is threatened or physically experiences bodily harm through violence. In most cases, a weapon or weapons are involved in inflicting injury to the victim.

Below are a few examples of felony assaults:

• Shooting a person using a gun or threatening to kill while pointing the gun at him or her
• Threatening or striking another person using a weapon or blunt object
• Assaulting another person while concealing your identity

A person found guilty of felony assault can be punished with a prison sentence of between two to 25 years. However, every state has its own statutes that regulate the type of punishment for felony assault charges.

In general, there are different assault charges that people can be prosecuted for. All these assaults can be either be prosecuted summarily or through indictment. Different states have their own regulations and statutes when it comes to assault charges.