Types of Assault

Assault is a word frequently used in reference to different actions that may have legal consequences and, as Grand Rapids criminal defense lawyers can explain, often incorrectly. For instance, many people speak of “assault and battery” as one distinct term when, in fact, assault and battery are two separate offenses. Additionally, an assault may be prosecuted criminally or may subject one who commits an assault to civil liability.


The legal definition of an assault, according to Grand Rapids criminal defense lawyers, is an attempt to touch or a threat of touching another person in an offensive manner with the apparent ability to do so. An important element is the present ability that creates imminent apprehension in the other person; an assault does not occur if the alleged victim is fearful of something that may happen in the future.

On the issue of touching, Grand Rapids criminal defense lawyers can further explain that it must be offensive or undesired in some manner and can occur even if the victim’s person is not touched but their clothes, for example, were.

A battery involves the actual touching of another; it may be said that an assault is an attempted battery. When physical contact does occur, both assault and battery may be charged.


The legal definition for assault as it applies to civil liability is the same. However, damages are an essential element of a civil claim. Grand Rapids criminal defense lawyers will need to prove actual damages the victim suffered in order to prevail on a civil assault claim.


Among the many different types of assault offenses, simple assault is the least serious charge. Typically, the prosecution will charge a simple assault in cases that does not involve a weapon and where the victim suffers no or only minor harm. Simple assault is most often charged as a misdemeanor.


In situations where a weapon was used by the alleged perpetrator, a serious injury to the victim resulted or the assault occurred during the commission of another crime, the criminal charges are correspondingly more serious and typically result in felony prosecutions.

It is important to realize that items other than what one typically thinks of as weapons can trigger an aggravated assault charge. Consequently, not only are guns and knives weapons, but cars, beer bottles and ash trays, for example, may also be considered weapons by the prosecution.


If you have been arrested or are the subject of an investigation by law enforcement, it can be a mistake to try and handle it on your own. Even speaking with the police without experienced counsel can result in unknowingly surrendering constitutional rights. A Grand Rapids criminal defense attorney will thoroughly investigate your case, find out the strengths and weaknesses of the prosecution’s case and explain your legal rights and options to provide the best possible resolution of your case.


Call Blanchard Law at (616) 773-2945.

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