Assaults are crimes defined as attempted batteries or acts intended to create the threat of imminent bodily injury. A defendant may be found guilty even if they didn’t cause physical harm to a victim, and most assault cases are misdemeanor offenses punishable by a fine and a jail sentence of up to one year. Some serious charges are considered felonies; such as assault on a law enforcement officer or aggravated assault. However, all cases have one thing in common: the defendant makes the victim believe that they will be physically harmed.
Elements of a Criminal Assault Case
To document a criminal assault, prosecutors must prove all of the below elements beyond reasonable doubt. An assault and battery attorney in New York City may claim that one or all of the required elements has not been fulfilled as a defense to assault charges. Those elements include:
• that the defendant’s actions must create a sense of danger or fear in a victim;
• that the victim reasonably believed that they’d be harmed;
• that the victim experienced the fear in response to an imminent threat. The harm must present a physical danger; words alone do not typically constitute an assault.
• That the defendant’s behavior was offensive or harmful.
All of these elements must be proven for a person to be deemed guilty of an assault. Of the above elements, offensive conduct and intent get the most scrutiny by judges and. It can be hard to prove whether a defendant’s behavior was intentional, and court personnel often spend significant time deciding whether the defendant’s actions were offensive or harmful.
Should a Victim or a Defendant Hire an Attorney in an Assault Case?
If a person faces assault charges, they should call a criminal defense attorney right away for legal advice. A lawyer with can explain in detail the meaning of the various elements of an assault, and which of these elements will be the focus in court. Alternatively, if a person is the victim of a criminal assault, they can consult an assault and battery attorney in New York City to obtain legal relief in court.