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What does it mean to face assault charges?

by | Aug 26, 2019 | Criminal Defense

Perhaps an altercation with someone got a bit out of hand. An Amherst resident did not exactly behave as he or she ordinarily would, but thought the matter was put to rest. Then, that person finds him or herself under arrest and facing assault charges.

But no physical contact occurred. How could he or she face charges for assault? Understanding the legal definition of assault and knowing what elements prosecutors must prove could help in building a defense.

The first thing to know about assault is that it does not have to include actual physical contact. For example, threatening someone with a gun constitutes assault. On the other hand, threatening to shoot someone without brandishing a gun would probably not constitute assault.

The individual making the allegations must have feared for his or her safety at the time. The alleged victim must feel as though the person making the threats will imminently carry them out. Prosecutors would need to prove to the court beyond a reasonable doubt that one individual intended to harm another person, or at least make the other party think harm was imminent. Then, prosecutors would also have to show that the supposed victim actually feared it would happen right then.

Facing assault charges can be a frightening experience, and the penalties can be harsh. It would be wise to take the matter seriously. An Amherst criminal defense attorney can review you case, advise you of your rights and discuss the defense options that would most likely provide you with the most favorable outcome.