Assault and Aggression: General Description

In most states, the assault or the assault take place when a person: 1) tries to hit you or hits you physically to another, or 2) acts in a menacing manner to intimidate the other before the possibility of immediate harm. Many states declare that an assault or aggression, more serious or “aggravated” occurs when someone: 1) attempts to cause or causes serious injury to another person, or 2) causes injury through the use of a deadly weapon. Muggings and assaults may also be reported by civil law (versus criminal). For more information on causes personal injury (“tort”) by virtue of a robbery or assault, see Assault and battery ┬áCenter Accidents and Injuries.

The idea of assault and aggression brings to mind quarreling or bickering typical, and in a few states combine the two offenses. However, the terms are actually two legal concepts independent, with characteristic elements. In a few words, an assault is an attempt or threat to injure another person, while an assault would be to have a real contact with another person of nature that is harmful or offensive. The following provides a more detailed look of both crimes and their elements, which helps to explain how they link so closely.

Assault: Definition

The definition of assault varies depending on the state, but is generally defined as an attempt to injure another person, and in some circumstances can include threats or threatening conduct against others. A definition frequently would be an attempt to intentionally, by violence or force, to injure, or harm another person. Another direct way in which is defined an assault is an attempt of aggression. In fact, in a general way, the primary distinction between an assault and an assault is that it is not necessary that there be contact for an assault, while it should occur a contact is offensive or illegal for there to be aggression.

Assault: Requirement of the Act

Although usually it is not necessary that contact to constitute a crime of assault, a conviction for assault requires an “act” offense. The types of acts that make up the category of assault can vary widely but, in general, an assault requires an overt act or direct that would provide a reasonable person to fear for their safety. Words alone will not be sufficient act to constitute an assault unless the offender the reinforce with an act or actions that will instil in the victim a fear of imminent harm.

Assault: Requirement of Intent

In order to commit an assault, a person need only have a “general intent”. What this means is that, while no one can commit an assault against another person accidentally, it is sufficient to prove that the offender had the intention to carry out the actions that constitute an assault. So, if a person acts in a way that is deemed dangerous to others, that may be enough to justify charges for assault, even if it was not intended to inflict a damage to a particular person in particular. Also, the intention of scaring the other person may be sufficient to establish charges for assault.

Aggression: Definition

Although the laws that define assault vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, a definition typical of the aggression is the contact offensive or harmful intentional with another person without their consent. According to this general definition, a crime of assault usually requires all of the following:

  • intentional contact;
  • the contact must be harmful or offensive;
  • there must be consent of the victim.

Aggression: Requirement of Intent

It may be surprising that an act of aggression does not always require an intention to harm the victim (although such intent usually exist in cases of aggression). On the contrary, a person need only have the intention of entering into contact with, or generate a contact with another person. Also, if someone acts with recklessness or criminal negligence that results in such contact, this can constitute an assault. As a result, crash accidentally with someone, more offensive than the “victim” considers it, would not constitute an assault.

Aggression: Requirement of the Act

The criminal act required for the aggression boils down to a contact is offensive or harmful. This can range from aggression evident, in which there is a physical attack such as a punch or a kick, even minimal contact in some cases. Generally, it is not necessary that the victim suffer an injury or damage to an attack occurs, whenever there has been an offensive contact. In a classic example, spitting on someone does not hurt physically, but nevertheless can constitute an offensive contact sufficient for there to be aggression. If a particular contact is considered offensive is usually evaluated from the perspective of the “ordinary person”.

Some jurisdictions have combined assault and battery and assault into a single crime. Because the two crimes are so closely related and usually occur together, this is no surprise. However, the basic concepts behind the crime remain the same.

  • Defenses against assault and aggression
  • Sanctions and penalties for assault and battery
  • State laws on assault and battery and assault (Laws state FindLaw)
  • Other crimes against persons