|Part of the common law series|
|Actus reus · Causation · Concurrence|
|Mens rea · Intention · Recklessness|
|Criminal negligence · Ignorantia juris…|
|Strict, Corporate & Vicarious liability|
|Crimes against people|
|Assault · Battery · Robbery|
|Sexual offences · Pimping · Rape|
|Kidnapping · Manslaughter · Murder|
|Crimes against property|
|Property damage · Arson|
|Theft · Burglary · Deception|
|Crimes against justice|
|Obstruction of justice · Bribery|
|Perjury · Malfeasance in office|
|Conspiracy · Accessory|
|Automatism, Intoxication & Mistake|
|Insanity · Diminished responsibility|
|Duress · Necessity|
|Provocation · Self defence|
|Other areas of the common law|
|Contract law · Tort law · Property law|
|Wills and trusts · Evidence|
|Portals: Law · Criminal justice|
Assault is a crime of violence against another person. The term criminal law, sometimes called penal law, refers to any of various bodies of rules in different Jurisdictions whose common characteristic is the potential Common law refers to law and the corresponding legal system developed through decisions of courts and similar tribunals rather than through legislative statutes or executive Actus reus, sometimes called the external element or the objective element of a crime is the Latin term for the "guilty act" which when proved Causation is the "causal relationship between conduct and result In Western Jurisprudence, concurrence, (or contemporaneity or simultaneity) is the apparent need to prove the simultaneous occurrence In Criminal law, mens rea the Latin term for "guilty mind" is usually one of the necessary elements of a Crime. In the Criminal law, intention is one of the three general classes of Mens rea necessary to constitute a conventional as opposed to In the Criminal law, recklessness (also called unchariness) is one of the four possible classes of mental state constituting Mens rea (the In the Criminal law, criminal negligence is one of the three general classes of Mens rea ( Latin for "guilty mind" element required Ignorantia juris non excusat or Ignorantia legis neminem excusat ( Latin for " Ignorance of the Law does not excuse" In Criminal law, strict liability is liability for which Mens rea ( Latin for "guilty mind" does not have to be proven in relation In the Criminal law, corporate liability determines the extent to which a Corporation as a fictitious person can be liable for the acts and omissions The legal principle of vicarious liability applies to hold one person liable for the actions of another when engaged in some form of joint or collective activity In Criminal law, an offence against the person usually refers to a crime which is committed by direct physical harm or force being applied to another person Battery is a term used by the Common law jurisdictions which involves an Injury or other Contact upon the Person of another in a manner likely Robbery is the Crime of seizing Property through Violence or Intimidation. A pimp (also called fleshmonger) finds and manages clients for Prostitutes and engages them in Prostitution (in Brothels in most cases and Rape, also referred to as Sexual assault, is an Assault by a person involving Sexual intercourse with or Sexual penetration of another person In Criminal law, kidnapping is the taking away or Asportation of a person against the person's will usually to hold the person in False imprisonment Manslaughter is a legal term for the killing of a human being in a manner considered by law as less culpable than Murder. Murder is the unlawful killing of another human person with Malice aforethought, as defined in Common Law countries Property damage (or in the United Kingdom, criminal damage) is damage to or the destruction of public or private Property, caused either by a In Criminal law, theft (also known as stealing or filching) is the illegal taking of another person's Property without that person's freely-given In English law, the main deception offences are defined in the Theft Act 1968 (TA68 the Theft Act 1978 and the Theft (Amendment Act 1996 The crime of obstruction of justice includes crimes committed by Judges Prosecutors attorneys general, and elected officials in general Bribery, a form of pecuniary corruption is an act usually implying money or gift given that alters the behaviour of the recipient in ways not consistent with the duties of that person Perjury, also known as forswearing, is the act of lying or making verifiably false statements on a material matter under Oath or Affirmation in a Malfeasance in office, or official misconduct, is the commission of an Unlawful act done in an official capacity which affects the performance of official duties Attempt crimes are crimes where the defendant's actions have the form of the actual enaction of the crime itself the actions must go beyond mere preparation In the Criminal law, a conspiracy is an agreement between Natural persons to break the law at some time in the future and in some cases with at least one overt act An accessory is a person who assists in the commission of a Crime, but who does not actually participate in the commission of the crime as a joint principal For a more detailed discussion of individual topics see Automatism (case law In the Criminal Law, automatism is a defense to liability Intoxication is the state of being affected by one or more psychoactive drugs. A mistake of fact may sometimes offer exculpation (as in Excuse) by allowing a criminal Defendant some relief from liability for having broken the In Criminal trials the insanity defenses are possible defenses by Excuse, an Affirmative defense by which Defendants argue that In Criminal law, diminished responsibility (or diminished capacity) is a potential defense by Excuse by which Defendants argue that For English law on the criminal defence see Duress in English law. In Criminal law, necessity may be either a possible justification or an exculpation for breaking the Law. Also see Provocation in English law. In Criminal law, provocation is a possible defense by excuse or exculpation The right of self-defense (also called alter ego defense, defense of others, defense of a third person) is the right for civilians acting on their A contract is an exchange of promises between two or more parties to do or refrain from doing an act which is enforceable in a court of law Tort law is the name given to a body of law that creates and provides remedies for civil wrongs that do not arise out of Contractual duties Property law is the area of Law that governs the various forms of Ownership in Real property (land as distinct from personal or movable possessions In Common law, a will or testament is a document by which a person (the Testator) regulates the rights of others over his or her Property The law of trusts and estates is generally considered the body of Law which governs the management of personal affairs and the Disposition of Property of The Law of evidence governs the use of Testimony (eg oral or written statements such as an Affidavit) and exhibits (e In the sociological field, crime is the breach of a rule or Law for which some governing authority or force may ultimately prescribe a Punishment Violence is the exertion of force so as to injure or abuse The word is used broadly to describe the destructive action of natural phenomena like Storms and Earthquakes Human beings, humans or man (Origin 1590–1600 L homō man OL hemō the earthly one (see Humus In some jurisdictions, including Australia and New Zealand, assault refers to an act that causes another to apprehend immediate and personal violence, while in other jurisdictions, such as the United States, assault refers only to the threat of violence caused by an immediate show of force. In Law, jurisdiction (from the Latin ius iuris meaning "law" and dicere meaning "to speak" is the practical Authority For a topic outline on this subject see List of basic Australia topics. New Zealand is an Island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses (the North Island and the South Island The United States of America —commonly referred to as the Simple assaults that do not involve any aggravation such as use of a deadly weapon are distinguished from aggravated assaults in some jurisdictions. Aggravation, in Law, is "any circumstance attending the commission of a crime or tort which increases its guilt or enormity or adds to its injurious consequences but which A weapon is a Tool used either in Hunting, or attack or defence in Combat for the purpose of subduing enemy personnel or to destroy enemy weapons
Assault is often defined to include not only violence, but any physical contact with another person without their consent. In common law jurisdictions, including England and Wales and the USA, battery is the crime that represents the unlawful physical contact, though this distinction does not exist in all jurisdictions. Common law refers to law and the corresponding legal system developed through decisions of courts and similar tribunals rather than through legislative statutes or executive History The Roman occupation of Britain was the first period in which the area of present-day England and Wales was administered as a single unit (with the exception Battery is a term used by the Common law jurisdictions which involves an Injury or other Contact upon the Person of another in a manner likely Exceptions exist to cover unsolicited physical contact which amount to normal social behavior (for example, patting someone on the back): see (in England and Wales) Collins v. Wilcox  3 All ER 374.
In most jurisdictions, the intention to cause grievous bodily harm (or its equivalent) may amount to the mental requirement to prefer a charge of murder in circumstances where the harm inflicted upon the victim proves fatal. Murder is the unlawful killing of another human person with Malice aforethought, as defined in Common Law countries In England and Wales, this fact was criticised by Lord Edmund-Davies in Cunningham  AC 566.
American common law has defined assault as an attempt to commit a battery. Common law refers to law and the corresponding legal system developed through decisions of courts and similar tribunals rather than through legislative statutes or executive Battery is a term used by the Common law jurisdictions which involves an Injury or other Contact upon the Person of another in a manner likely
Assault is typically treated as a misdemeanor and not as a felony (unless it involves a law enforcement officer). A misdemeanor, or misdemeanour, in many common law legal systems is a "lesser" criminal act In Common law legal systems a felony is a serious Crime, often contrasted with a Misdemeanor. Police are agents or agencies usually of the executive, empowered to enforce the law and to effect public and social order through the legitimatized use of force The more serious crime of aggravated assault is treated as a felony.
Four elements were required at common law:
Simple assault can be distinguished without the intent of injury upon another person. Simple assault can consist simply of the violation of one's personal space or touching in a way the victim deemed inappropriate. (i. e. one's personal space consists of arm's reach. )
As the criminal law evolved, element one was weakened in most jurisdictions so that a reasonable fear of bodily injury would suffice. These four elements were eventually codified in most states.
Modern American statutes define assault as:
Some states also define assault as an attempt to menace (or actual menacing) by placing another person in fear of imminent serious bodily injury.
States vary whether it is possible to commit an "attempted assault" since it can be considered a double inchoate offense.
In some states, consent is a complete defense to assault. In the Criminal law, consent may be an Excuse and prevent the defendant from incurring Liability for what was done In other jurisdictions, mutual consent is an incomplete defense, with the result that the misdemeanor is treated as a petty misdemeanor.
Furthermore, the crime of assault generally requires that both the perpetrator and the victim of an assault are human. Thus, there is no assault if an ox gores a man. However, the Unborn Victims of Violence Act of 2004 treats the fetus as a separate person for the purposes of assault and other violent crimes, under certain limited circumstances. The Unborn Victims of Violence Act of 2004 (Public Law 108-212 is a United States law which recognizes a "child in utero" as a legal victim if he or she is injured A fetus (or foetus or fœtus) is a developing Mammal or other Viviparous Vertebrate, after the Embryonic stage and See H.R. 1997 / P.L. 108-212
Some possible examples of defenses, mitigating circumstances, or failures of proof are:
Aggravated assault is, in some jurisdictions, a stronger form of assault, usually using a deadly weapon. Aggravation, in Law, is "any circumstance attending the commission of a crime or tort which increases its guilt or enormity or adds to its injurious consequences but which  A person has committed an aggravated assault when that person:
Aggravated assault is usually differentiated from simple assault by the offender's intent (i. e. , to murder, to rape etc. Murder is the unlawful killing of another human person with Malice aforethought, as defined in Common Law countries Rape, also referred to as Sexual assault, is an Assault by a person involving Sexual intercourse with or Sexual penetration of another person ), the extent of the injury to the victim, or the use of a deadly weapon, although legal definitions vary between jurisdictions. A victims' rights group is a type of Interest group which advocates or lobbies for legal social or political change on behalf of victims of serious Crime A weapon is a Tool used either in Hunting, or attack or defence in Combat for the purpose of subduing enemy personnel or to destroy enemy weapons Law is a system of rules enforced through a set of Institutions used as an instrument to underpin civil obedience politics economics and society Sentences for aggravated assault are generally more severe, reflecting the greater degree of harm or malice intended by the perpetrator. In Law, a sentence forms the final act of a Judge -ruled process and also the symbolic principal act connected to his function In the Parlance of Criminal justice, a suspect is a known person suspected of committing a Crime.
Although the range and precise application of defenses varies between jurisdictions, the following represents a list of the defenses that may apply to all levels of assault:
Consent may be a complete or partial defense to assault. In the Criminal law, consent may be an Excuse and prevent the defendant from incurring Liability for what was done In some jurisdictions, most notably England, it is not a defense where the degree of injury is severe, as long as there is no legally recognised good reason for the assault. England is a Country which is part of the United Kingdom. Its inhabitants account for more than 83% of the total UK population whilst its mainland . This can have important consequences when dealing with issues such as consensual sadomasochistic sexual activity, the most notable case being the Operation Spanner case. Sadism refers to Sexual or non-sexual gratification in the infliction of Pain or humiliation upon or by another person Human sexual behavior or different human sexual practices encompass a wide range of activities such as strategies to find or attract partners ( Mating and display Operation Spanner was the name of an operation carried out by police in Manchester in the United Kingdom in 1987. Legally recognised good reasons for consent include; surgery, activities within the rules of a game (Burnes), bodily adornment (R v Wilson), or horseplay (Jones and others). However, any activity outside the rules of the game is not legally recognised as a defence of consent.
Police officers and court officials have a general power to use force for the purpose of effecting an arrest or generally carrying out their official duties. A police officer (also known as a policeman or policewoman) is a warranted employee of a Police force. An arrest is the act of depriving a person of his or her liberty usually in relation to the investigation and prevention of crime Thus, a court officer taking possession of goods under a court order may use force if reasonably necessary. However in Scottish Law, consent is not a defense for assault.
In some jurisdictions, caning and other forms of corporal punishment are a part of the culture. Caning is a Physical punishment (see that article for generalities and alternatives consisting of a number of hits (known as "strokes" or "cuts" with Corporal punishment is the deliberate infliction of pain intended to Punish a person or change his/her behavior Culture (from the Latin cultura stemming from colere, meaning "to cultivate" generally refers to patterns of human activity and the symbolic Evidently, if it is a state-administered punishment, e. Punishment is the practice of imposing something unpleasant or aversive on a person or animal usually in response to disobedient or morally wrong behavior g. as in Singapore, the officers who physically administer the punishment have immunity. Singapore Some states also permit the use of less severe punishment for children in school and at home by parents. CHILD syndrome (or congenital hemidysplasia with ichthyosiform erythroderma and limb defects) is a genetic disorder A school (from Greek σχολεῖον - scholeion) is an Institution designed to allow and encourage Students (or "pupils" A parent is a Father or Mother; one who sires or gives In English law, s58 Children Act 2004, limits the availability of the lawful correction defense to common assault under s39 Criminal Justice Act 1988. English law is the legal system of England and Wales, and is the basis of Common law legal systems used in most Commonwealth countriesand the
This may or may not involve self defense in that, using a reasonable degree of force to prevent another from committing a crime could involve preventing an assault, but it could be preventing a crime not involving the use of personal violence.
Some states allow force to be used in defense of property, to prevent damage either in its own right, or under one or both of the preceding classes of defense in that a threat or attempt to damage property might be considered a crime (in English law, under s5 Criminal Damage Act 1971 it may be argued that the defendant has a lawful excuse to damaging property during the defense and a defense under s3 Criminal Law Act 1967) subject to the need to deter vigilantes and excessive self-help. The defence of property is a possible justification used by defendants who argue that they should not be held liable for the loss and injury they have caused because they were acting In English law causing criminal damage was originally a Common law offence. The Criminal Law Act 1967 (c58 is an Act of Parliament of the United Kingdom A vigilante is a person who ignores Due process of law and enacts their own form of Justice in response to a perception of insufficient response by the
In England and Wales, an assault consists of a person intentionally or recklessly causing another person to apprehend immediate and unlawful violence.
Causing a person to apprehend violence can be committed by way of action or words: R v. Ireland  AC 147. Of course, words can also mean that otherwise threatening actions are rendered not capable of being an assault, as in the celebrated case of Tuberville v. Savage (1669 1 Mod 3, T). In that case, the Defendant told the Complainant (while putting his hand on his sword) that he would not stab him, because the circuit judge was visiting town for the local assizes. On that basis, the Complainant was deemed to have known that he was not about to be injured, and no assault was held to have been committed.
The "immediacy" required has been the subject of some debate. The leading case, again, is R v. Ireland  AC 147. The House of Lords held that the making of silent telephone calls could amount to an assault, if it caused the victim to believe that physical violence might be used against him in the immediate future. One example of "immediacy" adopted by the House in that case was that a man who said, "I will be at your door in a minute or two," might (in the circumstances where those words amounted to a threat) be guilty of an assault.
Section 39 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988 provides that common assault, like battery, is triable only in the magistrates court in England and Wales (unless it is linked to a more serious offense which is triable in the Crown Court). A magistrates' court or court of petty sessions, formerly known as a police court, is the lowest level of court in England and Wales and For the TV programme see Crown Court (TV series. The Crown Court of England and Wales is together with the High Court of Justice Additionally, if a Defendant has been charged on an indictment with assault occasioning actual bodily harm (ABH), or racially/religiously aggravated assault, then a jury in the Crown Court may acquit the Defendant of the more serious offense, but still convict of common assault if it finds common assault has been committed.
Because common assault is a summary-only offense, its maximum penalty is six months' imprisonment, or a "level 5 fine" (currently up to £5,000). The standard scale is a system whereby financial criminal penalties ( fines) in Legislation have maximum levels set against a standard scale The "starting sentence" for a first time offender pleading guilty is normally a community penalty.
English law makes distinctions based on the degree of injury, between:
Furthermore, English law also provides for the offense of grievous bodily harm (GBH). Inflicting Grievous Bodily Harm (often abbreviated to GBH) is a phrase used in English Criminal law which was introduced in sections 18 and 20 GBH may be committed by way of an assault, though an assault is not a necessary ingredient of either inflicting grievous bodily harm pursuant to s20 of the Offences Against The Person Act 1861 or causing grievous bodily harm with intent pursuant to s 18 of the same Act (R v. The Offences Against the Person Act 1861 (24 & 25 Vict c100 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Ireland  AC 147, per Lord Steyn at p. 160).
If an assault is prosecuted as being racially or religiously aggravated, then it is triable either way (in the Crown Court or magistrates court). The maximum penalty in this case is up to two years' imprisonment, or a fine of up to the statutory maximum.
The offender may intend to resist either his own or someone else's arrest. This offense is also triable either way, and punishable by up to two years' imprisonment.
This offense is triable only in the magistrates court, so the maximum sentence is twelve months' imprisonment. The "starting sentence," however, is a short custodial sentence, and it is considered a more serious offense than common assault.
The constable (normally a police officer) must be acting "in the execution of his duty" for this offense to be made out. If he exceeds the remit of his duty (e. g. acts unlawfully in assaulting the Defendant), the offense will not be made out.
The Defendant does not actually have to be aware that the person he is assaulting is a constable (Forbes (1865) 10 Cox CC 362).
Canadian Law and Self Defence: Truscott: This unique study of how the Criminal Code of Canada relates to self defence is supported by reference to over 60 actual court cases.