What you should know about assault allegations

Were you accused of assaulting a fellow Connecticut resident? The act of "assault" refers to the threat or attempt to hurt another individual. Assault does not necessarily involve physical contact, it just has to be the attempt to hurt or harm. Battery is the crime that involves actual physical contact with the intent to harm.

Assault crimes may include the attempt to hurt someone physically, but they can -- in some circumstances -- include threatening behavior and verbal threats. Other ways of describing assault include the terminology "intentional attempt" or "attempted battery." Again, you don't need to actually touch the victim to be convicted of an assault charge.

For a conviction to occur, however, the person who is allegedly guilty of assault must have committed what the court deems to be a criminal act. The act must be overt and purposeful, and result in causing a reasonable person to be afraid for his or her safety. Spoken words alone may not be sufficient to result in conviction if they do not also include an action or multiple actions that cause the victim to fear for his or her safety.

There is also the "general intent" requirement. This can be satisfied, however, even if the alleged assaulter did not personally believe his or her actions would cause someone to fear for his or her safety. If a reasonable person would have feared for his or her safety as a result of the actions, it's sufficient to satisfy the general intent requirement.

Were you accused of assault? You may be able to defend yourself against the charges in court. A criminal defense lawyer can help you try to get your charges dropped or dismissed. Or, in the event that a conviction is likely, your attorney can take action to try and obtain a reduction in the severity of your punishments.

Source: FindLaw, "Assault and battery overview," accessed May 26, 2017