Assault and battery are two different issues in civil lawsuits. In criminal court, however, assault and battery fall under one statute – there is no difference. The only difference is in the severity of the crime, or the “degree”.
A person commits assault when they do something with the intent to hurt someone or make them think they are about to be hurt. An assault can be direct (hitting someone with your fist) or indirect (putting something in their drink).
In Minnesota, people may refer to an “aggravated assault” but criminal assault actually comes in various degrees depending on whether an injury occurred, how severe the injury was and the relationship between the actors.
- First degree assault
- Second degree assault
- Third degree assault
- Fourth degree assault
- Fifth degree assault
- Domestic violence
- Domestic battery
- Sexual assault
- Motor vehicle assault
First degree is the most serious charge and carries the harshest punishments. Whereas a fifth degree assault charge might only be a misdemeanor if it’s a first time offense.
There are also several different types of non-physical assault charges including:
- Intimidation of violence or threats
- Unwanted touching or harassment (sexual or non-sexual)
- Verbal or emotional abuse with violent undertones
- Putting something in someone’s drink
- Knowingly transmitting a disease
Being charged with any form of assault can have serious effects on your life, and having an assault charge on your criminal record is no treat. Next time, I’ll cover some potential defenses to assault charges.