Assault in the United States is a broadly defined charge of violent crime which constitutes an attempt to commit battery
Assault charges may be as minor as the classification of Simple assault, which does not result in any bodily injury upon the plaintiff. Simple assault is the violation of one’s personal space without consent that does not result in physical harm. Importantly, simple assault charges, unlike menacing charges, must result in physical contact.
If no physical contact occurs between the plaintiff and defendant in a simple assault claim, there can be no judgment for the plaintiff, even if the court deems the defendant’s conduct inappropriate. Charges of harassment or obscenity are options for plaintiffs who feel violated but were not physically contacted by the offender.
Aggravated Assault charges are treated as felonies and include attempts to cause severe incapacitating bodily injury to another which needs to be foreseen, or attempts to injure another with a deadly weapon. If the attempts are successful, the Aggravated Assault charges will be pressed in conjunction with Battery or weapon charges, respectively.
Aggravated Assault in the United States also includes attempts to have sexual intercourse with minors under the age of fourteen, modifying the charge to Aggravated Sexual Assault or possibly Aggravated Rape, which is a capital offense that may result in a death sentence in some US states.
Victims of police brutality or excessive force may attempt to press charges against their arresting officers for assault and possibly misconduct. Police, however, have the authority to use reasonable and equal force to subdue suspects, which may and often do negate actions that would be considered assault by civilians.
In most jurisdictions, consent is a complete defenseConsent is given by athletes through waivers, specifying their consent to the official risks of their profession, and thus relegating their right to sue over routine injuries or threats they may suffer at work. Exceptions to this include out-of-the-ordinary conduct, such as brawls, spectator violence, or violating the rules of conduct.
A professional fighter who assaults an opponent after the bell or during a time-out may be subject to assault charges as his actions did not follow protocol agreed to in the waivers, and thus were not considered consented to by the plaintiff.