Strategic Defense
From A Former Prosecutor

Is a threat actually an assault?

On Behalf of | Sep 18, 2021 | Criminal Defense

People often assume that an assault means physically harming someone else. Legally speaking, though, this is often referred to as “battery.” That’s why you hear of people being picked up for assault and battery — so what is the assault component? 

An assault may be a threat of physical harm, while “battery” is the harm itself. That said, things can get tricky, as there are plenty of threats that do not count as assault. The key is whether or not it was a credible threat or if the person had a reason to believe what was being threatened would actually happen. 

What’s an example of assault?

A common example of this involves the visibility of a firearm. Someone who is unarmed may yell to another person during a verbal exchange that they are going to shoot them. If their hands are in the air and they have no gun, though, this is just a baseless threat and may not count as assault. 

On the other hand, if they’re holding a gun or reaching into their shoulder holster to pull one out, that gives the threat a lot more credibility. They don’t have to actually fire at the other person or cause physical harm. Making that realistic threat could still count as assault, even if no one is injured in the exchange. 

Are you facing charges related to assault and battery?

As you can see, you could face charges that seem a lot more severe than you ever anticipated. People make mistakes. Things happen. What you need to do is make sure you understand all of the legal options you have moving forward.