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Criminal Assault is a second-degree misdemeanor, especially when you “try” to punch someone. So even if you swing and miss, it is still a crime because you had the intention to punch someone. Assault is a crime of intent. Likewise, if you pull a gun or another type of weapon on someone, you can be charged with assault with a weapon, which is a felony. So, assault involves threatening someone and they feel fear.
Simple assault is punishable by up to 60 days in jail. Assault crimes will escalate depending on other factors, such as if a weapon was used.
Assault is not just a crime of intent. It is also a crime of “now.” What this means is that if you call or text someone and communicate that you are going to harm them, it is not a crime of assault. The person must be in imminent fear of physical harm. Not 10 minutes from now, not a week from now, but the very minute the alleged threat was made. However, you may still be charged with a crime involving communicating a threat or harassment, and a restraining order may be ordered against you. Violation the restraining order may land you in jail.
Criminal Battery involves the intentional and unwanted touching of someone. Simple battery is a first-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail.
There are special kinds of battery called domestic violence battery. Domestic violence batter crimes involve a batter crime against someone you have some type of relationship with such as a father, mother, brother, sister, someone you have an intimate relationship with (or had a previous intimate relationship with, and those that live in the same residence as you. If you are convicted of a domestic violence batter crime that can affect your ability to own or carry a firearm, hold certain security clearances, and you may not have the criminal record sealed or expunged.
There are escalators with battery crimes, such as for situations where a weapon or gun was used in the alleged batter crime.
One thing to remember about battery crimes is that intent is at the very heart of the case. If the prosecution cannot prove the unwanted touching was intentional, they cannot achieve a conviction. In other words, accidental touching is not a crime.