FAQ: Criminal Assault Law for Victims

Criminal Defense Lawyer

There is a lot of information available concerning the laws surrounding criminal assault. In efforts to prevent confusion and promote clarity, take the time to educate yourself and read through some commonly asked questions concerning criminal assault law.

What is criminal assault?

Criminal assault is defined as either:

  • An attempt on criminal battery
  • The reasonable apprehension of imminent bodily harm. This means that a person has threatened another person to the point where they believe they will be immediately injured.

It is important to note that with an assault charge, the victim may not be physically harmed, as an attorney, like a criminal defense lawyer in Fairfax, VA from a law firm like May Law, LLP, can explain. An example of an assault is when Person A threatens to hit Person B with a rock, but Person B is able to escape in time and isn’t injured. 

What is a criminal battery charge?

A battery charge is when the victim is physically injured. An example of a battery is when Person A hits Person B with their car, without previous warning. 

What is the difference between a criminal assault and a civil assault?

Simply put, the criminal assault court is where punitive action is taken against a defendant. These charges are prosecuted by the state. 

On the other hand, civil court is where personal injury lawsuits take place. A party files for damages that have resulted from an alleged assault. Depending on the specific situation, the party claiming they were assaulted can file for compensation that will cover their medical bills, pain and suffering, and lost wages.

How do I prove my case in both courts?

In criminal court, a lawyer has to prove that a defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. In other words, the jury has to be 100% certain that the defendant committed the crime. Once that trial is complete, you’ll go to civil court where your lawyer will need to prove the preponderance of the evidence. This means that your lawyer must show that there is more than a 50% chance that you did not commit the assault. 

What does the term “bodily injury” mean?

In criminal court, a bodily injury equates to physical pain. Many victims believe that a bodily injury has to mean something along the lines of a visible mark like a scratch or bruise but this is untrue. However, serious bodily injury is a term meaning a bodily injury that creates a substantial risk of severe injury and/or death.

What should I do after the incident?

If you believe you are a victim of a criminal assault and/or battery, there are a few things you should do. This includes:

  • Do not contact the other party. If they contact you, report all communication to the police and your lawyer.
  • Contact a criminal assault lawyer to file a claim. Criminal assault cases are timely so don’t wait to get started.
  • Seek medical attention and keep all insurance and medical bills.
  • Compile a list of all potential witnesses.
  • Take photos of evidence, including any injuries.
  • Write down what happened.

Starting a criminal law case can seem scary, so if you have any additional questions do not hesitate to contact a criminal defense lawyer.