Aug 14, 2015

Simple Assault and Imminent Threat

Simple assault consists of intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causing bodily injury to another person; intentionally or knowingly threatening another person with imminent bodily injury, or intentionally or knowingly causing physical contact with another that the offender knows or reasonably should know the victim will find provocative or offensive.
Simple assault involves only minor bodily injury like a cut, scrape, or bruise. In fact, assault does not even require actual physical contact with another individual: simply threatening another person with violence may be considered assault if that person has a reasonable fear that the act will be committed.
Words alone, no matter how insulting or provocative, do not justify an assault or battery against the person who utters the words.

If you do not directly suffer pain, illness or impairment by the contact but the contact is still offensive or unwelcome then an assault claim could still be brought for offensive contact. These types of claims normally include sexual assault, in which the harm is emotional or mental rather than physical. A sexual assault does not have to result in a bodily injury. The elements of this assault claim require that;
  • The defendant acted intentionally or knowingly; 
  • The defendant made contact with plaintiff’s person; 
  • The defendant knew or reasonably should have believed plaintiff would regard the contact as offensive or provocative; and 
  • The defendant’s contact caused injury to plaintiff.
An offensive contact assault claim requires the defendant to know or be expected to know that the contact would be considered offensive; a person acting carelessly may touch another person offensively, but unless they intended to offend the victim or acted with reasonable certainty that they would offend another person there is no assault.

An assault brought for a threat of bodily injury does not require physical contact, but a plaintiff still must prove a specific type of threat was intentionally made and that the threat had an effect on the plaintiff. 
A threat of bodily injury is a declaration of intent to inflict punishment, loss, or pain on another person and has to be a threat of imminent harm; the threat has to be of a present harm rather than "future" harm. 

The plaintiff must prove that any injury caused by the threat was foreseeable: minimum injury for this type of claim is that the plaintiff was apprehensive. The plaintiff then must show that they were apprehensive and that it was foreseeable that she would be apprehensive.Texas courts have ruled that a plaintiff does not even need to prove fear, just apprehension about the threat.

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