How to understand assault charges

Written by ehow contributor
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Assault is defined as the intent to frighten someone into thinking he or she will face bodily harm, or the intent to commit battery with more than verbal language. Assault charges can be confusing, so here are suggestions of how to deal with this sort of charge.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Hire an attorney if faced with assault charges. If you can't afford an attorney, ask the court to appoint a lawyer..

  2. 2

    Prepare for your arraignment. Collect copies of police reports, your past criminal history, details regarding your alibi and information about witnesses as applicable and give them to your attorney. Find out more about this process at the FindLaw Web site (see Resources below).

  3. 3

    Attend the arraignment to receive your formal criminal charges. Your attorney will help you understand the charges against you.

  4. 4

    Work with your attorney to identify charges and prepare for your preliminary hearing. The harder you work to understand assault charges, the more you will know what to expect at your hearing. Without sufficient evidence, you (the defendant) won't stand trial.

  5. 5

    Know that you have the right to a speedy trial under the Sixth Amendment. This means that you have a right to be tried in a reasonable amount of time after being arrested.

  6. 6

    Contact a support group. For those who feel they have been unjustly accused, the National Center for Reason and Justice can help (see Resources below).

Tips and warnings

  • When you are arrested, you must be given Miranda rights: informed of the Fifth Amendment and your right not to make self-incriminating statements. If you are not given the Miranda warning, anything you say is presumed to be involuntary.
  • If you are convicted of assault, develop an appeal with your attorney. If you do not succeed with your appeal, you will no longer have rights for free legal counsel. This can tax you and your family financially if you seek a later appeal.

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