How to Press Assault Charges

Опубликовал Admin
5-11-2016, 19:55
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Expert Reviewed Assault is a crime whose legal definition varies by jurisdiction. In the criminal statutes of some U.S. states, assault is defined as “making another person reasonably apprehend an imminent harmful or offensive contact” with “the intent to cause physical injury”. In other criminal statutes, assault is defined as actually causing such an injury with the intent to cause physical injury. Assault is, in addition to being a crime, also a tort (i.e. a civil wrong) and may be defined in both the criminal and tort statutes of some states as intentionally “putting another person in reasonable apprehension of an imminent harmful or offensive contact” regardless of whether there exists intent to cause physical injury and regardless of whether an actual injury results. If you believe you have been the victim of assault, you may consider pressing charges against your assailant(s).

Filing Charges With the Police

  1. Gather potential witnesses. If the assault took place in the presence of witnesses, contact those witnesses as soon as possible after the assault. It is important to do this as soon as possible after the assault so that it is easier to track down the witnesses and so that the incident is fresh in their memories.
  2. Write down the details of the assault. To press charges against your assailant, you will need to visit your local police department, particularly in those situations in which police officers were not called or did not arrive at the scene of the crime. Before visiting the police department, write down the details of how the assault occurred and the name and any other information you have about your assailant. The police will ask you for this information, and it will be easier to recall this information if you have it written down.
  3. Visit your local police department. Once you have written down the information necessary to press charges against your assailant, visit your local police department to report the assault. Take the information you wrote down about the assault with you to the police station.
  4. Call the police if unable to visit. It may be the case that you are unable to visit your local police department. This may be, for example, because you are afraid of running into your assailant. If so, call the police, explain the incident, and tell them why you are unable to visit the police station yourself. The police should then send an officer to your home who will help you file an assault report.
  5. Provide the police with the relevant information. When you visit your local police department, the police officer in charge of your case will file an assault report. To file this report, the officer will require from you information about the assault and the assailant. This information includes:
    • Your name and address;
    • Your assailant’s name and address (if known);
    • The place where the assault took place;
    • The date and time of the assault;
    • How the assault occurred.
  6. Try to recall as much as possible about the assault. It may be the case that you do not recall all of the necessary information required by the police to identify your assailant. If this is the case, the police officer in charge of your case will likely ask you to describe your assailant in as much detail as possible.

Waiting to Provide Additional Evidence

  1. Collect a copy of the assault report. Once the police officer in charge of your case obtains all of the information needed to file a report, you will be issued a copy of the assault report. Keep this report in a safe place.
  2. Wait for further information about your case. After the police file an assault report, that report will then be sent to the prosecutor’s office. The prosecutor will, at that point, look at the report and determine if there is sufficient evidence to prosecute the assailant. If there is sufficient evidence to prosecute, a judge will issue an arrest warrant for the assailant. You must wait for further communication during this time.
  3. Provide additional evidence. It may be the case that after the assailant has been arrested, the police may wish to investigate the crime further to obtain additional evidence. You may be contacted by the police for further questioning. Cooperate with the police and try to provide as much further information to the police as possible.

Seeking Orders of Protection

  1. Seek an order of protection if necessary. If you are worried about filing assault charges for fear of retribution from your assailant, know that you can also request an order of protection from the court after filing an assault charge. An order of protection, commonly referred to as a restraining order, prevents your assailant from coming within a specified distance of you. If your assailant violates the restraining order, he can immediately be arrested.
  2. Apply for an order of protection. To apply for an order of protection, you can visit your local district or county attorney’s office, or through a legal aid service program. The order must be filed in the county in which either you or your assailant lives. Rules on orders of protection vary by state, so you should visit this website to determine what the particular rules are in your state regarding civil orders of protection in the case of stalking or harassment.
  3. Call the police if the restraining order is violated. If you have successfully sought an order of protection and your assailant violates that order, immediately call the police. Remember that a protective order is a piece of paper and cannot offer you complete protection. As soon as you find that your assailant has violated the order, immediately call law enforcement for help by dialing 911.


  • You can pursue a civil complaint against the person that assaulted you because, in addition to being a crime, an assault is also a tort (a civil wrong). Proving a civil wrong requires less proof than pursuing a criminal assault. Filing a civil suit requires going to your local county court and submitting a complaint. If the person files an answer to the complaint, then you have to prove your case in civil court. The individual may have to pay you monetary damages if you win.
  • Pressing charges may provide you with the opportunity to put the incident behind you and achieve a sense of closure that might otherwise be missing if you chose to ignore the incident.
  • Know that pressing charges against your assailant may also serve as a public service because by bringing the assailant to justice, you may be preventing the assailant from doing the same to others in the future.
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