Types Of Assault And How They Are Classified For The Purpose Of Legal Punishment

Assault is typically defined as any type of pain or injury inflicted on another that is unwanted and unwarranted. However, you may be surprised to learn that there are different types of assault. They are classified differently so that the legal system can effectively punish offenders based on the type of assault. If you have been charged with some type of assault, you will need the help of an assault lawyer. Here is how these types of assault are defined and classified.

Sexual Assault

Sexual assault is any unwanted contact that is sexual in nature or sexually motivated. Examples of sexual assault including grabbing breasts, rubbing genitals, and/or lesser degrees of rape. If your charges state that you were sexually motivated, you may be convicted of sexual assault. This may result in a jail sentence, counseling, and/or probation, depending on prior convictions and known behavior.

Assault with a Deadly Weapon

If you hit someone while carrying any sort of weapon, or you used the weapon to hurt someone, that is often labeled as assault with a deadly weapon. It does not matter if the "weapon" was a pocketknife, a butcher knife, bow and arrows, gun, or something that could be considered a weapon under the circumstances that lead to your arrest. If there was a weapon in your hands and you intended to use it to harm another, that falls under this type of assault. In recent years, the definition has been adjusted to include people who have AIDS/HIV and knowingly and intentionally have unprotected sex with others, thus making their genitals and disease the deadly weapon.

Physical Assault

A physical assault is any sort of hit motion incurred without a weapon. It includes hitting, slapping, kicking, stomping, and punching. Usually, it is a one-time event, similar to what occurs during a mugging. It can be very severe, such as the kind that leaves the victim near death, or it can be rather mild, like a punch to the gut. There are some overlapping gray areas in physical assault, especially if there were extenuating circumstances that could be construed as self-defense.


Battery entails the repeated and continued physical assault on another. Most often, victims of battery are spouses who are regularly beaten by their partners, although it can include battery of a child or battery of the elderly. Battery may be the established and defining charge in your case if there is already a long record of complaints and evidence against you for this type of assault.