How to Defend Assault Charges


Assault is one of the most common crimes that a person is charged with in Iowa. Other than maybe disorderly conduct and simple misdemeanor harassment, simple assault can be one of most "ticky-tack" crimes there is in Iowa. What I mean by "ticky-tack" is that simple assault can be committed very easily. Simple assault is when a person, without justification, commits an act which is intended to cause pain or injury to another person. Or it is an act which is intended to result in physical contact which would be insulting or offensive to another person. 

The Iowa assault statute (or law) has a "reasonable person" standard effect when it comes to determining whether an act is insulting or offensive to another person. With that said, in today's world it seems like almost everyone is offended by almost anything that could be offensive. Is putting one's hand on a person's shoulder and providing them with advice a crime of assault? Does it matter if it's male or female who places the hand on the person's shoulder? 

Is a basketball coach yelling at one of his players and then pushing him back out onto the court an assault? I would like to think that most people would not think so but this is not always the case. While I was attending the NCAA tournament this past weekend in Des Moines, I overheard some fans complaining that the opposing team's coach was "mean" to his players and should not be treating them that way. They further went on to say that the coach needed to be disciplined. . .The coach they were speaking about simply put his hand on one of his player's shoulder and yelled at him for making some mistakes out on the court. In my opinion, the coach was trying to make him a better player and this was his way of teaching his player(s). Obviously, some people disagree with me on this issue. Are coaches these days simply supposed to say "good try out there; we'll do better next time"?

So with the above said, how do we defend ourselves when charged with an assault crime? We need to ask why we assaulted the other person? Were we defending ourselves or another person? Was the assault out of necessity? Were we defending our property? Self-defense, defense of third persons, and defense of property are all "defenses"  to the crime of assault. Additionally, necessity is also a defense. An example of necessity would be if I pushed someone out of the way so that I could get my pregnant wife into the emergency room quicker. This is assuming there was an actual emergency. In other words for necessity to be a defense, the crime committed has to be lesser than the results if the crime was not committed. 

Other defenses include identity, alibi, and the general denial defense. There are a few other defenses such as diminished responsibility, but they will be something you will want to discuss with your defense attorney depending on the facts of your case. 

In addition to simple assault, there is the serious misdemeanor-assault causing bodily injury- and aggravated misdemeanor-assault causing serious injury. For bodily injury to happen, the State must prove that the bodily injury was actually caused by the assault. Bodily injury can be almost anything that leaves a mark such as a scratch or bruise. Serious injury can be anything of permanence such as a scar, blindness, or loss of hearing. 

Assault is classified as a crime violence in Iowa. This is not a crime you want your potential employer to see on the criminal background check he/she performs prior to potentially hiring you. If you are charged with an assault in Iowa, I would highly recommend you speak with a defense attorney before moving forward on your own with the assault charge. If you have any questions regarding any type of assault in Iowa, do not hesitate to contact the Feld Law Firm at 515-802-7676. An assault defense attorney would be happy to point you in the right direction.