In Iowa, the crime of assault has many meanings. Three of the most common forms of assault are set forth below:
- A person is guilty of an assault if the person, without justification, commits an act which is intended to cause pain or injury to another person.
- A person is guilty of an assault if the person commits an act that is intended to result in physical contact which would be insulting or offensive to another person (Note that the act must be “insulting” or “offensive” to a reasonable person).
- A person is guilty of assault if they commit an act which is intended to place another in fear of immediate physical contact which will be painful, injurious, or offensive.
After reading the above definitions, it seems like almost any act toward another would be an assault. And if you were thinking this, you would be correct. A person need not even touch a person to commit an assault in Iowa. As you can imagine, assault charges can be pretty easy for prosecutors to prove at trial.
There are defenses to assault such as justification, necessity, defense-of-property, self-defense, and defense-of-others. Now, these defenses can be rebutted by the prosecutor; for example, the State can argue you were committing an illegal activity when you acted in self-defense (eg. You were drunk while firing a gun protecting a friend). Additionally, you cannot act in self-defense in an unreasonable manner. For example, if someone pushes you, you cannot pull out a gun and shoot them.
An assault conviction on your record can cause a heavy impact on your ability to get a job because it is considered a crime of violence. It is important to, at the very least, speak with an assault defense lawyer to go over your options. Generally, there are options to prevent this type of conviction from being on your criminal record. Feel free to contact the Feld Law Firm with any questions you may have regarding your assault charge.