1. Intentionally putting another person in reasonable apprehension of an imminent harmful or offensive contact. No intent to cause physical injury needs to exist, and no physical injury needs to result. So defined in tort law and the criminal statutes of some states.
2. With the intent to cause physical injury, making another person reasonably apprehend an imminent harmful or offensive contact. Essentially, an attempted battery. So defined in the criminal statutes of some states.
3. With the intent to cause physical injury, actually causing such injury to another person. Essentially, the same as a battery. So defined in the criminal statutes of some states, and so understood in popular usage.
See, e.g. Raess v. Doescher, 883 N.E.2d 790 (Ind. 2008).
Definition from Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary
A crime that occurs when one person tries to physically harm another in a way that makes the person under attack feel immediately threatened. Actual physical contact is not necessary; threatening gestures that would alarm any reasonable person can constitute an assault. Assault is often charged with battery, which requires intended physical contact. (See also: battery
Definition provided by Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary.
August 19, 2010, 5:11 pm