How Can I Be Charged with Assault if I Didn’t Hurt Anyone?
For many people, one of the most surprising things about the crime of assault in Kansas is that you do not actually have to hurt anyone in order to be found guilty in court. In fact, physical harm—whether through physical contact or the use of a weapon—is not an “element” of the crime at all. As a result, when facing an assault charge in Johnson County, it is important to hire a defense lawyer who has specific experience handing these challenging cases, and who can use the facts of your case to protect you to the fullest extent possible.
What Constitutes an Assault Under Kansas Law?
The crime of assault is established in Section 21-5412 of the Kansas Statutes. Subsection (a) establishes the crime of “simple” assault, while subsection (b) establishes aggravated assault as a more-serious offense:
“(a) Assault is knowingly placing another person in reasonable apprehension of immediate bodily harm;
“(b) Aggravated assault is assault, as defined in subsection (a), committed: (1) With a deadly weapon; (2) while disguised in any manner designed to conceal identity; or (3) with intent to commit any felony.”
As you can see, neither simple assault nor aggravated assault requires physical harm—or even physical contact. If you place any other person in fear of immediate bodily harm, whether you actually end up harming them or not, you are guilty of a class C person misdemeanor under Kansas law. If you commit an aggravated assault by using a weapon, wearing a disguise or intending to commit a felony, you are guilty of a severity level 7 person felony.
Causing harm is the crime of battery in Kansas. If you threaten harm to someone, you can be charged with assault. If you threaten harm to someone and follow through on your threat, then you can be charged with both assault and battery.
How Can You Defend Against an Assault Charge in Kansas?
Given that the crime of assault only requires you to place someone in fear of immediate bodily harm, how can you defend against an assault charge in Kansas? While each individual case is different, there are a number of potential defenses to assault and aggravated assault charges under Kansas law. Some of these defenses include:
- Presenting an alibi or demonstrating that you acted in self-defense;
- Arguing that you did not “knowingly” cause someone else to fear of being injured;
- Arguing that the prosecution lacks proof that the alleged victim was in “reasonable apprehension” of “immediate” bodily harm; and,
- Demonstrating that the police obtained evidence in violation of your constitutional rights.
Schedule a Free Consultation with Johnson County Assault Lawyer Jerry Merrill
If you need to defend against an assault charge in Johnson County, it is important that you speak with an experienced criminal defense lawyer about your case as soon as possible. To schedule a free and confidential consultation with Johnson County assault lawyer Jerry Merrill, call 913-381-2085 or request an appointment online now.