There are many different types of assault cases, and the different types typically correspond to various types of unwanted physical actions that usually cause harm to another person. In the United States (US), some of the most common types of assault include simple assault, aggravated assault, sexual assault, indecent assault, and assault and battery. There are some other forms of assault that can be considered as separate types of assault or as subcategories, such as sexual assault against a minor or assaulting a federal officer. Most assault cases fall into one of these categories, though they have been established with some overlap among them, allowing a single act to qualify as several different types of assault, leading to more charges against a perpetrator.
In general, an assault is a physical action, or threat of action, that causes another person grievous harm or involves unwanted physical contact of a malicious nature. Some assault cases can fall into simple assault or general assault, which usually involves the use of a weapon or similar object to cause harm to another person. These assault cases can also include the reckless disregard of other people while engaged in another action, such as operating a motor vehicle.
Aggravated assaults are types of assault cases that can overlap with simple assault or may be involved with another type of crime. For example, if someone is committing burglary and in the process ends up physically attacking another person, it can often be considered aggravated assault since it occurred while another crime was committed. Aggravated assault cases can also come from a single violent assault that is especially vicious or harmful to another person, often causing physical dismemberment or long-term disability.
Sexual assault and indecent assault are somewhat similar. Indecent assault is usually unwanted and inappropriate sexual contact forced upon one person by another, though it usually does not include direct sexual penetration. It can involve indecent exposure, touching, or exposure of bodily fluids to another person. Sexual assault, on the other hand, usually includes unwanted physical penetration of a sexual nature.
In the case of assault and battery charges, “assault” actually refers to the threat of physical violence, while “battery” indicates that physical violence then actually occurred. This is typically the only sense of the term in which it does not indicate a physical action, and only the threat of that action. Other types of assault are usually specific types of the other categories, such as those that target specific types of victims. The overlap between these different types of assault cases is intentional, as it allows a person who commits a single especially heinous act to be charged with numerous crimes.