What Can I Do if My Landlord Assaulted Me?
Assault is an intentional attempt or threat to inflict injury upon a person, coupled with an apparent, present ability to cause the harm, which creates a reasonable apprehension of bodily harm or offensive contact in another. Assault does not require actual touching or bodily harm to the victim. An assault is both a crime and a tort. Therefore, an assailant may face both criminal and civil liability. A criminal assault conviction may result in a fine, imprisonment, or both. In a civil assault case, the victim may be entitled to monetary damages from the assailant.
Words, without an act, cannot constitute an assault. Assault requires intent, meaning that there has been a deliberate, unjustified interference with the personal right or liberty of another in a way that causes harm. In the tort of assault, intent is established if a reasonable person is substantially certain that certain consequences will result; intent is established whether or not he or she actually intends those consequences to result. Criminal assault statutes often speak of acting "purposely," "knowingly," "recklessly," or "negligently." Acting negligently means to grossly deviate from the standards of normal conduct. Some criminal assault statutes recognize only "purposely," "knowingly," and "recklessly" as the level of intent required to establish that an offense occurred. All states and the federal government have statutes making assault a crime. A criminal assault may be either a felony or a misdemeanor, depending upon the seriousness of the offense. Aggravated assault is a felony in all jurisdictions. It is an assault that goes beyond merely an intention to frighten the victim; it is committed with intent to commit some additional crime or is particularly egregious in some way. Separate from any criminal prosecution for assault, a victim may pursue civil damages for injuries caused by it. After a determination by a judge or jury that an assault was committed, the next step is to determine what compensation is appropriate.