People often try to defend themselves against assault allegations by saying they never touched the person. They never hurt them. No one suffered any injuries.

This shows a fundamental misunderstanding regarding the legal definition of assault. Battery is the term most often used for physical harm. Assault happens when you simply threaten someone or make them fear for their safety. You do not have to carry out that threat. If they believe you can, it’s still assault. It becomes assault and battery if you then follow through, but it’s assault either way.

For instance, maybe you have a gun that you carry with you. During an argument, you pull the gun out and point it at someone. This defuses the situation, and they leave; you quickly put the gun away and go about your business.

You never hurt them at all. You can even claim that you never actually intended to shoot them. But the legal reality is that they do not know what your intentions were. Since you had a gun and threatened them, they had reason to believe you would harm or even kill them. This intimidation can constitute assault charges, even when you never pulled the trigger, and no one suffered the slightest injury in the confrontation.

It is very important to know how the law works and what charges you may be facing. This can help you avoid a critical mistake that you may not even realize counts as a breach of that law. If you do wind up facing charges, though, make sure you also look into your legal defense options.