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Does assault have to involve physical contact?

On Behalf of | Mar 1, 2023 | Assault

Assault is a violent crime, but the state has various levels and different charges for it. Not every assault charge is the same.

For simple assault, there is no requirement to have physical contact with the victim. So, assault does not always mean causing physical harm.


To commit simple assault, a person only needs to attempt to injure another person or make someone feel as if there was a threat of physical injury. Actual physical contact is not a requirement of this crime.

Other details

For a simple assault charge to be valid, the prosecutor must show that you tried to harm someone else or that the other person has a reasonable expectation that you were trying to hurt them. The prosecutor does not have to show you actually connected with the person’s body or that you even had the intent to harm as long as the victim can prove he or she felt there was a potential for injury.

Simple assault is the lowest level of this type of charge. It is a misdemeanor in most cases. Some factors could increase the level of crime, such as committing the act on public transportation or if the situation involves family members or people who were in a romantic relationship at some time. Another aggravating factor would be if the victim is a school employee or a pregnant woman.

Simple assault does not require any actual physical harm. It is more about the threat of injury and fear of the victim.