There are a number of forms of assault in the criminal law, including but not limited to simple assault, sexual assault, assault with a weapon and aggravated assault. The sentencing range for those convicted is from an absolute discharge to years in the penitentiary depending on many factors, including the charge, the circumstances of the case, and the court presentation.
Assault is sometimes simply defined as the intentional application of force to another without the consent of the other. However, there is more to the law than this definition. In some circumstances, an assault is committed even where there is no actual contact. Account must also be taken of any available excuse or justification. It is not always enough for the prosecution to prove who struck the first or only blow.
For all criminal investigations or charges, it is wise to consult counsel immediately and to avoid making statements to others at least until that is done.