An assault is either an attempt to commit a battery or an unlawful act placing another in reasonable apprehension of an immediate battery. The defendant is liable if he or she acts and intends to cause a harmful or offensive contact or intends to cause an apprehension of such contact and they have caused such apprehension. The essence of the tort is the intentional invasion of your right to be free from the apprehension of bodily harm. No physical contact is required because you are protected against a purely mental disturbance.

The elements necessary to establish an assault are:

  • An overt act;
  • Apprehension of immediate physical harm;
  • Intent; and
  • Lack of consent

Generally, the same defenses applicable to battery are available to excuse an assault. Usually, a person may threaten the use of force to eject a trespasser or to defend himself or herself or another against the threat of harm. As with battery, evidence of provocation is admissible in mitigation of damages.

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