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Crimes Against the Person

The term “crimes against the person” refers to a broad array of criminal offenses which usually involve bodily harm, the threat of bodily harm, or other actions committed against the will of an individual. Those involving bodily harm (or the threat thereof) include assault, battery, and domestic violence. Additionally, offenses such as harassment, kidnapping, and stalking also are considered crimes against the person. This section contains several articles covering the basics of such crimes, including definitions and sentencing guidelines. See the Assault, Battery and Intentional Torts subsection in FindLaw’s Accidents and Injuries section to learn more about how to file a civil lawsuit for assault and/or battery.

Assault and Battery Defenses

Assault is the act of intentionally creating a reasonable apprehension of harm towards another person. Battery is the act of intentionally touching or applying force to another person such that the person suffers harm or offense. Duress and self-defense are common defenses in assault and battery cases. Under a self-defense theory, an accused must generally show a threat of unlawful force or harm against them; a real, honest perceived fear of harm to themselves (there must be a reasonable basis for this perceived fear); no harm or provocation on their part; and there was no reasonable chance of retreating or escaping the situation

Forms of Domestic Violence

Domestic violence is a pattern of abusive behaviors used by one individual intended to exert power and control over another individual in the context of an intimate or family relationship. Forms of domestic violence can include physical violence, sexual violence, economic control, psychological assault (including threats of violence and physical harm, attacks against property or pets and other acts of intimidation, emotional abuse, isolation, and use of the children as a means of control), and emotional abuse.

Federal Kidnapping Laws

Federal law includes a parent abducting a minor child if the child is taken across state or national boundaries. The principle difference between state and federal law is that interstate or national boundaries are crossed during the commission of a federal kidnapping crime. Congress adopted this element of federal kidnapping law in 1932 as a part of the Lindbergh Act, named after the famous pilot whose baby son was kidnapped and killed. Federal kidnapping statutes also specifically prohibit kidnapping in U.S. territories, on the high seas; in the air; of foreign government officials; and of internally protected persons.

How a Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help You

Crimes against another person can be some of the most serious criminal offenses a person can be charged with. Even if you are investigated or suspected of a crime such as kidnapping and never charged, you can suffer a social stigma that can last with you for a lifetime. If you are facing a criminal case and are not sure about the laws in your state or how they apply to your situation, consider seeking the services of a skilled criminal defense attorney in your area to help you understand the long-term consequences of a possible conviction and also one who knows how the local courts operate and is familiar to with local prosecutors and judges.

Learn About Crimes Against the Person