Assault in the District of Columbia

§ 22–404. Assault or threatened assault in a menacing manner; stalking.

(a) (1) Whoever unlawfully assaults, or threatens another in a menacing manner, shall be fined not more than the amount set forth in § 22‑3571.01 or be imprisoned not more than 180 days, or both.

(2) Whoever unlawfully assaults, or threatens another in a menacing manner, and intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causes significant bodily injury to another shall be fined not more than the amount set forth in § 22‑3571.01 or be imprisoned not more than 3 years, or both. For the purposes of this paragraph, the term “significant bodily injury” means an injury that requires hospitalization or immediate medical attention.

  1. ATTEMPTED-BATTERY ASSUALT

The essential elements of the offense of assault, each of which the government must prove beyond a reasonable doubt, are:

  1. That the defendant made an attempt or effort, with force or violence, to injure another person;
  2. That at the time s/he made that attempt or effort, s/he had the apparent present ability to injure that person; and
  3. That s/he made the attempt or effort voluntarily and on purpose, not by mistake or accident. [; and
  4. That the defendant’s conduct was not justified by the use of reasonable parental discipline.]

Injury means any physical injury, however small, including a touching offensive to a person of reasonable sensibility. [An assault may be committed without actually touching, striking, or committing bodily harm on another, but the mere use of threatening words is not an assault.] [The parent of a minor child is justified in using a reasonable amount of force upon the child for the purpose of safeguarding or promoting the child’s welfare, including the prevention or punishment of his/her misconduct. Thus, the parent may punish the child for wrongdoing and not be guilty of assault (1) if the punishment is inflicted out of a genuine effort to correct the child, and (2) if the punishment thus inflicted is not excessive in view of all the circumstances, including the child’s age, health, mental and emotional development, alleged misconduct on this and earlier occasions, the kind of punishment used, the nature and location of the injuries inflicted, and any other evidence that you deem relevant.

To be justified, the force must have been used for the purpose of exercising parental discipline and must be reasonable. The defendant is not required to prove that his/her conduct was a justifiable exercise of reasonable parental discipline. Rather, the government must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant’s conduct was not so justified.]

  1. INTENT-TO-FRIGHTEN ASSAULT

The essential elements of assault, each of which the government must prove beyond a reasonable doubt, are:

  1. That the defendant committed a threatening act that reasonably would create in another person a fear of immediate injury;
  2. That, when s/he committed the act, the defendant had the apparent present ability to injure that person; and
  3. That the defendant committed the act voluntarily, on purpose, and not by accident or mistake. [; and
  4. That the defendant’s conduct was not justified by the use of reasonable parental discipline.]

Injury means any physical injury, however small, including a touching offensive to a person of reasonable sensibility. [The government must prove a threatening act; mere words are not sufficient. The government need not prove that the defendant intended to injure the complainant.] [To prove that the defendant had the apparent present ability to injure the complainant, the government need not prove the complainant actually experienced fear of injury. It is sufficient to prove that the defendant’s act would have created, in a person of reasonable sensibility, a fear of immediate bodily harm.] [The parent of a minor child is justified in using a reasonable amount of force upon the child for the purpose of safeguarding or promoting the child’s welfare, including the prevention or punishment of his/her misconduct. Thus, the parent may punish the child for wrongdoing and not be guilty of assault (1) if the punishment is inflicted out of a genuine effort to correct the child, and (2) if the punishment thus inflicted is not excessive in view of all the circumstances, including the child’s age, health, mental and emotional development, alleged misconduct on this and earlier occasions, the kind of punishment used, the nature and location of the injuries inflicted, and any other evidence that you deem relevant.

To be justified, the force must have been used for the purpose of exercising parental discipline and must be reasonable. The defendant is not required to prove that his/her conduct was a justifiable exercise of reasonable parental discipline. Rather, the government must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant’s conduct was not so justified.]

  1. NON-VIOLENT SEXUAL TOUCHING ASSAULT

The essential elements of a sexual touching assault, each of which the government must prove beyond a reasonable doubt, are:

  1. That the defendant committed a sexual touching on another person;
  2. That when the defendant committed the touching, s/he acted voluntarily, on purpose and not by mistake or accident; and
  3. That the other person did not consent to being touched by the defendant in that manner.

A sexual touching is a touching in a part of another person’s body that would cause fear, shame, humiliation or mental anguish in a person of reasonable sensibility if done without consent. The government need not prove, however, that the complainant actually suffered any of those feelings, [and it need not prove the complainant was aware of being touched].

Also see:

Aggravated Assault in DC

Assault with a Dangerous Weapon