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767Lover
Topic Author
Posts: 3254
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Was I Assaulted?

Wed Feb 20, 2008 2:27 am

Very strange thing happened to me last night.

A friend and I were eating at the neighborhood Mexican cantina. It is a fairly small place---the building used to be a fast-food place, so the dining room only has 20 or so tables. Anyway, at this table one row over from us were these 3 women who were obviously over their limit on margaritas. They were talking extremely loudly and being really obnoxious. They were so loud that it was really difficult to hear yourself in conversation.

There were only a few people in the restaurant...maybe 6 tables of people...and everyone was getting visibly annoyed at this group. Someone said something to them -- like 'keep it down" or something like that-- and one of the women started going off. All of a sudden her eyes locked on mine and she turned her anger onto me. She said something to the effect of "And I've seen YOU looking over here too-- just mind your own goddam business."

I said, "It's hard not to look when you guys are being so obnoxious and besides, I'll look wherever I want."

Well this set her off some more. Her head was bobbing and she started saying how she was going to beat me up and give me black eyes. Someone at another table yelled out, "Are you threatening her? That was a threat!"

Suddenly a guy from another table appears and tells her to calm down or else the police would be called. As it happens, the group of women got up to leave. In the meantime, unbeknownst to me, someone from the restaurant staff called the police anyway.

As the women walked past my table to go to the cashier, the loudmouth swipes her arm across the table and knocks glasses and dishes off onto me and they go crashing onto the floor. Glass breaks and flies upward, and of course drinks and food are all over me.

I sort of sat there for a couple of seconds in disbelief -- then, fueled by my anger and the half margarita I had drunk before it crashed to the floor, I started approaching the woman. "What's your problem?" I said to her.

The same guy that had gotten up held me back and told me to sit down, that he was going to take care of this. He ended up following these chicks out the door, watched them get into their car (they should NOT have been driving) and proceeded to follow them with 911 on the phone. I know this because the police ended up coming to the restaurant as a result of the call, and told us that he heard on the police radio that a driver (the guy) had called in the woman's license plate and was following them after witnessing them at a restaurant. The women ended up being pulled over. and I don't know what happened to them (the driver likely got a DUI.)

Anyway, some witnesses in the restaurant seemed to think this was more serious that I thought it was, in terms of criminality. I just thought it was a night of drinking gone bad, but apparently according to some, I could have pressed charges for assault since the glassware could have caused injury, and the woman made verbal threats to harm me. In the end, I really didn't want to bother, since I was fine, I didn't want to get into an involved process, and I was fairly certain that Atlanta's Fulton County PD probably scared them enough with the potential DUI charges.

But is this type of thing characterized as assault?
 
NeilYYZ
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RE: Was I Assaulted?

Wed Feb 20, 2008 2:41 am

It might be assault if you really wanted to go that route because of the breaking glass and food all over you. But if you weren't hurt and all that happened was food got on you I'd tend to agree with you that it was just drunken stupidness. It would be nice if they could have picked up your tab or something though.
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fr8mech
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RE: Was I Assaulted?

Wed Feb 20, 2008 2:43 am

In my limited recollection of assault charges, and they'll vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, you probably were assaulted. If you are touched by someone or that same someone causes something to touch you, and you do not want to be touched; that can be construed as assault.

I decided to check Kentucky Statutes and came up with this:

508.030 Assault in the fourth degree.
(1) A person is guilty of assault in the fourth degree when:
(a) He intentionally or wantonly causes physical injury to another person; or
(b) With recklessness he causes physical injury to another person by means of a
deadly weapon or a dangerous instrument.
(2) Assault in the fourth degree is a Class A misdemeanor.

Further, physical injury is defined:

13) "Physical injury" means substantial physical pain or any impairment of physical
condition;

So, as far as the state of Kentucky is concerned, you were not assaulted.

But in Georgia, you may have been assaulted:

§ 16-5-20. Simple assault
(a) A person commits the offense of simple assault when he or she either:
(1) Attempts to commit a violent injury to the person of another; or
(2) Commits an act which places another in reasonable apprehension of immediately receiving a violent injury.

The point of this exercise; different jurisdictions, different definitions. And we haven't even gotten to the county or city level.

[Edited 2008-02-19 18:54:19]
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N1120A
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RE: Was I Assaulted?

Wed Feb 20, 2008 3:02 am

According to the common law, the more appropriate term would be battery which is defined as "The unlawful application of force resulting in bodily injury or an offensive touching." What happened here would fall into the latter category.
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HickoryShampoo
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RE: Was I Assaulted?

Wed Feb 20, 2008 4:34 am

Here, it would be a Class C misdemeanor (lowest there is), defined as unwanted physical contact. DWI is a higher charge, so let it be, knowing their night was toast.
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L-188
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RE: Was I Assaulted?

Wed Feb 20, 2008 4:38 am



Quoting Fr8mech (Reply 2):
508.030 Assault in the fourth degree.
(1) A person is guilty of assault in the fourth degree when:
(a) He intentionally or wantonly causes physical injury to another person; or
(b) With recklessness he causes physical injury to another person by means of a
deadly weapon or a dangerous instrument.
(2) Assault in the fourth degree is a Class A misdemeanor.

You know, there was a time where you actually had to slug somebody.
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IADCA
Posts: 2266
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RE: Was I Assaulted?

Wed Feb 20, 2008 4:41 am



Quoting Fr8mech (Reply 2):
§ 16-5-20. Simple assault
(a) A person commits the offense of simple assault when he or she either:
(1) Attempts to commit a violent injury to the person of another; or
(2) Commits an act which places another in reasonable apprehension of immediately receiving a violent injury.



Quoting N1120A (Reply 3):
According to the common law, the more appropriate term would be battery which is defined as "The unlawful application of force resulting in bodily injury or an offensive touching." What happened here would fall into the latter category.

Both correct. What Fr8Mech posted is a fairly common formulation of a misdemeanor assault statute (and apparently the applicable one here). Generally, battery is being the cause of offensive touching, and assault is when you place someone in reasonable apprehension of an imminent battery. Apparently, in Georgia the mens rea requirement for battery is only "negligent," so that's almost certainly satisfied here. One issue might be the fact of the person's drunkenness; while drunkenness generally substitutes for all mens rea up through recklessness, I don't know whether that's the case in Georgia. Whether you were assaulted is debatable; if when she swept all the stuff into your lap you had no idea it was about to happen, then you weren't assaulted at that point under (2); however, if when she was yelling and threating you were in "reasonable apprehension of immediately receiving a violent injury," then it's probably assault too. I'm not sure how Georgia courts read the immediacy requirement though.

Since assault and battery also give rise to civil liability, you actually could probably sue them too...so have fun finding an ambulance chaser and tracking down a judgment-proof defendant! (Don't do this!)

But seriously, that sounds like a really crappy night out. I'm sorry that happened to you.
 
HickoryShampoo
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RE: Was I Assaulted?

Wed Feb 20, 2008 5:13 am



Quoting L-188 (Reply 5):
You know, there was a time where you actually had to slug somebody.

That, coupled with the Amerikan Criminal Liberties Union, has led to the pussification of the US.  irked 
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airfoilsguy
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RE: Was I Assaulted?

Wed Feb 20, 2008 2:12 pm

To put it simply, yes you can claim assault. Is it worth it to file, no, unless she is very rich and famous.

The case will either get thrown out or pled down with no jail time and just be a wast of your time.

The restaurant should have comped your meal though.
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ANCFlyer
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RE: Was I Assaulted?

Wed Feb 20, 2008 2:19 pm



Quoting 767Lover (Thread starter):
But is this type of thing characterized as assault?

Yes Ma'am, Simple Assault and Breach of Peace. In Alaska anyway. As was discussed, different jurisdictions, different laws . . .

Quoting Airfoilsguy (Reply 8):
The case will either get thrown out or pled down with no jail time and just be a wast of your time.

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plateman
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RE: Was I Assaulted?

Wed Feb 20, 2008 2:24 pm

I'll ask the same question about an 'assault' and relate it to a flight.

While flying HNL-MSP on NW a few years back, there was a women who also had a little much to drink. I was standing in the aisle talking to a friend and she walks up to me and asks me to move. It took me a extra second because it's a plane and a tight spot.

She decides to physically make me move by pushing me out of the way. After returning to my seat in disbeilf I briefly mentioned it to the FA since the whole plane was talking about her.

Upon landing in MSP, the airport police board the plane and take her off first. I wonder if that was because of the 'shove' against me. The cops didn't ask to talk to me and that was fine b.c. I really didn't care.

Brian
"Explore. Dream. Discover." -Mark Twain
 
mia
Posts: 888
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RE: Was I Assaulted?

Wed Feb 20, 2008 2:32 pm

Well, as far as I can remember from my Torts class, it sounds like you have a cause of action in tort, you might get nominal damages.
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