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Is Pushing Someone Assault?
(Definition,Types & Punishments Explained)

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C.L. Mike Schmidt Published by C.L. Mike Schmidt

Schmidt & Clark, LLP is not currently accepting these types of cases and has posted this content for information purposes only. We encourage you to seek a qualified attorney, if you feel you might have a case.

In most states, intentionally pushing someone can lead to a conviction for assault, regardless of whether you intend to cause harm. How is that possible?

As an experienced criminal defense lawyer with over ten years of experience in assault laws, I can provide you with all the necessary information regarding what constitutes an act of assault and whether pushing someone would be considered such or not.

Quick Summary

  • Many jurisdictions tend to differentiate between assault and aggravated assault.
  • In such jurisdictions, assault (also called an attempted battery ) is a threat or physical act that creates a reasonable apprehension of imminent harmful or offensive touching.
  • An assault is an act of violence that results from the threat and the present ability to inflict physical harm.

Is Pushing Someone Assault?

Two people outside pushing each other

Yes, pushing someone is assault in some states. Depending on the jurisdiction, some states define assault as an act that nearly causes physical contact with another person. 

Even if no actual physical contact is made, but there is a reasonable fear of imminent attack or bodily harm caused by your behavior, you may be charged with this crime  [1].

What Is Assault?

An office worker assaulting another workerAn assault is when someone physically harms you or verbally assaults you, which can take the form of being pushed, punched, or kicked and even involve weapons.

For instance, if someone were to strike you with a bottle or threaten to stab you with a knife—these are all considered examples of an assault  [2].

In many states, criminal laws separate assaults into two categories - simple and aggravated assault.

This classification depends on how severe the physical injury is when—or could potentially be if—the perpetrator physically harmed someone else in his attack.

Related Article6 Types of Assault Charges

Simple Assault

Committing an assault can lead to misdemeanor penalties in certain states and is usually characterized by either the imminent danger of harm or an act that causes minimal injuries. Shoving or slapping someone, which leads to bruising, may also be charged as a crime.

Related Article: Definition of Simple Assault

Aggravated Assault

An aggravated assault charge is a severe charge, typically classified as a felony. This crime could involve physical harm to an individual or the intent of committing other severe offenses such as rape. 

Any assault within a relationship deemed worthy of an intervention from a law enforcement officer is considered an aggravated offense. In the absence of aggravating features, it's typically regarded as a simple assault.

Acts That Can Be Defined As Assault

An office person assaulting a coworker

Acts that can be defined as assault can be classified in a few different ways. In certain states, actual touching must occur for something to qualify as an assault.

Overall, assault involves:

  • Bodily harm
  • Offensive physical contact

However, battery involves:

  • The person intentionally wants to hurt or offend someone through physical contact.
  • The person inflicting fear of an immediate physical threat, such as brandishing a firearm or raising one's fist in aggression, can be a form of intimidation.

So, depending on the facts, a push could qualify as an assault. A push is usually considered offensive physical contact and can sometimes cause injury.

Other examples include domestic assault and battery, which means that a current or former boyfriend, girlfriend, or partner perpetrates the assault and battery.

The repercussions of an assault or battery charge can be felt for a long time, both in your private and public life.

What Is The Possible Punishment for Pushing Someone?

Lawyers looking at possible punishments for pushing someone

The possible punishment for pushing someone depends on the state. However, it can vary from jail time to community service and more.

Generally, it is considered a misdemeanor when a push involves no injury or minor injuries. However, if there are injuries, it can result in a felony conviction [3]. 

The penalties for such an offense can vary, but here are some of the state-specific consequences you may face upon conviction of misdemeanor assault:

  • Probation
  • Restitution
  • Fines
  • Anger management classes

"The penalties for assault and battery crimes depend on the amount of bodily harm done or threatened, the victim, and the offender's criminal record."
- Paul Bergman, UCLA Law School Professor

Strong Defense To An Assault Charge

Lawyers studying defenses for an assault charge

The following are strong defenses to use against common assault charges: Your lawyer can advise you if any of the following defenses apply:


When defending yourself, someone else, or your property from an aggressor or thief, it is important to remember that you must use reasonable force. For instance, if someone attempts to attack you physically, then pushing them back would be considered a permissible act of self-defense during a physical attack. 


This means that in emergency circumstances, you may resort to committing an offense to escape.

For instance, when fleeing from a perpetrator's clutches, it is not uncommon for individuals to violate the law by pushing bystanders out of the way.

Read Also:


Do Some States Blend Aggravated Assault With Battery?

Yes, some states blend aggravated assault with battery. Historically, battery and assault have been distinguished as two distinct offenses; battery consists of an offender physically striking or making offensive contact with the alleged victim.

Related Article: What is Battery? All You Need to Know

What Are The Differences Between Simple Assault And Aggravated Assault?

The differences between simple assault and aggravated assault are that aggravated assault inflicts serious bodily harm or intentionally uses a deadly weapon to hurt someone. In contrast, simple assault causes slight injury, deliberately or accidentally, to a dangerous object.

What Is The Definition Of "Assault And Battery"?

The definition of assault and battery is that assault is an unlawful act that induces a reasonable person to feel threatened by imminent harm. On the other hand, battery involves inflicting physical damage on someone without their consent.

Are You Facing An Assult Case?

Assault is a grave offense, and it's crucial to consult with a defense attorney from the Schmidt & Clark, LLP law firm before making any official announcements or decisions related to your case. Our law firm is experienced in dealing with numerous assault cases nationwide.

During your free consultation session, our knowledgeable defense attorney will carefully analyze and listen to your story before detailing the possible strategies for pleading guilty or going to trial.