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Specific Assault Laws

Battery of the Elderly, Blind, Disabled, or Pregnant

Battery of the Elderly, Blind, Disabled, or Pregnant

The many specific laws on the books in the United States and elsewhere for addressing occurrences of assault and battery commonly include provisions for recognizing that certain segments of the population may be particularly vulnerable to occurrences of unwanted and undesirable physical contact. In regard to abuse of the very young and elder abuse, American assault laws often provide similar laws providing for protection. Such generally-based laws are also extended for the potentially lifelong protection of people who are physically or mentally disabled or are blind. In temporary form, special legal protection is extended to women at the times when they are pregnant.
 
 
Concerns over the occurrences of elder abuse were heightened by the conditions created by the tendency, which increased in American society over the 20th Century, for the elderly to live out the end of their lives in special facilities rather than with their families, a more traditional mode of lifestyle. Because of the institutional nature of such facilities, the potential for neglect, possibly spilling over into elder abuse, has been identified as a danger.
 
 
The modern framework for law to provide for the material comforts and quality of life, created in 1965 by the Older Americans Act (OAA), was supplemented in 1992 by the Vulnerable Elder Rights Protection Program to provide more robust measures for addressing the need for strong measures under law to prevent elder abuse. To this end, it offers legal help, ombudsmen services, and various programs aimed at instances of elder abuse.
 
 
The specific statutes in effect on elder abuse in some states incorporate assault and battery law. Elder abuse exceeding a certain limit in the victim's age may incur harsher penalties. Another measure taken for safeguarding the effectiveness of elder abuse laws is by requiring that discoveries of such episodes occurring be reported to the relevant legal or social service authorities with particular responsibilities on the part of professionals in related fields.
 
 
Sixteen American states have requirements to the effect that all citizens must report occurrences of elder abuse when learned of, and several require professions not particularly relevant to the issue but generally felt to possess social responsibility to report elder abuse, including financial professionals and clergy members.
 
 
The prevention of elder abuse and abuse of the young is commonly the responsibility of coordinated action by social service and criminal justice authorities. The practice of American law against elder abuse in the early 21st Century has seen an increase in the number of elder abuse cases which are treated under criminal law or under the particularly severe stipulations for felonies.
 
 
In addition to provisions against elder abuse, other measures exist for the protection of comparable demographic groups. Under Connecticut law, for instance, the phrase "elderly, blind, disabled, pregnant or mentally disabled" provides comparable protections, including harsher sentencing measures for assault cases. Sec. 531-59a, for instance, classifies an assault of such a nature which occurs in the first degree as carrying a penalty of five years imprisonment.

The Unborn Victims of Violence Act of 2004

The Unborn Victims of Violence Act of 2004

The Unborn Victims of Violence Act was passed in 2004. It exists in United States Code in Title 18, Chapter 1, Section 1841, in the Uniform Code of Military Justice under Title 10, and Chapter 22 as Article 119. The law was enacted to remedy the lack under Federal law of a law granting protection to fetuses. The Bill's proponents argued that as a result of this oversight an embryo harmed in an attack on its mother could not be considered an assault victim.
 
 
Concerns over the passage of laws granting Federal recognition to unborn victims of violence arose from the fear that such a law would be used to protect not only assault victim rights, but also to deny pregnant women access to their court-protected right to an abortion. 
 
 
The Bill is also referred to in colloquial usage and a gesture of support by its proponents as Laci and Conner's Law, in reference to the murder of a pregnant woman, Laci Petersen, carrying a fetus, Connor, at the time by her husband, Scott. The drive to recognize Connor as an assault victim under the law drove the Federal push to recognize the law, which as implemented in California, had already been implemented to prosecute the Petersen deaths as a double homicide.
 
 
Prior to the passage of the Unborn Victims of Violence, thirty-four states had laws on their books for recognizing that the unborn infant could be considered an assault victim. In twenty-four states the states put this rule in effect for the entire term of the fetus's gestation, and in ten for part of that period. 
 
 
An exception to Federal law's inability to accord to the unborn victims of assault a degree of legal protection could be found in the "born-alive rule," in which the embryonic assault victim was born before dying, thereby taking on the then-operative features for a legally protected individual.
 
 
After being introduced in 1999, the first form of the Unborn Victims of Violence Act failed to pass the Senate, but succeeded after being reintroduced in 2003, and was signed into Federal law by President Bush in 2004. At the time the Bill faced steep opposition from abortion rights' supporters, including Bush's Presidential rival, Senator John Kerry, who felt that the Bill's language could be interpreted to define abortion providers as being guilty of homicide.
 
 
In an effort to specify that it applied only to the criminal assault on the mother, language was added to the Unborn Victims of Violence Act allowing its successful passage that stated that it could not be used to prosecute an abortion provider acting with the consent of the pregnant woman and with the certification of the law. 
 
 
The specific definition in the Bill for a fetal assault victim is that of a "member of the species Homo sapiens, at any stage of development, who is carried in the womb." As a Federal law, it applies to matters over which the Federal Government specifically holds some kind of jurisdiction.

Facts About Assault Laws You Should Know

Facts About Assault Laws You Should Know

The severity of the maximum punishment possible for an assault case may depend on such factors as the identity of the victim, which may be defined in a variety of ways. The two main traits examined by specific laws on assaults, however, can be considered to comprise of heightened physical vulnerability to an attack or the holding of some kind of public office considered necessary for the maintenance of civil society. 
 
 
In such cases, punishments are often higher than might be incurred by assaults accomplished through comparable means or to comparable degrees of harm inflicted.
 
 
Various legal systems throughout the world and within the United States, the provisions of both State and Federal specific laws on assault cases are geared toward retrospectively providing for the protection granted to certain members of society. People at the extreme ends of either very young or very advanced ages are commonly granted such protections by specific assault laws.
 
 
Another likely object for protection are those who suffer some form of physical or mental disadvantage in relation to a person exercising physical force, such as in the form of mental disabilities, blindness, or a limited degree of mobility.
 
 
Specifically adjusted assault laws may alter the consideration of mitigating factors found to be present in an occurrence of assault. For instance, an important concept in the practice of assault law in legal systems such as those of the United States and the United Kingdom is the concept of "privilege," which is to say, the privilege to use physical force in certain situations. 
 
 
The right to self-defense is a commonly cited example of privilege cited in the mounting of legal defenses against prosecutions under assault law. The applicability of this right to assault law may be abridged, however, in such cases as those involving people evidently less capable of inflicting violence on others, as might be said, in most cases, of children or of the physically or mentally disabled.
 
 
Cases in which the object of the attempt at self-defense had, in a sense, greater power to apply physical force against an individual can be furnished by the examples of police officers, who as part of their office are generally entrusted with greater discretion in employing physical force in the performance of their duties than is generally the case. The basic tool used by legal systems for deciding the applicability of specifically suited assault laws is that of the "reasonable limits" which an action may permissibly occur within.
 
 
The methods through which assault law is enforced in cases considered special can differ from more conventional cases. A dispute between two physically and mentally competent adults which turns into a violent altercation, for instance, might result in one or both parties being required to take anger-management classes. 
 
 
Prosecution under assault laws for child protection, on the other hand, is likely to consider that offense unusually egregious and possibly indicative of psychological dysfunction. Special assault laws may also supplement the enforcement power of the police with social service providers.

What Happens When You Assault a Police Officer?

What Happens When You Assault a Police Officer?

In the United States and elsewhere, legal systems commonly recognize that laws governing the treatment of the act of assault must recognize certain groups of people as being especially entitled to protection under the law. In some cases these privileges can be incurred by people unusually vulnerable to assault. 
 
 
Other such protected groups can be found in those who are considered particularly important to a society's proper functioning. For this latter rationale, the act of assault on a police officer is typically punished particularly stringently, with higher penalties and fewer allowances made for mitigating factors as may be understood in other assault cases.
 
 
In the language of legal provisions setting apart the act of assault on a police officer from other crimes, law enforcement figures are commonly referred to as "peace officers" and included with other public service providers, such as firefighters and paramedics.
 
 
The allowance of a discretionary amount of force in making arrests accorded to police officers typically entails that the right to self-defense against such an application of force may be more limited than is typically the case for defendants in assault cases. A basic concept of assault and battery law, that of the enjoyment of some form of "privilege" to employ physical force, can be seen applying particularly strongly to the rights of police officers.
 
 
As in other areas of assault law, the main consideration to be made is that the use of force occurred within reasonable limits suited to the context of their occurrence. For instance, a defendant who was jaywalking would probably not merit being met with the same response as a defendant committing an armed robbery. 
 
 
Even in the cases of an unreasonably made arrest, it must be demonstrated that the defendant accused of assault on a police officer felt an imminent danger of serious bodily harm and responded with an appropriate amount of force. For this reason, an assault on a police officer is likely to carry some form of penalty unless evidence strongly points against the conduct of the arrest which occasioned it.
 
 
In the United States, it is generally required before an assault on a police officer can be tried that it be demonstrated, firstly, that the victim was discharging such a duty at the time of the assault and, secondly, that the motivation for the assault was occasioned by the performance of such duties. 
 
 
In regard to the definition accorded to the term "police officers," marshals for municipal courts, members of sheriff departments, and officers with highway services are defined as such and are, therefore, subject to the same protections and privileges.
 
 
Within the United Kingdom, an assault on a police officer is considered a form of aggravated assault, which is referred to as "assault on a constable in the execution of his duty," language intended to codify the principle that an assault on a police officer is only distinguished from other assaults if it occurs for that reason

An Overview to Specific Assault Laws

An Overview to Specific Assault Laws

Specific assault laws on the books in the United States provide a means for certain instances of assault to be defined as markedly egregious, not necessarily according to the degree of severity with which it was accomplished, but rather as determined by the identity of the victim targeted. A finding that an occurrence of assault constitutes such a case can lead to it incurring higher penalties for the defendant.
 
 
Specific assault laws also tend to limit the applicability of defenses based on the privilege of the defendant. If the victim of an assault is found to exhibit either heightened vulnerability to the application of physical force or officially granted social importance, then a case may be prosecuted under specific assault laws. Assaults against police officers and other positions considered to be "peace officers" will incur heightened penalties, generally if the assault was found to have been consciously targeted against a police officer as such. The leeway granted to police officers for using reasonable amounts of force in making arrests also means that defenses in court based on self-defense rights will be less applicable.
 
 
Assaults committed against minors are governed in the United States under Federal CAPTA legislation. Similarly to assaults committed against minors, specific provisions are made for assaults against the elderly, as in the  existence of laws targeting people who learn of such occurrences but fail to report them. In the State of Connecticut, the elderly are included in the language of the statutes with the "blind, disabled, pregnant or mentally disabled" for special protection.
 
 
In addition to the conventional law enforcement methods for responding to normal assaults, specific assault laws on those deemed society's more vulnerable members provide for a role by social service providers. To protect unborn infants against violent actions other than permissible abortion, Congress passed the Unborn Victims of Violence Act in 2004.