During assault, what happens if the perpetrator is drunk? 7 Answers as of December 05, 2010

I smoking outside of a bar and someone I do know smashed a beer bottle and came up to me with the half-broken bottle and threatened me with it. I tried to ignore him at first because he was drunk but then he attempted to hit me with it. I ran off and am not injured and he was held back by his friends. Can I collect for assault, or is this excusable because he was drunk and no injuries occurred?

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Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider
Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider | Peter Goldscheider
Assault is an attempt to hit someone measured objectively not by the intent of the perpetrator but by the act itself. Intoxication is not a defense in that it does not involve a specific intent to injure the other person. You can always sue the person but if he does not save any money and you were no't injured you will have a difficult time finding an attorney to take the case because you might not be able to collect and if you did it might not be for very much.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 12/5/2010
Law Office of Joe Dane
Law Office of Joe Dane | Joe Dane
Can you "collect"? Do you mean can you sue for money?

Yes, just about anybody can sue for anything. The question is going to be will you win? In any civil case, you must not only prove liability, but also damages. How were you harmed by this? No injuries occurred, you did not incur any expense such as medical bills, suffer psychological damage that required therapy or other quantifiable harm.

Can you sue for the emotional distress of the situation? Yes, but without proof of suffering, proving damages would be near impossible.

Can you "press charges" in a criminal sense? No. That decision is up to the prosecuting agency in whatever jurisdiction where this occurred. Unless the police were called that night, it is probably too late to do anything about this.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 11/4/2010
Dennis Roberts, a P.C.
Dennis Roberts, a P.C. | Dennis Roberts
No harm, no foul. Since you were not injured and he just scared you, no lawyer in his right mind would bring a suit against him.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 11/3/2010
Law Office of Thomas F. Mueller
Law Office of Thomas F. Mueller | Thomas Mueller
You can sue him for the assault, but it doesn't sound like he would have the assets to make the suit worthwhile.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 11/3/2010
Nelson & Lawless
Nelson & Lawless | Terry Nelson
His drunkenness is not a legal defense. But, Collect? That implies you sue him, take it to trial and get a judgment for your damages and injuries, then locate assets of his that you could seize under a judgment Writ. If not actually injured, your claim probably has insufficient value to interest any attorney.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 11/3/2010
    The Law Offices of Robert L. Driessen
    The Law Offices of Robert L. Driessen | Robert L. Driessen
    He can still be charged with a crime. However in situations like this if you did not file a police report at the time the case gets worse for the prosecution. You will not collect in criminal court unless you were injured. You can sue in civil court but the costs may not be worth it.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/2/2010
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh | Jeff Yeh
    Being drunk is no defense to assault, which does not require any actual "touching." As long as you feared imminent battery, an assault charge can stand. However, you are not likely to recover much damages in a civil case. Your best bet is to report the incident to the DA's office, which may or may not take action.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/2/2010
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