Even if you are a peace-loving person, you could find yourself involved in an altercation that leads to an assault charge. You do not have to randomly attack someone to face this legal challenge. Simple assault is a common charge and one that can be levied for a number of reasons. If you are arrested for simple assault, you need to understand what that means and how to defend yourself from the charge.
The definition of simple assault varies from state to state, and, in some instances, you don't even need to touch someone to be charged with the crime. In some places, you can be charged with assault if you simply try and scare someone into thinking they will be attacked. For instance, simply "getting in someone's face" could land you in the police station.
If you are on the other side of this issue, the victim of threatening behavior, you have have to prove that whatever your attacker did would reasonably cause fear. In other words, you cannot cry wolf and say you were afraid for a silly reason. Someone calling you a bad name is not assault. Someone lifting a chair over their head might be. Even if you felt threatened, you will have to prove that you really were. Someone trash talking you or using obscene gestures is not enough.
This category is not as simple as it seems and the results of a defense varies greatly. Usually, to be successful by claiming self-defense, you need to prove that you did not "provoke" the other person and that you couldn't have simply walked or even run away to avoid the conflict. Another defense is an "affirmative one" that asserts that the charges against you are false. Your attorney may be able to prove other defenses for you, as well. If you punch or otherwise assault someone, however, you need to have an ironclad reason for doing so.
The penalties for simple assault range widely depending on whether you are charged with a misdemeanor or a felony. However, any assault charge is a serious one and requires that you engage a lawyer to deal with the legal system. You may be offered a plea deal or a minimal sentence if no one was injured. It's entirely possible that you will not see jail time. However, if you harm someone, be prepared to pay the penalty. For more information about simple assault charges, talk to a lawyer like Robert Speer, The Magic Lawyer.