A defendant adjudged to have committed civil assault is liable for damages. The question of the amount that should be awarded to the victim is determined by a jury. COMPENSATORY DAMAGES, which are aimed at compensating the victim for the injury, are common. Nominal damages, a small sum awarded for the invasion of a right even though there has been no substantial injury, may be awarded. In some cases, courts allow PUNITIVE DAMAGES, which are designed to punish the defendant for the wrongful conduct.
The punishment for criminal assault is a fine, imprisonment, or both. Penalties are more severe when the assault is aggravated. Many states have statutes dividing criminal assault into various degrees. As in aggravated assault, the severity of the crime, the extent of violence and harm, and the criminal intent of the defendant are all factors considered in determining the sentence imposed.