Conditional Assault Law and Legal Definition

Conditional assault is an assault expressing a threat on condition, for example ‘your money or your life.’ In a conditional assault, bodily harm generally occurs only if the victim fails to act as the defendant directs. For example, if a defendant threatens to shoot another unless that person leaves the property, he is guilty of committing an assault even though the victim departs. The defendant is not protected from an assault charge simply because the victim complied with the condition. The fact that the defendant would have harmed the victim if the condition had not been met is enough to generate the required intent.

The following is an example of a case law referring to the term:

A text states the concept of conditional assault thus:

"With assault defined in terms of attempted battery, one may point a loaded gun at another, or flourish a knife in his face, with a threat, which he intends to carry out, to injure the other unless the latter does something he is not legally obliged to do or refrains from doing something he is legally entitled to do -- as where A, with loaded gun pointed, tells B, 'I'll shoot you if you say that again' or 'I'll fire if you don't raise your hands.' It is no defense to assault of the attempted-battery sort that the victim can and does avoid injury by acceding to the other's unlawful condition; or, putting it another way, the required intent to injure is not negatived by such a condition which accompanies the defendant's act and threat." [People v. Johnson, 407 Mich. 196, 245 (Mich. 1979)].