A Cup of Water and Assault Charges. What’s the Connection?

In Iowa, a person could be charged with assault for intending to harm another person.

Under Iowa Code 708.1, an assault occurs when:

  • A person acts in a way that could cause another individual pain or injury, or physically contacting them in an offensive or insulting manner, and they had the means to carry out the act; or
  • An individual places someone else in fear of imminent pain, injury, or offensive contact, and they could potentially execute the threatened offense; or
  • A person intentionally points a gun or brandishes a deadly weapon at another

Depending on the circumstances, this offense could be charged as an aggravated or serious misdemeanor. In cases where the person did not intentionally mean to harm someone else but caused them serious injury, the act is considered a class “D” felony.

With assault being defined as above, what’s the connection between that offense and a cup of water?

In March of 2019, a Colorado man was charged with simple assault for emptying his glass of water on a member of congress. The alleged offense occurred when the 27-year-old approached Iowa Congressman Steve King at a restaurant. He was holding a cup of water in his hand at the time and poured it onto King.

He had been initially charged with simple assault and disorderly conduct, which he pleaded not guilty to. However, he was later charged with assaulting a member of Congress because of King’s position in the government.

Accepting a plea deal, the man admitted to his actions and was convicted for the offense. He has not been sentenced yet, but possible penalties include up to 1 year in jail, up to $100,000 in fines, and 5 years of probation.

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