Assault vs Battery: Is There a Difference?
Following a traumatic incident of intentional harm, it can be easy to confuse the terms ‘assault’ and ‘battery’ with each other. Indeed, the legal jargon has become so conflated that some states combine the charges as ‘assault & battery’.
In actuality, this subsumption is typically a matter of specific state laws or different grades that judges apply to these two charges.
Despite this conflation it’s important to remember that the two offenses are distinct from each other – you cannot combine them.
As such, it’s important to understand the differences when it comes to assault vs battery if you’re involved in a violent case.
In this article, we’ll help you understand the difference between the two concepts and the best way to proceed with both of them. Let’s get started!
What Is Assault?
The official definition for assault is a physical attack that’s against the law or an unlawful threat. There are two types of assaults: simple and aggravated. A simple assault occurs without the use of a weapon.
It can result in no injuries, minor injuries, or undetermined injuries with a hospitalization period that lasts less than two days. Aggravated assault is the same thing, but it deals with cases that involve weapons and more serious injuries.
This category is subdivided into cases that involve injuries, and ones in which involve threats. It’s important to remember that crimes like sexual assault, rape, attempted rape, robbery, and attempted robbery do not fall under the assault category.
The key to understanding assault is viewing it as an intentional act to scare someone or cause harm to them.
For example, if someone swings a punch at someone to see if they flinch, then it doesn’t matter if they had no intention to follow through with the act.
The threat alone justifies assault. For a complete list of the definitions surrounding the various forms of assault, you can visit this Bureau of Justice link here.
What Is Battery?
In the United States, the battery is defined as the force used against another person that results in harmful, offensive or unwanted sexual contact.
There are four different grades of battery that help the judge determine the seriousness of the sentence. They include simple battery, sexual battery, family-violence battery, and aggravated battery. We’ll briefly go into each of them.
A simple battery is any force or insult that takes place without the other person’s consent. In these cases, it doesn’t matter if an injury occurs or not.
Many simple battery cases can be accidental, but the intent to inflict an injury is defined as a criminal battery.
Sexual battery is usually defined as any non-consensual touching that occurs between intimate parts.
Florida laws offer a bit more explicit definition of sexual battery defining it as ” oral, anal, or vaginal penetration by, or union with, the sexual organ of another or the anal or vaginal penetration of another by any other object”.
As issues surrounding domestic violence increase, some judges may use the family-violence battery to limit the scope of the case to members of the family with a degree of relationship between them.
Like aggravated assault, aggravated battery is the most serious of the charges and ranks as a felony-grade offense.
It’s defined as a battery-attempt that causes serious injuries or permanent body disfigurement. In some states aggravated battery is included in the definition for aggravated assault.
Assault Vs Battery: Which One Is Worse?
Most of the time battery cases are the more serious of the two – mainly because it is an amped-up version of an assault charge. One helpful way to think about it is by redefining assault as an attempt to cause a battery.
So, with a battery charge, unwanted force or injury always occurs. However, this fact does not mean that assault charges aren’t also severe. Sometimes they can carry more weight than battery charges.
It all comes down to the level of severity of the specific case. Simple assault and battery charges are usually ruled as a misdemeanors, while aggravated assault and battery charges typically get classified as felonies.
For example, an aggravated assault in the form of an individual threatening another with a gun is more serious than a simple battery case in which someone did get hit.
The outcome of each case is further complicated by assault laws that vary from state to state. If you’re involved in one of these cases, then make sure you contact a local lawyer to see how the laws may differ in your area.
What Should I Do If I Live With The Person Who Assaulted Me?
Assault cases become exceptionally more complicated when they occur against a family member or two individuals living together.
For one thing, there are often conflicting sides and accounts, as well as potential witnesses in the form of children or teenagers.
However, the more serious issue is that the injured parties may not have a safe place to stay during the court proceedings. If you have a family member or friend’s house that you can stay at, then we recommend this option.
Still, some people may not be that lucky. If you’re involved in a case that deals with an assault on a family member, then make sure you get in contact with a lawyer immediately. They’ll give you advice on the safest way to proceed with the charges.
Do You Need Help With Your Assault and Battery Case? Let Halt.org Assist You
We hope this article helped you understand some of the differences when it comes to assault vs battery charges. If you don’t know how to proceed with your case, then let Halt.org help you out.
We understand how difficult these cases can be for individuals and families. To make the process easier we provide helpful legal information and lawyer references for anyone involved in these types of cases.
Keep on reading our articles, or get in touch today to get help quick.