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.
Domestic violence costs in the U.S. amount to $37 billion a year, this is a very serious and pervasive issue. Domestic violence is classified as violent abuse by a partner, roommate, or another domestic resident.
A domestic violence conviction can result in misdemeanor or felony charges.
This conviction comes with some legal restrictions, here is what you should know
Jail Time for Domestic Violence
Convictions of domestic violence may come with fines, probation, or jail time depending on how serious the charge. For example, disorderly conduct is considered a misdemeanor domestic violence charge with a fine of $250 and up to 15 days in jail. Domestic battery jail time would stem from a felony charge, also depending on the assault and battery laws of each state.
A Domestic Violence Conviction Affects Housing
Whether a charge is a domestic violence misdemeanor or felony, judges will often issue an order of protection for the victim. This means that after a domestic violence conviction, the accused can’t communicate with the victim.
The restrictions are different for each case. Most often this means the individual who’s charged must find a new living arrangement.
Having a domestic violence conviction on your permanent record may make it hard to find a new home. Convictions of such serious nature can lead to being refused as a tenet. This serious charge may also affect a person’s immigration status and result in deportation.
Charged With a Crime and Finding a Job
Any job that you apply to requires a background check. Having a misdemeanor domestic assault or felony assault on your record will not cast you in a favorable light to a potential employer. If you are able to get a job with a domestic violence conviction, advancing to leadership roles of any kind will become impossible.
There are also certain fields of work off-limits to those with a domestic violence conviction. Any job that requires working with women or children will most likely be impossible to get with this type of conviction on your record.
Rights After a Domestic Violence Conviction
Living in the United States grants us all certain rights. Domestic violence convictions often take away some of those rights, like the right to own a gun.
Losing your right to gun ownership and being forced to surrender them or sell them can affect your professional life if they are a part of your work. Losing your right to guns can also affect you personally if hunting and spending time at a shooting range are activities you participate in.
Get Informed on Domestic Violence Convictions
A domestic violence conviction is a serious charge to face. It is important to know your rights, the rights you’ll lose, and all the legal restrictions of a domestic violence conviction. Check out some of our other blogs to know what the right legal actions are to take after a domestic violence conviction.
False Accusations: People can make you crazy. If they make accusations that are clearly (or unclearly) false, your reaction matters a lot. Psychology Today notes, “If you are not believed, if you cannot fight back with the true story, if now you are distrusted and under scrutiny, the sense of helplessness is overwhelming.”
What is About False Accusations?
If the false accusation happens to be that you committed a sex crime, the results can be devastating. Those accused often feel judged guilty before the facts are even heard. Unfortunately false sex offender allegations are easily made with little to no evidence by someone with an agenda or axe to grind.
Given the potentially catastrophic consequences of a sex crime allegation, it is critical to quickly consult an attorney with expertise in all the best sex crimes attorney defenses to use to vigorously protect you from being charged with a sex offense.
What to do if you’re up against false accusations?
You should do this types of activities when you are up against false accusation.
Come to grips with the false accusation
- False allegations are upsetting. No one appreciates being called a “liar” when there’s so much at stake. Still, you can’t let it get to you.
You should sit and breathe deeply. Lose your cool, and you will miss what is going on. If you expect to argue against the false accusations, you must listen. If you are going to turn these accusations around, you don’t want to complicate the situation with emotional outbursts. Anger and dramatics only stretch you emotionally and exhaust your energy.
Plan your comeback
- Legal representation would urge you to organize your thinking and support. The “false” accusations could be mistakes, miscommunications, or misunderstandings. Reasonable people can work out such things.
So, it is in your interest to plan a response with notes, records, receipts, journal entries, phone reports, bank accounts, and so on. If you have the evidence, you can organize an alternative defense against the accusations. In some cases, this means calling on witnesses to the event or to your version of the issue.
Get a lawyer
- Some courts don’t admit attorneys. But, if you are called to other civil courts, you should have representation. In Civil Court, false accusations can have big consequences, so you want the legal advice to represent your interests. With the potential for criminal charges or financial damages, you need representation
Court procedures usually have a mandatory settlement negotiation. False accusations or not, you may want to reach a settlement to save yourself expenses and emotional costs.
Keep it to yourself
- In a criminal case, the police will advise you of your right to avoid self-incrimination. The wording of criminal charges may upset you, but there will be time to make your case.
You shouldn’t answer questions until your attorney is present. The lawyers self represented archives will meet with you in private about what you did or didn’t do. And, you will leave it to the attorney to frame your response. Likewise, you want to reject any plea deal that lacks your lawyer’s input.
Turn the case around
- Some false accusations amount to a case deserving financial damages. You could sue for damages to your reputation and earnings potential. Slander and libel justify a lawsuit on your part.
The false accusations can amount to an abuse of the legal process and/or malicious prosecution. When the false accusations are deliberate and malicious, you have the right to recovery. Such events are rarely a matter of a mistake, misunderstanding, or miscommunication.
Up against false accusations?
Psychologist Dr. Phil says, “Accept that there is no way you can erase what has happened. Even though the accusations may be unfair and untrue, the situation is real. You need to get out of denial about that in order to deal with it in the here and now.”
If you can get a hold of this advice you can proceed with the five things you need to remember when you’re the victim of false accusations.
You were recently charged with domestic assault or another charge related to domestic violence. Chances are that your mind is filled with questions – especially when it comes to how your case will play out in court. Before you become overwhelmed by an endless maze of “What If?” questions, here are several key points that you must remember:
The Purpose of the Domestic Violence Hearing
The domestic violence hearing is typically the first stage of the judicial response to this type of charge. The judge assigned to your case will primarily focus on two key factors: the evidence and the victim. Is there enough evidence presented that will support a protective order that favors the victim? The answer to that question will help the judge to determine if the alleged assailant should be allowed to have any contact with the victim and (if applicable) their children.
Understand Your State’s Definition of Domestic Violence
How is “domestic violence” defined in your state? A common mistake is to assume that domestic violence only applies to physical violence. However, the definition of domestic violence according to your state may paint a different picture – one that could drastically change the way you view your chances.
For example, in Arizona, the scope of domestic violence covers much more than just physical and sexual violence. It also covers emotional abuse, neglect and economic control. You do not even need to be physically near the alleged victim. Such acts as harassing phone calls, recording them without consent, threatening conversations, or even criminal trespassing can fit within this category as well.
The Victim May Not Be Able to Dismiss the Case
Another common misperception is that all you must do is get the victim to drop the charges to make everything “go away.” First-time offenders may avoid seeking legal representation, because they believe that the victim can have a change of heart and “pull the plug” on the entire case. Once again, this goes back to how your state handles domestic violence cases.
An average of 1,200 people become victims of physical abuse by an intimate partner in the U.S. every hour, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV). Therefore, it is not surprising that most states take the prosecution of these cases seriously – with or without the continued support of the victim. In most cases, the district attorney is the only one with the authority of drop a domestic assault case. Even if the victim refuses to testify, the State is still able to aggressively prosecute a case.
Mandatory Counseling is Just One of the Potential Results
It is true that mandatory counseling is a typical result of most domestic assault cases even when the assailant is not sentenced to serve any jail time. However, depending on the nature of the crime and the defendant’s criminal history, it can still be charged as a misdemeanor or felony. It could also lead to restraining/protection orders, custody losses, civil lawsuits, and more. To say that a single charge of domestic assault can change a person’s life forever, therefore, is a major understatement.
Take Your Legal Representation Seriously
It is never wise to face a courtroom battle or any major criminal charge without retaining legal representation. A significant number of people fall into the trap of believing that they have an “open-shut” case that will end in their favor – which is why they feel as if they are saving a lot of money by not retaining a criminal defense attorney to handle their case. As referenced above, by going into the legal proceedings associated with this type of charge without an expert attorney at your side, money is not the only thing you risk losing.
Liz S. Coyle is the Director of Client Services for JacksonWhite Attorneys at Law. She also serves as a paralegal for the Family Law Department. She is responsible for internal and external communications for the firm.
Although the specifics vary from state to state, assault and battery laws typically involve the same charges and acts. When someone engages in assault and battery, they usually either try to hit or strike someone or they threaten another person to cause fear of harm in order to get that person to behave in a particular manner. There are different types of assault and battery charges based on the severity of the behavior. The most egregious behaviors are typically classified as “aggravated” assault and battery, because they pose more potentially dangerous and serious consequences to the victim.
An aggravated assault charge involves a situation when someone tries to severely injure another individual, or they use a deadly weapon to threaten or actually harm someone. The charge of assault and battery is generally used when there is a fight or some type of altercation that involves two or more people. There are some legal constructs, however, that will involve those who just use the threat of violence without following through in order to coerce someone else. The following are the definitions related to assault and battery laws.
Although the details differ from state to state, assault is essentially defined as the attempt to injure or harm someone. It can involve either physical action or intimidating behaviors against someone else. Another form of assault is “attempted battery,” which is when someone uses force through making threats that cause someone believe that if they don’t comply, they are in jeopardy of harm. The difference between an actual battery and when someone assaults you is whether or not someone makes physical contact. If someone is just offensive, then it is usually not battery; it is just defined as assault.
The requirements for labeling an assault
If you want to convict someone of assault, there needs to be some sort of “criminal act” that took place. The type of actions that would constitute an assault can vary widely in definition based on location, but it typically means that someone directly or overtly acts against someone in a way that would reasonably be interpreted as attempting to cause fear. The theory of reasonability means that if anyone else were under the same conditions, they would likewise feel threatened and fearful.
The intent requirement
To prove that someone perpetrated assault and battery you have to be able to prove that they intentionally either meant to actually harm or threatened to harm you. If it is just a perception that you have, then they likely can’t be charged with assault and battery. For someone to face assault and battery charges, you have to prove that they had the intent of causing harm or of threatening you.
For a battery charge there needs to be an act
For someone to be charged with assault and battery, there needs to be an actual act of battery or harm. It isn’t enough for someone to threaten you or to make you fearful. Battery involves someone overtly acting in a way designed to harm you. There needs to be a physical altercation of some sort that goes beyond just threats or intimidation. To have someone charged with assault and battery the components that need to be in place are that you felt fear and that the other person harmed you physically. If you can’t prove both components, then the other person is not likely to be charged with assault and battery.
If you have been charged with assault and battery, there are many things that need to be proven. It isn’t enough to make someone feel threatened or intimidated; to be charged with assault and battery, there needs to be a physical action that not just intimidates but harms another individual. To minimize any potential fallout that can come from being found guilty of assault and battery, and to prove your innocence in court, it is essential that you hire an assault attorney in Queens to plead your case. They will work either to have the charges thrown out or to plea bargain for a lesser charge. Since most assault and battery cases have an underlying reason, make sure to protect yourself from the consequences of being found guilty.