Many people misunderstand assault and battery as being one-in-the-same when it comes to criminal charges. Someone can be charged with assault and battery; however, assault and battery are actually two different types of charges and there is a distinct difference between the two. The primary difference between the two is whether an intentional, physical act happened or if the act was only threatened. A charge of assault and battery means there is a combination of a threat as well as physical harm. The severity of the harm that occurred is what decides the charge of an assault and battery case, which may either be a felony charge or a misdemeanor. To prepare for a defense of assault and battery, it’s important that you understand the specific assault and battery laws in your state or if you are facing higher-level charges, to understand the federal law pertaining to these charges. Here are the differences between assault vs battery.
What Is Assault?
Assault means there has been a threat of harm that caused the victim to have a fear of being physically hurt. An assault charge is only applicable when the victim was threatened, but not physically touched. Basically, the person that is being charged with assault didn’t physically harm the victim. There are different types of assault, such as pointing a gun at someone, raising a fist, waving a knife or other type of weapon, or verbally threatening the other person of doing physical harm in the future. Although there are different types of punishment for an assault, the punishment is generally less than a battery charge. One of the most important aspects with regard to an assault charge is that because there is no evidence of physical harm this type of case is often difficult to prove. In order to prove an assault, the following must have happened:
- The defendant had the intent of causing harm or the fear of being harmed to the victim
- Some type of action potential harm was made by the defendant, for instance, pointing a gun at the victim
- There were grounds by the defendant that caused the victim to believe the defendant is capable of doing harm
What Is Battery?
Battery means the defendant actually followed through with a physical act of touch or force, whether harm is caused or not, it is an extreme type of assault. Although battery generally consists of violent physical contact occurring between two people, in some situations, simply touching someone without their consent may be enough for a charge of battery as long as the victim was offended by the actions of the defendant. Battery means that the defendant not only threatened the victim but actually caused any type of physical injury. When compare assault vs battery, there are different degrees of battery. For instance, extreme battery generally means that serious injury did or may have occurred, such as the use of a weapon; however, a simple battery may also apply to a defendant that touched anything relating to the victim, such as touching the victim’s purse. The punishment for battery depends on the severity of the injury sustained by the victim. Even with physical evidence, in order for the defendant to be charged with battery, the following must be proven:
- Some action was made by the defendant
- There was intent by the defendant to come into contact with the victim
- Contact with the victim was harmful or offensive
Assault VS Battery
A charge of assault and battery means that a physical crime occurred, even if there wasn’t actual harm to the victim. Assault vs battery can be separate charges, depending on the actual act, such as the victim being threatened of harm or if there was physical harm. For instance, if the defendant verbally threatened to harm the victim, it is considered an assault, if the defendant actually touched the victim, it is battery and if the defendant followed through with their threats of harm, it is assault and battery.
Simple Assault And Battery VS Aggravated Assault And Battery
Not only can someone be charged with assault, battery, or assault vs battery, but there are also different types of assault and battery. Simple assault vs battery is generally a misdemeanor charge that doesn’t involve a violent act of assault or battery or assault and battery. A simple battery typically means that physical touch occurred, by the victim was not physically harmed, for instance, the defendant spit on the victim. Aggravated assault and battery is more severe than simple assault and battery and although the levels of assault and battery may vary, they may include intent to kill, assault with a deadly weapon, various methods of assault, such as strangling or beating, and/or the intent of committing another felony in conjunction with the assault.
Since the penalties for assault and battery vary, the process of recovering for injured people will also vary. If you have been the victim of a battery, assault, or assault and battery, or if you are being charged with these charges, it is important that you consult with a criminal attorney experienced in these charges to determine how you should proceed.