What is the Difference Between Assault and Battery?

Assault and battery are often used interchangeably because of the belief that they mean the same thing. However, assault and battery are two distinct types of crimes and each has its specific set of penalties.

Both assault and battery are considered misdemeanor types of crimes and are usually punished with fines and jail times.

What is Assault?

It is an act wherein the perpetrator puts the victim in fear of physical harm being caused to them. An assault may not directly involve physical contact. The act of assault may inflict physical harm on the victim. An assault may be considered an incomplete battery wherein there is a threat to the victim but no harm is caused. On the other hand, battery is an act where physical harm is caused to the victim.

An assault charge may be raised in case of any offensive, physical touching even though it may not cause a physical injury to the victim. An act is considered an assault even if there is no physical contact with the victim and the offensive touch is made using an object.

Different state laws in the US may vary regarding the specifics of assault. Some states have classified assault as first-degree, second-degree, and third-degree assault.

In most states, the accused may be fined $1000 or be given a jail sentence of six months.

Assaults that are more violent in nature are known as aggravated assaults. These are assaults with a deadly weapon or assaults on a law enforcement officer.

If you are accused of assault, your lawyer may use the following defense strategies:

  • An act of self-defense
  • There was no attempt to use force
  • Falsely accused
  • Not a willful act

What is Battery?

Battery is a crime wherein the perpetrator inflicts physical harm to the victim. A battery can be considered a completed assault. 

The battery is defined as the intentional and illegal use of force against another person. Battery charges may be pressed against an individual if he inflicts physical harm or causes an offensive touch to the victim. To prove a battery charge there must be sufficient evidence to support the fact that actual touching took place.

An individual convicted of a battery may be asked to pay a substantial amount as a fine or may be sentenced to six months imprisonment.

An act of battery that causes severe bodily injury to the victim is known as aggravated battery.

Common defense strategies used for an act of battery are:

  • Self-defense
  • The accused did not act willfully
  • No real physical contact with the victim
  • S/He was charged without a probable cause

If you are accused of assault or battery, you will need an expert criminal lawyer to defend you in court. Autrey Law Firm has experienced criminal defense attorneys who have successfully represented several clients who have faced assault/battery charges. Our lawyers are experts in the state and federal laws and offer the best defense strategies for their clients.