Defining Assault and Battery
Posted By Law Offices of Jeffrey C. Grass || 7-Jun-2012
Though assault and battery are often spoken of as one criminal offense, they actually mean two very different things. Here’s a look at what these two terms mean and why they are usually charged together:
Assault is an attempt or threat to hurt someone. Verbal threats do not usually qualify as assault on their own, but they can qualify if performed in conjunction with another threatening act, like waving a baseball bat. The crime of assault is not based on physical contact, but instead on the threat of physical contact. If a perpetrator tries to punch a victim and misses, he can be charged with assault. He can also be charged if his behavior gives the victim reason to realistically believe that the perpetrator could harm him.
Battery is physical contact performed with the intent to cause harm. This can spring from an assault, among many other situations. Intent is central to the crime of battery; accidental injury to another person is not battery, no matter the level of physical contact. After establishing intent, the court does not discriminate based on the amount of force used during the battery, and the charge can be brought after even minor physical contact. Assault is usually charged with battery, because the perpetrator usually threatens or attempts harm on the victim before successfully doing so and committing battery.
Assault and battery can both be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor, depending on the circumstances and severity of the offense. For example, assault committed against a public servant or family member automatically becomes a third-degree felony charge. Aggravated assault can be considered a first- or second-degree felony.
Assault and battery are very serious charges that require a strong defense. If you’re facing these charges, call the Law Offices of Jeffrey C. Grass today to discuss your defense options. It may be possible to plea bargain for a reduced sentence, with the help of an experienced lawyer. To schedule a consultation in our office, call us at .