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Understanding the Difference Between Assault and Battery

Original Post: 11/15/2017

A man aggressively holds another, assulting him, while the victim tries to defuse the situation. For some, assault and battery are two terms that are commonly mixed up or used interchangeably while conversing.

Even though both assault and battery are crimes, they differ in nature and attract different sentences. Regardless of being different crimes, assault and battery have severe penalties, especially if the people charged are prosecuted and convicted as per the fullest extent of the law.

In this article, we break down the differences between the assault and battery so you can more clearly understand both. 

Differences Between Battery and Assault

The major difference between an assault charge and battery charge is the threat of harm and the actual presence of harm.

One is charged with battery if they have caused real physical harm to someone else. An assault charge is when one has caused a threat of harm.

Since the charges are quite different, they attract different penalties if there is a conviction. If someone is facing either of the charges, they could be subjected to fines or a jail term.

Qualities of Assault

  • Justification is self-defense or defense
  • The purpose is to threaten
  • Not always physical

Qualities of Battery

  • Justification is either necessity, self-defense, or defense
  • Physical contact
  • Causes harm

Defense to Battery and Assault

The most common defense approach for assault or battery is mutual consent, even though the definitions of these two crimes can vary depending on the state someone is in. Through mutual consent, both parties will own up to the situation meaning that there will not be a one-sided approach in the case.

Other common defenses to battery and assault charges include defense of property, defense of others, or self-defense. It’s important to note that you can only use these defense approaches if the amount of force you used to defend yourself or others was proportionate to the battery or assault you intended to stop. 

Get Experienced Legal Advice for Your Assault or Battery Charge

Even though the consequences of a potential conviction are frightening, an experienced and knowledgeable attorney from Aldrich Legal Services will provide you with a great defense team. In many cases, experienced legal representation can help you avoid conviction or lower your damages. 

If you or someone you know need a reliable criminal defense attorney, enlist the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney at Aldrich Legal Services. Our team of lawyers are familiar with the local system and can give you the help you deserve. 

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