This article written by Nishka Kamath, is an attempt to shed light on the difference between assault and battery and all the important pointers one must know about each of the offenses. Further, it also has a brief overview of what a defendant should do when he/she is charged with such an offense along with the defenses available on such offenses. Furthermore, the dissimilarities between the two offenses in some US states (like that of California, Colorado, Washington, Ohio, and Texas) have also been discussed in brief, inter alia.

It has been published by Rachit Garg.

Table of Contents


Assault and battery are regarded as two violent crimes that involve either threatening someone so as to harm them or causing actual harm to an individual. In some states in the United States, assault and battery are considered as two different crimes, whereas, in other states, the divide has slowly begun to diminish and are merged into a crime as a whole. Moreover, many states have their own provision to punish the criminal, for instance, some states apply a serious charge of aggravated assault or battery, especially when there is a severe injury or when the act is committed with an intention of harming the victim through a deadly weapon. In other words, the punishments and sentences provided to each criminal will vary depending on the law of that particular state where the offense was committed and the circumstance in which such a crime took place. Penalties can range anywhere from fines to imprisonment, the same relying on factors like severity of the offense, the offender’s criminal history, the facts of the case, etc. Individuals who have committed such an offense for the first time may be treated with some leniency, whereas, those offenders who have a history of criminal records or have repeated violent behaviors may receive stringent punishment for assault and/or battery. 

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Please have a look at the whole article to learn more about assault and battery and the difference between each term.

Word of caution: If you are arrested or charged with the crime of assault, aggravated assault, or battery, it is always advisable to consult an experienced criminal defense attorney. An experienced, knowledgeable lawyer will always be of help in explaining state laws and advise you further on what options you have.

Is there a major difference between assault and battery

From a historical angle, assault and battery were used as different terms and regarded as two different crimes, as opposed to the merging of both charges in modern times. Technically, even now, they carry different meanings and have different definitions whatsoever. 

Assault charges typically involve the threat of violence and actions or words that would induce fear in a victim, whereas, battery charges are those when such threats are actually implemented and a physical attack occurs. Further, an assault involves just a threat to cause bodily harm and does not even need an actual contact with that person (can be done online, via post or messages, too), but the person threatened has to believe that such threats are of a serious nature and may be dangerous for him/her in the future; however, the crime of battery involves intentional and unwanted physical contact, even if the offender had no intention of causing such bodily harm to the victim.

In the state of Washington, an assault charge covers both offenses, i.e., charges related to the offenses of both the wrongs- assault and battery. So, even if the person threatens or commits the threats, he/she will be punished regardless. In other words, if the offender enacts any of the offenses of assault and is charged for the same, he/she will also be charged with the offense of battery, irrespective of its occurrence. Further, in Texas, there is no distinction as such between assault and battery.

Difference between assault and battery

Assault and battery are modern legal terms that actually combine assault with the separate charge of battery. On one hand, assault refers to the wrong act of causing someone to reasonably fear imminent harm, whereas, on the other hand, battery refers to the actual wrong act of physically harming somebody. The terms defined above have a historical angle to them; however, in modern times, both words can imply different interpretations of causing harm. For instance, the word assault in state statutes may refer to common law assault, battery, or both simultaneously. Further, assault and battery can also refer to a tort charge or a criminal charge, and the factors and definitions of such charges may vary considering the type of that particular charge. 



The Cambridge Dictionary describes the term ‘assault’ as “a violent attack“. Further, as per Merriam Dictionary, ‘assault’ meansa threat or attempt to inflict offensive physical contact or bodily harm on a person (as by lifting a fist in a threatening manner) that puts the person in immediate danger of or in apprehension (a violent physical or verbal attack) of such harm or contact”. Furthermore, Britannica defines ‘assault’ as “the crime of trying or threatening to hurt someone physically” or “a violent physical attack”. The Oxford Learner’s Dictionary defines ‘assault’ as “the crime of attacking somebody physically”.

Assault : defined

Typically, assault can be defined as a deliberate act that places another person in apprehension of immediate harm; thus, assault considers the threat of harm itself as a crime rather than the occurrence of the actual harm. Considering this, assault is oftentimes considered as “attempted battery”. 

Further, as assault is an intentional act, one cannot commit it by accident; simply put, the perpetrators or offender had all the intentions to induce fear in another individual, or that he/she acted purposely in that manner, being aware of the fact that it was dangerous, even if a specific person was not targeted. Furthermore, assault does not have a requirement that the victim fear being subjected to severe bodily harm or death; any sort of reasonable fear is enough for the commission of such an offense; however, it does require that an act be taken in furtherance of the threat of harm. This could be any sort of act, including approaching someone with raised fists, threatening someone with a weapon, or making an attempt to push a person onto a crowded street; in simple words, a certain activity is needed for committing assault. For instance, say Joe, a person who has the ill-repute of being mean and violent when intoxicated and is walking down 2nd Street. When he suddenly approaches a woman, it is not an assault because she is merely scared by his reputation; here, if Joe acts or does something directed at her for an assault to occur, then he could be charged with such an offense; if not, he cannot be charged for simply approaching her. Moreover, words simply are not enough, or simply stating a threat is not enough either; a person will commit an assault when he/she actually accompanies his words with an additional action that instills fear of harm in the other person.

Further, no physical contact or injury has to occur, but the person accused has intentionally acted in a particular way to cause that fear. Even if the defendant has no intentions of causing such harm, or even if the harm or offense was actually a joke or intimidation, the act can still fall under the definition of assault. While the victim cannot provide proof that he/she was afraid, he/she must always be aware that some harm or hurt could occur. Moreover, while every case comes with its own set of facts and circumstances, the intentional action of the accused must suggest that they are about to violate the generally accepted social norms about touching other people. Here, whether or not the offender and the victim were familiar to each other before the incident came into play, as well as the jurisdiction in which such a situation took place, will also be put into consideration.

Example of assault

Scenario 1 : not guilty

There is a person named Brian who is infamous for his temperament all across the city of Quahog. Now, a person named Quagmire, who is well aware of Brian’s ill-repute, notices Brian walking on the same street but in the opposite direction. He is carrying a bottle of sparkling water with him. All of a sudden, he notices Brian approaching him. Now, considering Brian’s reputation, Quagmire becomes fearful that Brian will hit him with the bottle when their paths cross; however, as they walk past each other, nothing happens. 

In such a scenario, definitely, no assault was committed. Brian has the right to carry a bottle of soda, and Quagmire’s fear of getting hit by the soda bottle was in no way a consequence of Brian’s intention to threaten Quagmire. So, this is not an assault in any manner whatsoever.

Scenario 2 : guilty

Take, for example, the above scenario; however, consider that Brian, after approaching Quagmire from the opposite direction, blocks Quagmire’s route, draws back his fist, and yells at him, “You are going to pay for stealing my prized possession!” As Brian begins to swing his fist in Quagmire’s direction, he quickly runs away, thus escaping harm. 

In such a scenario, Brian has definitely committed the wrong of assault, as his intentional conduct put Quagmire in a reasonable fear of immediate bodily harm.


There are two types of assault, namely, simple assault and aggravated assault. Let us take a look at each of them in detail.

Simple assault

The term simple assault often carries a misdemeanor penalty, which is why it is called misdemeanor assault in some states. Generally, simple assault involves-

  1. Either the threat of immediate harm, or
  2. A physical act, thus causing minor injuries to the victim.

For example, a person will/could be charged with the offense of simple assault when he/she beats someone up or raises his/her hand against that person. Such an act will be considered a simple assault in most US states. Furthermore, a simple assault may also involve getting bruised as a consequence of being slapped or shoved (act caused to the alleged victim).

Example of simple assault

Some examples of simple assault include the following:

  1. Raising a fist to punch someone,
  2. Shoving another individual,
  3. Leaving a bruise from a slap, etc.

Aggravated assault

Aggravated assault is a type of felony that might portray that an assault was committed that caused severe bodily injury or involved the use of a deadly weapon to cause an injury. Further, an assault will be considered to be aggravated assault if the defender has intentions of committing some severe offense, like rape.

In any case, a felony is considered to be more violent than a simple assault. Please note that assaults can be considered aggravated if the system of justice believes that they deserve special protection. Furthermore, assaults on police officers or law enforcement officials are considered to be aggravated, too. When such factors are missing, the offense will be considered to be simple assault.

Examples of aggravated assault

Some examples of aggravated assault, inter alia, include:

  • Shooting a bullet at an individual,
  • Attempting rape,
  • A caretaker fondling an elderly patient,
  • A caretaker hits an elderly patient.

Other types of assaults

Apart from simple and aggravated assault, some states in the US recognize different levels of harm thus caused, mainly by classifying them as-

  1. First degree (most serious), 
  2. Second degree (moderately serious), or 
  3. Third-degree (less serious) assaults.

Scenario 1 : guilty

Louis, a lady working at a restaurant named ‘The Clam’, is coming back from work around midnight, when a man suddenly blocks her way and drags her towards the bushes. The man hits her twice and starts to rip her clothes off. Fortunately, Louis notices a boulder nearby, hits the attacker with it, and escapes the situation. In such a circumstance, the attacker is guilty of committing aggravated assault, as the scenario itself suggests that the attacker attacked Louis with the intention of raping her.

Scenario 2 : guilty

A nurse named Bella working in a nursing home facility was appointed to take care of an elderly patient, Mr. Herb. She fondles him and he lodges a complaint against her. In this scenario, Bella will be charged with aggravated assault, as most of the states have special statutes to protect the elderly or mentally ill patients against the actions of caretakers.

Punishment for assault 

Irrespective of the fact whether the state considers assault as a separate crime from battery or not, all states and federal governments have provisions that make assault a crime. The crime of assault will be considered as a felony or misdemeanor, depending on the seriousness or threat in which the situation took place. For example, federal law distinguishes assault into a felony punishable by 10 years of imprisonment and a misdemeanor that is punishable by one-year imprisonment. Further, committing felonies can result in twelve months of imprisonment.

The punishment for the crime of assault majorly depends on the circumstances of the crime. An assault that has no involvement of deadly weapon or has no serious injury to the victim can be most likely treated as a misdemeanor. Moreover, some states will also treat the act of assault as an infraction with just a fine or jail time for over thirty days, provided there was minimal injury or no usage of any deadly weapon. However, the punishment and jail time will escalate rapidly if any sort of weapon is involved. Say, for instance, that in the state of New York, if a person is charged with first-degree assault, i.e., using a deadly weapon and causing severe injuries, he/she will be charged with an imprisonment of up to 25 years and a fine of around $5000.

How to file a case for assault

An assault is a severe offense in the eyes of the law, and pressing charges against the individual(s) or group(s) who committed it is the first and foremost step to finding justice, closure, and peace. Whether you are the victim of an assault or the aggressor, it is important to know how to press charges and what are the terms, conditions, and outcomes of such an act, in order to defend oneself. Let us take a look at how to file a suit for assault.

Step 1: Identify the type of assault

To lodge a complaint, one has to first determine what offense the activity falls under. It could be a simple assault, aggravated assault, or even a simple battery or aggravated battery. One must first ascertain the same. 

Further, one must note that both the offenses are regarded as criminal acts and are punishable by the court of law. The most common penalties are-

  1. Imprisonment,
  2. Fine,
  3. Imprisonment and fine, both,
  4. Restitution to the victim.

Also, a point must be considered that every jurisdiction has its own provision for assault and battery offenses and, at times, may not distinguish between the two.

Step 2 : Visit or call the local police station and lodge a complaint

Once the above step is followed, the victim is expected to go visit the local police department and file charges against the activity.

Please note : If one is not about to physically visit the police station, he/she can make a phone call and inform the police about the activity, let them know you want to press charges and justify the reason for not being able to attend them in person.

Then, the police official will request follow up information from the victim to fill the details of the assault report with proper accuracy. Usually, the assault report includes the following details:

  1. The name of the victim,
  2. The name of the offender/assistant (if familiar),
  3. Address of the victim,
  4. Address of the assistant (if familiar),
  5. The place or location where the assault took place,
  6. The date and time when the assault took place, and
  7. The situation and circumstances under which it occurred.

There are some cases where the victim is not familiar with who exactly the assailant was; in such instances, the authorities will simply ask for the details of the assailant. All throughout the process, the victim will have to furnish information regarding potential witnesses as well as give all the details of the occurrence in writing.

Further, while the victim may feel that he/she has lost memory of the incident, he/she must not let a lock of memory prevent them from lodging a complaint and trucking someone in for the crime. After the charges have been filed, one must remember to keep a record of the assault report as well as maintain the integrity of any evidence one has in their possession that could help the authorities reach an inference about the assailant.

Step 3 : Hiring a lawyer well-equipped with laws of your jurisdiction

If you, as a victim, are looking to press charges for an assault or if you have already pressed charges, it is advisable that you seek legal advice and guidance. Victims should hire a personal injury lawyer who is familiar with the laws of their justification. Doing so will help the victim pursue the lawsuit in a better manner against the aggressor for the physical and mental damage they caused.

Further, if you are being accused of any charges of assault or battery, it is important to consult and appoint a criminal defense lawyer for proper representation. However, if the victim is suing you for the injuries caused, hiring or appointing a personal injury defense lawyer will be proven to be quite beneficial.

Step 4 : The offender will be prosecuted

After all the necessary details are obtained from the victim by the police officers, they will then issue the victim’s copies of the reports that they filed. After this, the complaints will be taken to the prosecutor’s office, where the prosecutor will take a look and scrutinize the report and reach a decision as to whether or not he or she believes there is enough data in the report to press charges against the assailant. If the prosecutor is of the opinion that there is enough evidence to prosecute, then an arrest warrant will be issued for the assailant to be arrested by the judge. Besides, police officers will examine the crime further to receive any extra evidence.

If the aggressor is punished for the crime, the victim may have a chance to receive financial aid from the government. This is known as Crime Victim Compensation, which is intended to help with the following-

  1. Expenses accrued from medical bills, 
  2. therapy, 
  3. lost income, and
  4. funerals.

Step 5: Orders of protection may be passed after pressing assault charges

There are instances where an assault takes place, some victims are afraid to press charges against their assailants for fear of retribution; however, when filing an assault charge, a victim may seek to obtain orders of protection from the court (known as restraining orders), and if this is violated, the assailant will be arrested. Usually, such orders state that the assailant does not come within 123 meters of the location where the victim is believed to be.

Further, pressing assault charges on the assailant becomes necessary at times to put incidents behind and receive a sense of closure; however, the victim must ensure that they follow a proper procedure to do so to ensure that they follow proper safety and for a successful conviction of the offender. 



Merriam-Webster defines ‘battery’ as “the act of beating someone or something with successive blows : the act of battering” or “an offensive touching or use of force on a person without the person’s consent”. Collins Dictionary defines ‘battery’ as “unlawful beating or wounding of a person or mere touching in a hostile or offensive manner”. The Cambridge Dictionary describes ‘battery’ as “the crime of using physical force or violence on another person without their permission, even when this does not cause physical harm”. Britannica defines ‘battery’ as “the crime of hitting or touching someone in a way that is meant to cause harm or injury”. The Oxford Learner’s Dictionary says ‘battery’ is “the crime of attacking somebody physically”.

Definition of battery

Battery can be defined as the completion of assault, in many ways. It can be defined as a deliberate offensive or harmful touching of another individual that is done without obtaining consent from the other person. As mentioned above, usually assault is considered as a threat of harm, and battery is regarded as the actual act of causing such a harm, these two crimes are often charged together. Further, one of the main ingredients of commitment of battery is the intention of the perpetrator to commit such an act. Thus, for example, if a man slams a grocery cart into a shopper by accident, then such an action will most probably not be charged as battery; however, if the man was acting with criminal intent, recklessness, or negligence, this might result in battery, and the offender could be charged with such an offense.

Moreover, it is noteworthy that the act of battery does not require the victim to be severely injured or traumatized. Any type of touching that can be generally considered harmful that one the victim considers to be offensive, shall be enough to be charged. Say for instance, if a person intentionally pours a mug of hot water on someone, this can be an act of battery. Furthermore, in case a person spits on another person, such an act can also be said to be one committed under battery, and the person will be charged for such an activity. In this case, even though no pain or injury was caused to the other individual; however, a defendant will not be said to be responsible for contact that is considered offensive only because the victim is abnormally sensitive. The standard of “offensiveness” is ascertained from the viewpoint of an ordinary individual.


There are different types of battery depending on the gravity of the situation and the harm inflicted; they are as follows: 

Simple battery

For an offense to be considered a simple battery, it should involve having caused offensive or harmful conflict for the victim. As opposed to the offense of aggravated battery, there is neither major bodily harm nor is there any severe bodily injury to the victim. This difference makes a huge difference. The use of force or violence on the victim has to be illegal and willful to be regarded as simple battery. A point must be noted that even the slightest indirect touch can be considered a simple battery, at times.

Aggravated battery

Aggravated battery can be defined as a crime that is typically accompanied by harmful or offensive bodily contact. When an offender is convicted of the offense of aggravated battery, a prosecutor has to prove that the following activities took place:

  1. The victim has suffered a severe bodily harm or a serious injury as a result of the defendant/offender touching the victim by force, and
  2. The victim has been touched by the offender illegally and willfully (on purpose or willingly) and in a manner that has been offensive or harmful.

Example of battery

Battery can be defined as the act of actually landing a blow or hitting an individual, and it can take many forms. The most common examples of battery are as follows:

  1. Pushing a person,
  2. Hitting or kicking any person,
  3. Attacking a person with a weapon,
  4. Throwing something at another person,
  5. Spitting on someone.

Punishment for battery

Similar to the offense of assault, a battery can also be regarded as a misdemeanor or a felony. The difference between the two can be ascertained by multiple factors, like-

  1. The gravity or seriousness of the injury thus caused,
  2. Usage or non-usage of weapon,
  3. The individual and his/her state after being injured.

State and federal laws have provisions for more severe penalties if the victim belongs to any of the following categories:

  1. Police officer,
  2. Fireman,
  3. Member of legislature, executive or judicial of government.

The penalty for the offense of battery ranges from misdemeanor charges with less than serving 30 days of jail time to substantial prison sentences that could include lifetime imprisonment. Generally, states have a provision that describes the possible range of sentences in their laws, for instance, in Texas, battery is subject to the following penalties:

  1. For Class C misdemeanor, there is a fine ranging up to $500.
  2. For Class B misdemeanor, there is a jail time of about 180 days and a fine of up to $2000.
  3. For Class C misdemeanor, there is a jail time of about 1 year and a fine of up to $4000.
  4. For third-degree felony, there is a jail time of 10 years, and a fine of up to $10,000.
  5. For second-degree felony, there is jail time between 2 to 20 years, and a fine of up to $10,000.
  6. For first-degree felony, there is a jail time of between 5 years to life imprisonment and a fine.

How to file a case for battery

The steps are similar to assault. For more information, please take a look at the steps here.

Difference between assault and battery : a tabular representation

Mentioned below is a tabular representation of difference between assault and battery:

MeaningAssault is an attempt to commit battery.Battery includes the intentional application of force to another individual without any lawful or reasonable explanation.
ExamplesAttempting to spit in the victim.Mimicking the act of hitting, punching, or kicking an individual.Removing or showing an individual a deadly or non-deadly weapon in a way that portrays that the victim will be hit with that object or get hurt with it. Pouring hot water on someone else.Touching an individual who does not invite touch.Pinching, slapping, or punching an individual when the force is reasonably enough to hurt them and the intent is to hurt them.
InclusionEvery assault does not include a battery.Every battery includes assault. In other words, battery is an aggravated form of assault.
PurposeThe main purpose of assault is to threaten the individual, the victim, after the harm is committed.The main purpose of battery is to cause harm to the individual, the victim, after the act is committed.
Nature of crimeThe nature of assault is not necessarily to cause physical harm or injury. The nature of the offense of battery is to cause physical harm or injury.
Important aspects to regard it as an offenseFor the offense of assault, the threat of violence is enough, there is no need for physical contact to press charges of assault against the offender.For battery, physical contact is mandatory for it to be considered as an offense.
NecessitiesTo commit the offense of assault, a mere apprehension of danger is enough. For a battery, there has to be an actual application of physical force.
Common lawFor the offense of assault, the common law is an intentional tort.For the offense of battery, the common law is an intentional tort (negligent tort in Australia).
DefensesFor assault the common defenses include:Self defense, orDefense.For battery, the common defenses include:Self defense,Defense, orNecessity.

Assault vs battery : a state-wise perspective

Usually, in most of the states in the US, the penalty for the offense of assault (especially, aggravated) or battery (aggravated, again) is considered to be a major felony. The crime of assault or battery becomes an aggravated assault or battery in situations when:

  1. A deadly weapon was used;
  2. The status of the victim is a protected class;
  3. The intention of the perpetrator was to cause harm, hurt or injury;
  4. The seriousness of the injury this caused.

In some states, the type of weapon used makes a huge difference in providing a sentence for the offense of assault or battery. Let us take a look at some major states.   


Even though, at times, the words assault and battery are clubbed together or used interchangeably, there is quite a difference between these two offenses and both the terms have different legal meanings and consequences in California.

As per the California Penal Code, the term assault is referred to as an attempt to violently cause injury to another person. Here, there has to be a present ability to carry through with the activity for it to be regarded as an assault. Simply threatening someone on the cellphone when you are two countries away from that individual will not constitute an assault, although it may be regarded as some other type of crime (like mental harassment or the like) depending on the circumstances in which the activity took place. Assault is a blanket term, so it can refer to several actions that may or may not cause any injury. For instance, simple assault occurs when an attempt is made to physically attack someone but does not succeed in doing so thus causing no injury at all. Whereas, battery is technically a type of assault where assault results in physical contact and harm or injury to the victim.

Under Cal. Penal Code § § 240, 242, assault is said to be an intentional attempt to harm or injure another individual physically, or a menacing or a threatening activity or a statement that gives an impression to the other party that he/she will or might get attacked. Assault does not involve physical contact as such. Whereas, battery is said to be a deliberate and unlawful use of force or violence against another individual. Here, physical contact is involved. Any activity, be it that of assault or battery with a deadly weapon or with force, that is likely to cause bodily harm or injury or some serious crime, can be regarded as a felony.

Besides, anyone who commits a simple assault or battery in the state of California will be said to be guilty of a misdemeanor, even though certain crimes can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony, as per the discretion of the prosecutor. Such crimes are termed as “wobblers”. Under Cal. Penal Code § § 241.1, 241.4, 241.7, 1170, the following simple assaults are considered to be wobblers and these crimes can be charged as felonies or misdemeanors:

  1. Assault committed against a custodial officer, say for instance, a corrections officer at a jail or prison;
  2. Assault committed against a district police officer; and
  3. Assault committed against a juror or alternate juror by a party in the case.

Also, under Cal. Penal Code § § 243.1, 243.7, 243, 243.6, the following battery offenses can be either charged as felonies or misdemeanors:

  1. Battery committed against a law enforcement officer when he is on duty;
  2. Battery committed against a juror or alternate juror by a party in the case;
  3. Battery that result in any type of injury that requires medical aid/assistance against various public workers and healthcare providers; and
  4. Battery that results in any type of injury that requires medical aid/assistance against a school employee while performing his duties, or in retaliation for action taken when he was on duty.

Please note, when a simple assault or battery is charged as a felony, the court has the authority to reduce the crime to a misdemeanor during the proceedings.

Interesting fact : If the offense of assault or battery is considered to be a felony, it will be counted towards “California’s three strikes rule”.

In the state of California, there are different penalties for different types of weapons used. Some of the penalties are as follows:

  1. An assault with a caustic chemical will attract a penalty of two, three, or four years of imprisonment.
  2. Using deadly weapons can be punished as a misdemeanor or a felony and can attract a penalty of two, three, or four years or jail time;
  3. Assault using a machine will attract a penalty of four, eight, or twelve years of imprisonment; and
  4. Assaults caused by semi-automatic firearms will attract a punishment of three, six, or nine years.


Just like in California, assault and battery are two different crimes under Colorado law. On one hand, the term assault is described as unlawfully causing injury to another individual through activities like punching, hitting or kicking. On the other hand, battery (commonly referred to as menacing under CRS 18-3-206) is described as using threats or actions to try to place a person in fear of imminent serious bodily injury. In other words, battery or menacing can be referred to as the activity of giving the impression of an attempted assault.  

Please note : The offense of assault typically carries harsher penalties than that of menacing in the state of Colorado.

Assault and its punishment under Colorado law

Under Colorado law, there are three different degrees of assault and each degree comes with its own set of penalties, they are as follows:

First degree assault

Under CRS 18-3-202, for first degree assault (using a deadly weapon to injure or disfigure someone or causing organ failure, acting in a manner that is extremely risky even if there was no intention to injure, intention to seriously injure an on-duty officer, etc.), which is regarded as a Class 3 felony, the punishment ranges anywhere from 10 to 32 years imprisonment and/or a fine ranging from $3000 to $750,000. 

Second  degree assault

Under CRS 18-3-203, for second degree assault (causing serious bodily injury with the intent of doing so without any deadly weapon, drugging an individual without consent, intending or threatening to harm an on-duty officer or preventing the officer from working or coming in contact with bodily fluids like a toxic chemical with an intention to harm the officer, a person in custody applying physical force to an on-duty officer or causing a jail worker to come in contact with bodily fluids with an intention to harm, harass, or threaten the officer, etc.) will be regarded as Class 4 felony. The offender has to serve an imprisonment ranging from 2 to 6 years or 5 to 16 years if a deadly weapon is used or serious injury is involved. Further, he/she might also have to pay a penalty ranging from $2000 to $500,000, depending upon the injury caused and the discretion of the court.

Third degree assault

Under CRS 18-3-204, for third degree assault (knowing or recklessly causing bodily injury with a deadly weapon, causing an official to come in contact with bodily fluids or any sort of toxic substances with the intention to harass or threaten the official and the defendant being aware of the victim being an official) will be regarded as an extraordinary risk Class 1 misdemeanor. This will attract a penalty of serving up to 18 months of jail imprisonment and/or a fine up to $1,000.

Battery (menacing) and its punishment under Colorado law

Menacing, a term used instead of battery in Colorado, is described as using actions or threats to knowingly place or make an attempt to place another individual in fear of imminent serious bodily harm. In other words, menacing can be said to be an attempted assault.

Examples of menacing

Some examples of menacing are as follows:

  1. Holding a clenched fist up to an individual’s face so as to show he/she is about to punch.
  2. Throwing a heavy object in the direction of the individual.
  3. Threatening to beat the person up if he/she does not move out of the way at the moment. 

Further, as there are no injuries involved, the punishment for menacing is lesser in comparison to the offense of assault. 

Moreover, under CRS 18-3-206, making a criminal threat with no deadly weapon will be regarded as a Class 1 misdemeanor.  This will attract an imprisonment of up to 364 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $1000. Similarly, displaying or using a deadly weapon or a similar item, or representing verbally or otherwise that the offender is well equipped with such a weapon, will be said to be a Class 5 felony and the same shall attract an imprisonment of 1 to 3 years and/or a fine ranging from $1000 to $100,000.

Furthermore, irrespective of the weapon used, the penalty to be imposed on the victim depends on the status of the victim. Many states, including Colorado, have provisions that increase the punishment for an assault or battery that is committed on a police officer or any other type of public servant or official, like-

  1. Paramedic,
  2. Firefighters, or
  3. Teachers. 

Similarly, penalties for individuals committing assault or battery against their family members or others living with the offender, or these crimes, may be prosecuted under laws related to domestic abuse or violence. 

Moreover, under Californian law, a prosecutor will have to prove the following activities for the offense to be regarded as simple assault:

  1. The defendant committed an activity that, by its nature, would directly and probably result in the application of force to an individual.
  2. The defendant or the offender committed such an act willfully.
  3. When the defendant or the offender committed the act, he/she was aware of the consequences that would occur on a reasonable person and that it will directly and most probably result in the application of force to someone.
  4. When the defendant acted, he/she had the present ability to apply force to the other individual.

Additionally, for the offense or the activity to be proven to be a simple battery, a prosecutor must prove the following for the prosecution of the offender:

  1. The defendant willfully and unlawfully had physical contact or touched the other individual in a harmful or offensive manner, and
  2. The defendant did not commit such an activity in self defense or to defend someone else.


In the state of Georgia, assault and battery are two different crimes. On the one hand, assault is described as the threat or risk of violence, and on the other hand, battery is described as the actual physical act of violence. Both crimes attract serious punishment if the offender is convicted of the charges.

Assault laws in Georgia

There are different crimes that fall under the category of assault in Georgia and each of these crimes has its own unique stipulations and consequences. Let’s have a brief look at each of the assault degrees as per the provisions of Georgian law.

Simple assault

Simple assault, also known as misdemeanor, is described as an attempt to commit any violent injury on another individual or putting them in a situation where it is reasonable to assume that they will receive a violent injury. There are several situations that will elevate the simple assault to a misdemeanor of high and aggravated nature. Such situations include the following:

  1. The act of assault committed on public transportation or at a bus station or a place/area that is made particularly for public transportation,
  2. Determining further it back would be considered domestic, or 
  3. if the victim was over 65 years of age, or 
  4. was a pregnant female, or 
  5. an employee of a public school system on whom assault was committed while performing job duties or while he/she was on school property.

Under simple assault, an individual would have to serve imprisonment of up to 12 months and/or pay a fine of up to $5000, depending upon the nature of the crime and the circumstance in which it took place.

Domestic assault

An assault would be considered to be a domestic assault if it takes place between-

  1. Spouse, 
  2. Ex-spouse,
  3. People who are parents of the same kid, 
  4. Parents and children, 
  5. Step and step children Foster parents and foster children, 
  6. People other than siblings who still live in the same household.

Aggravated assault

Aggravated assault is said to have been committed when-

  1. The act of assault was committed with an intention of either robbing raping or murdering another individual, or
  2. If the assault is committed with a weapon that could cause a serious injury, or
  3. If there is discharge of any firearm from a vehicle towards another individual.

If an individual is charged with the offense of aggravated assault he/she may face imprisonment of anything between 1 to 20 years and the same could increase depending on the circumstance in which the act occurred. Say for instance, if the assault takes place with an intention of raping a child below the age of 14 years, the punishment ranges between 25-50 years. A conviction in aggravated assault charges may also attract a penalty of fine up to $100000.

Please note: Simple assault is described under Section 16-5-23 of the Georgian Code. Aggravated assault is described under Section 16-5-21 of the Georgian Code.

Battery laws in Georgia

In Georgia, battery is further classified into two kinds, namely, simple battery and aggravated battery. Let us take a look at both the degrees of classification.

Simple battery

Simple battery, also regarded as misdemeanor, is described as causing harm to another individual intentionally or touching them in an insulting or provoking manner. If one is convicted of simple battery, an imprisonment of up to 1 year in prison and/or a fine of $1000 will be applicable.  

However, there are some special circumstances and instances when the punishment could be increased. These circumstances are regarded as misdemeanor or high and aggravated nature crimes. Such circumstances may include one of the following activities:

  1. Causing harm to an individual who is 65 years old or above,
  2. Causing harm to an individual who is pregnant,
  3. Causing harm to an individual who is on post like that of police officer, correctional official on duty,
  4. Causing harm to a law enforcement dog,
  5. Causing harm that is considered domestic,
  6. Caregiver or staff member causing harm to an individual who is resident of that facility or the like,
  7. Causing harm to an individual who is a sportsperson officiating an amateur sports event or a public school employee engaged in job duties or on school property.

Aggravated battery

Aggravated battery, also known as felony, is described as maliciously causing bodily harm to another individual baby depriving them of a part of their body, by making a part of their body useless or by seriously disfiguring their body. Such an act is punishable by 1 to 20 years of imprisonment depending upon the nature of the crime.

Some circumstances that changes the duration of the sentence include the following instances:

  1. Act against a police official or directional officer who is on duty – imprisonment of 10-20 years.
  2. Crime against a victim who was 65 years or above – imprisonment of 5-20 years.
  3. Act that is domestic in nature – imprisonment of 3-20 years.
  4. If the act takes place on a public transport or if the victim is a student or school employee is in a school safety zone- imprisonment of 5-20 years.

Please note: Simple battery is described under Section 16-5-23 of the Georgian Code. Aggravated battery is described under Section 16-5-21 of the Georgian Code.


Assault in Washington

In the state of Washington, assault is classified in the following degrees:

First degree

As mentioned in RCW 9A.36.011, first degree assault includes actions like intent to cause bodily harm with a deadly weapon or force or exposure to a dangerous disease or substance are included.

For first degree assault, the penalty is Class A felony that is punishable between 93-123 months imprisonment and a fine up to $50,000.

Second degree

As mentioned in RCW 9A.36.021,  second degree assault includes actions like intent to cause severe bodily harm with the help of weapons or using force or exposing an individual to hazardous substances or any sort of disease are included. Further, it also includes the act or attempt to harm an unborn child by injuring the mother.

For second degree assault, the penalty is Class B felony that is punishable between 3-12 months imprisonment and a fine up to $20,000, unless there is a sexual intent, in such case, the case will be considered to be a Class A felony.

Third degree

As mentioned in RCW 9A.36.031, third degree assault includes the action of causing bodily harm through criminal negligence or assaulting the following individuals is included:

  1. Police officers,
  2. Fire fighters,
  3. Judicial employees,
  4. People providing transport,
  5. Judicial employees,
  6. Healthcare facility providers.

For third degree assault, the penalty is punishable between 1-43 months imprisonment and a fine up to $10,000.

Fourth degree

As mentioned in RCW 9A.36.041, fourth degree assault includes some actions that disregard social standards or forms but do not actually qualify to be a greater degree of assault are included.

 For fourth degree assault, the penalty is up to 90 days in jail.

Please note, the victim does not have to be severely hurt or even touched for an occurrence to be counted as an assault. Also, blurting out words does not constitute an assault but when they are coupled with some behaviors, they definitely can help build a case for assault. One of the major advantages of levying assault charges, even in cases when no harm was actually caused, is that the law enforcement can step in even before someone gets hurt or injured.

Battery in Washington

In Washington, battery is legally defined as the offense or act of intentionally causing harm to an individual or to touch someone in a manner that is offensive (meaning, without obtaining prior consent or intentional involvement in the action).

On one hand, assault is considered to be more about the intent and how an action made a victim feel, whereas, on the other hand, battery is the completion of assault where some sort of actual physical contact took place. Further, a victim does not actually have to sustain injuries, be traumatized or offended for an occurrence of the offense of battery. Some instances include:

  1. Being spat on,
  2. Getting hot water poured on, etc.

Such actions definitely are considered to be highly offensive. Nonetheless, one cannot say or claim a battery if he/she is being abnormally sensitive. For instance, giving someone a disapproving glare will most likely not be considered as a battery nor will it result in furnishing any charges as such. The act might be rude, but it in no way violates social norms in a manner most reasonable individuals would find harmful or take offense.


In Ohio, assault laws include both, the offense of assault and battery. Here, causing harm or making an attempt or action so as to cause harm to another individual or an unborn child is considered as an assault. Whereas, to commit the offense of battery, a person (the offender) has to intentionally or negligently cause offensive physical contact or bodily harm to another individual (the victim). 

Furthermore, assault is subdivided into two separate degrees further, namely:

  1. Simple assault, and
  2. Aggravated assault.

Simple and negligent assault are considered to be misdemeanors, whereas aggravated assault is usually considered to be a felony depending on who the victim is. 

Penalties for different degrees of assault in Ohio

Since the offense of battery includes assault and battery both, there can be no distinction between them as such. Let us take a quick look at the penalties for different degrees of assault in Ohio. The same has been described under Ohio Revised Code Section 2903.13.

Simple assault

In Ohio law, for simple assault (act of knowingly or deliberately causing or making an attempt to cause physical harm to another individual or their unborn child, recklessly causing serious physical harm to another or their unborn child, etc.) a penalty of up to 6 month of jail time and a fine of up to $1000 shall be levied and it may also include restitution of the victim.

Negligent assault

For negligent assault is described as a physical harm being caused when a deadly weapon is used in a manner that is negligent. For instance, negligent assault can be best described through accidents that happened while hunting. Negligent assault is considered as a third degree misdemeanor and such an act is punishable by imprisonment of up to 60 days and a fine of around $500. It may also include restitution to the victim.

Felony assault

For felony assaults like causing serious harm to someone or an unborn child or making an attempt to cause harm through the usage of deadly weapon, a punishment of 2 to 8 years imprisonment and/or a fine up to $20,000 will be levied on the offender. Also, such an assault is regarded as a second degree felony and may include restitution to the victim.

Aggravated assault

Aggravated assaults like causing serious harm to an individual or their unborn child or causing or attempting to cause harm through the use of a deadly weapon and doing so “under the influence of sudden passion or in a sudden fit of rage” are considered as fourth degree felonies and are liable for a punishment of up to 18 month to 6 years and a fine of up to $5000.


In Texas, the difference between assault and battery lies in reference to threat or physical contact. On one hand, assault revolves around the fear one instills by threatening the other person; on the other hand, battery means the actual harm caused.

Further, one must know that assault and battery go hand in hand, even in Texas, but they are different legally. Both are governed under the Texas Penal Code.

Besides, assault could take place before battery, say for example, a person threatens another person (assault) and then goes on to harm them physically (battery), here, assault occurred before battery; however, one must know that battery can occur on its own (i.e., without the offense of assault being committed), reason being, physical contact alone can be considered to be a battery charge.

Degrees of assault in Texas law

Under Texas law, there are three degrees of assault based on the severity of the threat and intention of committing such an act. Let us take a brief look at each of them.

Class C misdemeanor assault (simple assault)

Class C misdemeanor assault also known as simple assault is the least severe form of assault. It involves the following activities:

  1. Casing someone to fear bodily harm or injury,
  2. Including verbal threats, with no physical action as such, etc.

The penalty for such an offense is usually fine.

Class A misdemeanor assault

Class A misdemeanor assault means causing bodily harm to another individual with an intention of doing so. One must note that, bodily injury means beyond whatever is visible, like the pain, the discomfort, or any form of physical impairment for that matter.

Such an offense is more severe than Class C misdemeanor assault and will attract huge penalties and serving prison time, too, at times. 

Felony assault

In Texas, felony assault is described as causing severe bodily injury to someone or using or exhibiting a deadly weapon during the commission of the assault. Under serious bodily injury, one can consider injuries that may result in death or long-term disfigurement or impairment of the victim. 

Such an act attracts severe penalties and significant amounts of fines and jail time.

Degrees of battery in Texas law

Any unlawful and/or intentional physical contact with another individual can be defined as the offense of battery in Texas. As opposed to assault, which has its main focus of instilling fear into the victim, battery focuses mainly on physical context and harm caused.

Further, as per the provisions of Texas, battery is not classified as degrees like assault; instead, it comes under the general definition of “assault with bodily injury“. Typically, battery is charged as Class A misdemeanor, with punishments like fines and imprisonment.

However, at times, battery is considered to be a felony and the same depends upon the severity of the offense. Mentioned below are some of the instances of third-degree battery felony, second-degree battery felony and first-degree battery felony.

Examples of battery when it is a felony

Third-degree battery felony
  1. Assault against a public servant while he/she is on duty,
  2. Assault against security officer while he/she is on duty,
  3. Assault against an emergency services person while he/she is on duty,
  4. Battery against a family member,
  5. Battery against a member of household,
  6. Battery against someone the offender has/had a relationship with but not convicted of similar offense before.

For third degree felony, there is a punishment of up to 10 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000.

Second-degree battery felony
  1. Battery against a family member or any member belonging to your household, or 
  2. Someone you have a relationship with and have already been convicted of such an offense,
  3. Stopping a person’s blood circulation intentionally, or
  4. Stopping a person’s breathing either by choking him/her or by strangulation, etc. 

For second degree felony, there is a punishment between 2 to 20 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000.

First-degree battery felony
  1. Aggravated assault against-
  1. Public official,
  2. Police officer,
  3. Emergency person,
  4. Security guard,
  5. Witness, etc., or
  6. Aggravated assault against-
  1. Family member, or
  2. Person you are dating, etc.

For first degree felony, there is a punishment between 5 years to life imprisonment and a fine of up to $10,000.

Penalties for assault and/or battery

The punishments of the offense of assault and battery are dependent on the degree of the crime. The usual penalties include incarceration, financial fines, probation, restraining orders, and restitution. Let us have a look at each of them briefly.


Incarceration or serving jail time or imprisonment for the offense of assault and battery is typical. Whereas, aggravated or first degree assault can mean several years of imprisonment or even life imprisonment, second or third degree assault charges will attract a penalty ranging between several months to about four years. Further, assault can lead to 90 days of jail time. 


Assault charges can result in a lot of economic loss costing the defendant to pay huge sums to the aggrieved party. First degree assault carries a fine of up to $50,000; second degree assault could cost as much as $20,000; however, third degree assault charges will attract a fine of around $10,000.


For offenders who have committed assault or battery for the first time, probation might be an option. Individuals who have been sentenced to serving probation periods for assault or battery may avoid jail sentences, however, they will have to serve their sentence out in the community. A part of such a period may include the following:

  1. Being counseled for substance abuse,
  2. Anger management treatment,
  3. Maintaining distance from the victim and avoid conversations with them,
  4. Money paid to the victim. 

Restraining orders

Irrespective of the fact whether an assault sentence includes imprisonment or not, the codes will probably issue a protective or restraining order against the person who has been charged of committing such an offense. Meaning, the person charged with committing such an offense will not contact or try to see or meet the victim even if he/she is behind the bars. If the individual violates a restraining order he/she could be arrested immediately and may also face a potentially increased penalty.


If the victim was physically, mentally, or emotionally injured by the actions of the defender (the one who has committed assault or battery) or if any of his/her property was damaged, in such a case, the defendant has to compensate by paying for the medical treatment, counseling, or the property damage.

At times, restitution comes by way of a separate legal case. For instance, a person may be accused of committing aggravated assault in criminal court, and at the same time, also face a charge of being reckless in a civil suit. Further, the civil suit that is more about the victim’s injuries than the intention of the accused for committing such an offense, might land the defendant with a lawsuit to compensate for the victim’s medical expenditure.

Which is why, it is important to consult a proper defense lawyer who will work hard in the right direction to see that the sentence thus pronounced is just and fair and that the accused gets the deserved options of fines and community service over serving imprisonment.

Further, the court may order the following penalties or the victim may demand the following types of settlement or compensation for the injury he/she has sustained.

Covering medical expenses

Medical expenses that cover the cost of treatment one needed considering the injuries like:

  1. Ambulance,
  2. Emergency room,
  3. Hospital, 
  4. Surgery expenses,
  5. Doctor’s fees,
  6. X-ray charges,
  7. Lab work,
  8. Diagnostic procedures,
  9. Physical therapy, and
  10. Prescription drugs, amongst other expenses.

Lost wages

If an individual loses his capacity to earn wages, salary, self-employment, or other forms of income for he/she got injured because of the injuries, then the offender may/might have to compensate for the same until the victim recovers.

Rehabilitation center

If the victim has suffered any catastrophic injuries like-

  1. A traumatic brain injury, or
  2. spinal cord damage,

or anything that needs extensive treatment in a specialized facility will have to be compensated by the offender. Further, any long-term care, if the sustained injuries leave the victim in need of daily assistance with medical treatments and personal care, shall be reimbursed by the offender.


If the victim becomes incapable of making as much money as he/she used to before the act of assault or battery (usually battery) took place, the offender will have to reimburse them for the diminished earning capacity. 


If the act of assault or battery (usually battery) disables the victim and renders him/her unable to work in full capacity to support his/her family or themselves, the offender is liable for reimbursement or compensation for such a disability.

Physical or mental strain

Any pain suffering, be it physical discomfort or emotional distress that is experienced by the victim has to be compensated in some way or the other by the offender. Further, other intangible losses, like-

  1. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD),
  2. Depression or anxiety, 
  3. Loss of enjoyment of life, and 
  4. A spousal claim of loss of consortium, etc.,

will/shall also be compensated by the offender in some manner.

Defenses available against the charges of assault and battery

Defenses available against assault and battery may vary depending on several factors like the facts, circumstances and situation wherein such an activity took place, especially because such cases can range from being straightforward to being too complex. Further, considering that the basic elements of the offense of assault and/or battery exist in the case (i.e., it is not a case of mistaken identity or some other fundamental error), the following are some possible defenses for such charges along with some examples:

Self defense

Self defense is probably the most used defense in assault and battery cases. For a charge of assault or battery to come under the exception of self-defense, an accused must generally show:

  1. A threat of illegitimate force or harm against them; 
  2. a real, honest perceived fear of harm to themselves (there must be a reasonable basis for this perceived fear);
  3. no harm or provocation on their part; and
  4. there was no reasonable chance of retreating or escaping the situation.

Example A

Peter is confronted by Cleveland, a person with a large build but a complete stranger to him (Peter) who suddenly starts to yell at him with threats and lunges at him with fists raised in a highly threatening manner. Looking at such actions, Peter being terrified strikes Cleaveland and runs away through the nearest visible exit at the first available opportunity. In such a circumstance, if Cleaveland files a suit against Peter or sues Peter for such a tort, Peter can successfully argue that he acted only in self-defense.

Example B

Chris accidentally runs into Mort and gets into an argument about the same. Mort insults and belittles Chris, agitated by this, Chris, too, insults Mort and threatens him to beat him up. Listening to this, Mort strikes Chris and Chris retaliates in the same manner. In such a circumstance, it might be tougher for Chris to establish self-defense under these circumstances than in the example stated above as Chris played a role in escalating and provoking the fight by threatening Mort.

A point must be noted that the doctrine of self-defense comes with a considerable amount of limitations in addition to those mentioned here. Just because a person acted in self-defense, does not necessarily mean that all bets are off as the amount of force that can be used to defend one’s self. Moreover, even if all the elements of self defense are met, an individual thus defending himself will/may still be considered guilty of assault or battery, if the victim is physically different from the offender in the first place (this could be due to size, age, etc.)

Defense of others

Such a defense is quite similar to self-defense, however, there is a slight difference between the two. The limitations applicable to self defense apply similarly to defending others and the accused must have had reasonable grounds for their perceived fear in order to establish this defense. Whereas in defense of others, the person must have an honest and real perceived fear of harm thus caused to another person.

Defense of property

One of the defenses in an assault or battery case is that of claiming that the act was committed while defending their property against being invaded or illegally withheld. While taking into consideration such a defense, it is important that one knows that every state has a different provision for this defense and that the laws are different for each state.

In states where such a defense is justified, the provisions usually allows an individual to use reasonable force in defense of their property, especially when a person’s home is involved or is under threat. Generally, in case there is a dispute over personal property between two parties, the owner has the liberty to use force to retrieve the property. Whereas, if the property is stolen straight from an individual (say, a pickpocketer or purse snatcher) has stolen it, the owner will have the right to use reasonable force to recover such a property.


This defense may be available to the charges of assault or battery only in some jurisdictions. In states where such a defense is permitted, if an individual has given consent voluntarily to commit a particular act, then that activity usually will not come under the offense of assault or battery. But, if the extent of the act is beyond what the victim gave permission for, it can be used as a ground for assault and battery charges. Additionally, a point must be considered that courts investigate consent as a defense with utmost precaution and quite closely, and, at times, reach an inference that harmful actions, even when the consent was given, violate public policy and should still be punished under assault, battery or other such laws or provisions.

What measures should one take when charged with the offense of assault or battery 

Both the crimes, i.e., assault and battery are different crimes but there is oftentimes a confusion between these two terms, which is why it is important to understand the key differences between the two terms.

Further, even though they are two different crimes, individuals who are charged with either of the offenses are subjected to severe penalties. Be it assault or battery, offenders of both the acts are convicted and prosecuted to the highest legal penalties, consequences of which could be spending years imprisoned behind the bars.

If a person is charged with the offense of assault or battery, it is certain that there was real presence of harm- be it force or violence- or just the threat of harm. Considering the distinct charges, there could be several penalties if he/she is convinced, thus, it is necessary that the criminal charges thus levied on the offender are appropriate. In order to determine the same, it is quite important to consult an experienced criminal defense attorney. An individual must choose a lawyer who will make it easier for them to fight against a criminal charge and provide the offender with resources required to free him/her from such charges. 

Furthermore, if an individual is facing charges of assault or battery, there are several defenses available, as mentioned above, but such defenses may or may not be applicable depending on the facts of the case. One of the main jobs or duties of a criminal attorney is to find evidence to establish facts that would help favor the individual at the trial and have the court reach a decision in his/her favor. Thus, seeking professional help will be quite fruitful in the longer run. Additionally, it is important that the individual seeks legal guidance from the attorney who is familiar with the laws of/in the state he/she is charged in, considering the fact that several states have several distinct provisions for such offenses.


To bring this article to a conclusion, we can say that assault and battery are different from each other (in some states of the US).  On one hand, assault is defined as an attempt to threaten or cause harm to another individual, whereas, on the other hand, battery is the actual physical act of causing that harm to an individual. In order to prove that the offense of assault or battery was made, the plaintiff has to provide evidence that such an act was caused by the defendant with the actual intent to do so; simply put, even if the defendant did not actually hurt an individual, for instance, by punching him/her in the face, he or she can still be alive if the act was committed with an intent to cause harm. This can include anything from making undesirable contact to throwing something at someone. Further, apart from providing evidence of the intent, a plaintiff must also show that the defendant committed such an act of physical contact that was unwanted and harmful. This could be anything from-

  1. Touching someone without consent,
  2. Hitting someone,
  3. Punching someone in their face, etc.

Additionally, even if there was no injury caused as a result of such an action, the defendant would still be liable for facing a penalty under certain circumstances for battery.

Whereas, for the plaintiff to prove that an assault was committed, the defendant must have made an apparent attempt to carry out their threat and must have shown that he/she is competent enough to cause such a threat or harm the victim. Simply put, assaulting any individual without actually injuring them is not considered as an assault; however,  making a threatening gesture or statement is enough for the act of assault to be regarded as an offense.

In other words, assault and battery are intentional torts, meaning that for a plaintiff to win a case, one has to only show that the defendant had the intention of committing such an act (as opposed to merely intending to threaten). This makes prosecution more likely as it becomes easier for prosecutors to prove the intention of the defendant than in other crimes where there is no requirement for such intent to be proved (for instance, murder).

Furthermore, assault and battery are both criminal offenses in some jurisdictions (like that of California), whereas, in other states they are merged into one crime known as assault. 

To sum it all up, having an understanding between assault and battery and in the law of torts and the provisions of the same in different states of US is quite important when seeking legal assistance in relation to an alleged attack or injury blamed upon an individual. By being aware of the common defenses and the law of the state one resides in along with what factors should be proven by the lawyers of the respective parties to win the case, one can put themselves in a much better position while shouting legal advice or appearing in front of the court.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is assault vs. battery in United States law?

Under United States law, the major distinction between assault and battery is the actual presence of harm and the threat to harm. An individual or say, an offender, will only be charged with battery if he/she has caused actual physical  harm to someone, whereas he/she will be charged with assault if a mere threat of harm is present.

What is the lowest charge of assault?

Simple assault is usually the least severe assault. Generally, it is charged as a misdemeanor assault. Moreover, the laws of some states have provisions that classify simple assault to various degrees. 

Which type of assault is the most common?

The most common types of assaults are:

  1. Verbal,
  2. Simple,
  3. Aggravated, and 
  4. Sexual assault.

What does the term intention mean when describing assault?

The term ‘intention’ in the context of assault means that the act is not committed by accident (thus, done so knowingly) but the motive is immaterial. The fact that the act was done to scare the victim or that it was meant as a joke or a prank will not be taken into consideration. Further, the offender need not actually have the intention for the contact to be offensive, only to have intended the actual contact.

How long does one have to press charges for assault?

The duration upon which one will have to press charges for an assault depends on the jurisdiction and the statute of limitations one resides in; this typically varies from 2 years to 6 years. However, it is always advisable that one report the crime, irrespective of how long has passed since the accident took place. The sooner one presses the charges, the better the investigation will be.

Please note : In situations where someone is assaulted but police officers were not called on the scene or did not arrive at the scene in time, people can still press charges against the assailants by following the appropriate channels.

Is battery a crime in Los Angeles? If yes, what are the penalties for such an offense?

The offense of battery requires actual contact with a victim and is a more serious crime than that of assault. For committing battery, the offender may attract one of the following penalties:

  1. Imprisonment of up to 6 months,
  2. Fine of up to $2000,
  3. Anger management classes or treatment as ordered by the court,
  4. Victim restitution,
  5. Supervised or unsupervised probation,
  6. Community or labor service,
  7. No permission to use or own any firearmss, i.e., denial of rights to own any type of firearms. 

Is spitting on someone considered an assault in New York?

In New York, spitting on someone is regarded as a minimum for unwanted contact. Generally, it does come under the offense of simple assault; however, if one spits on someone else instead of the targeted individual, it will be considered to be a reckless act. 

Can a woman be slapped if she slaps a man first in Texas?

In Texas, an offense regarded as misdemeanor assault occurs when one intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causes bodily injury to another individual. Further, a person is allowed to defend themselves if someone is hitting them, irrespective of their gender. Here, the fact of who started the fight and what the matter was all about will be put into consideration to determine whether or not it was a justified assault. In other words, if a woman is using unjustified force against a man, he can use a reasonable amount of force against the woman as a response to that situation.

Is pushing someone an assault in Ohio?

Under the provisions of the state of Ohio, pushing or shoving someone would definitely be considered as an act of simple assault.



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