The charges of assault and battery are frequently made together when a violent crime has been committed, as they are related in ways, and usually occur together. Despite this, they do have two distinctly different meanings, each of which come into question separately when a person has been charged with any kind of assault offenses. How these events occur, and how they relate to each other, are important parts of any violent crime case, and must be acknowledged in order to gain the best outcome for the defendant.
Defining Assault and Battery
Before any related violent crime can be officially charged, heard and then decided upon, the determination as to whether what took place constitutes assault or battery – or both at the same time – needs to be established:
Assault – Defined in most places as the intent to injure someone, this is a charge used when there is a threat of violence against a person, made by another person, and that threat is made in some way other than just verbally, and without there being actual, physical contact between the two. Committing criminal acts intended to cause fear in a person, threatening with a weapon without actually touching them, or sending threats through other channels are all examples of assault. With that intent, and a motive to make those threats, assault offenses are charged as such.
Battery – As opposed to assault meaning no actual, physical contact has occurred, battery is the opposite, and is defined by physical contact made with the intent to cause harm. The three main stipulations that must be proven for battery to stand as a charge are the involvement of intentional touching and physical contact, proof that this touching is meant to cause harm, and proof that it is non-consensual. Engaging someone in a fight by throwing the first punch is battery, for example. Though the person acted upon does not actually have to become injured, the attempt to injure them still qualifies.
Assault and Battery Together
Most people are accustomed to hearing the phrase ‘assault and battery’ together, since more times than not, it happens together. Someone threatens, and then goes through with those threats, and there is the created situation of assault and battery. They also happen alone however, and carry separate penalties. In some state though, the charges have been combined to form their own category which receive an appropriate penalty based on the two actions together, having taken place during the same event. It can expedite the legal process, but it does not suffice for every occasion. When the crimes committed are severe enough, or otherwise warrant this, charges are still considered two different offenses.
Anyone accused of assault and battery should enlist the aid of an attorney knowledgeable in violent crimes for their defense. Working with someone who understands the intricate differences between assault offenses and battery offenses, and when they are likely to be assumed as separate offenses or one in the same, is essential for the most positive outcome in any hearing involving a violent crime.
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