Under United States law, assault and battery are two distinct legal concepts. Individuals may be charged with one of the two crimes, but often they are charged with both, as the two are closely related. The main difference between the crimes is whether or not physical contact with the victim is actually made.
When an individual is assaulted, it means that he or she is threatened. This threat makes an individual fear for his or her safety and is usually made to coerce the individual to act in a certain way.
Battery, on the other hand, refers to an actual act of violence. That is, when one individual strikes another individual, he or she has committed battery.
There are varying levels of assault and battery. Additionally, it is possible to commit assault without committing battery, just as it is possible to commit battery without assault.
Generally, there are two forms of assault: assault and aggravated assault. Aggravated assault, sometimes referred to as assault with a deadly weapon, occurs when an individual threatens to harm an individual with some object, such as a firearm or knife. Assault covers all other types of threats.
Battery may be broken down into many subcategories. For instance, some sexual crimes may be considered forms of battery, as might domestic violence and abuse.
An individual may be guilty of both assault and battery when he or she threatens to harm an individual and then actually makes good on the threat by physically harming the individual.
When an individual is accused of either crime, he or she is advised to seek legal defense. While legal defense is not technically necessary, it is helpful in criminal cases, as being well versed in the law is usually vital to winning cases.
If you are being accused of assault and battery, a criminal defense attorney can help you face the charges in court.