Assault and battery are similar offenses that can be considered one offense but are often classified as separate ones. Any crime with a physical attack is usually classified as assault or battery. Generally, assault refers to any actions which may suggest someone intends to cause physical harm. On the other hand, battery refers to the physical act of harm.
As such, even the mere threat of violence can be considered an assault. For example, spitting at someone’s feet can be considered assault because although they have not physically harmed another person, their actions suggest that they have intent to cause harm. Classifying threatening actions helps law enforcement prevent violent crimes before they happen. Therefore, if you did spit at someone’s feet, you could be arrested on assault charges. If you did cause physical harm to another party, it would be considered assault and battery.
Historically, assault and battery were two separate charges. Over the years, these charges are now considered the same or in the same vein as one another.
Criminal Vs. Tort Assault and Battery Charges
Both assault and battery are misdemeanor offenses. There are situations where they could be considered felonies or infractions. Where the crime was committed, how extensive the damages are, and previous offenses can change how the charge is classified. When someone is charged with assault or battery, it will either go to criminal or civil court.
For simple assault, the case will often go to civil court as an intentional tort case. This means that although attackers won’t face criminal charges, the victim has a right to press civil charges against them. In other words, even the mere threat of violence is grounds for someone to press charges against another party.
More dangerous and violent acts of assault and battery may go to criminal court. If someone is charged with first or second-degree, they often face more severe charges and penalties.
Types of Assault Charges
Every state uses different terminology for assaults and similar charges. In general, there are first, second, and third-degree assaults:
- First-degree assaults, or aggravated assaults are more violent kinds of transgressions. This may include using a weapon with intent to cause bodily harm, or attacking a police officer.
- Second-degree assaults generally also include cases where a weapon was used, but there’s less proof that there was intent to harm, or there was less ham done.
- Third-degree assualts, or simple assualt are attempts at harming a person, physically or otherwise.
Most assaults are simple assaults. In general, these are only misdemeanors. Depending on which state you’re in, first and second-degree assaults can qualify as felonies. Having a felony charge on your record can severely impact your life. You may face up to 25 years in state prison for a first or second-degree assault charge.
Sentences For Assault and Battery Charges
Assault and battery charges are typically misdemeanors. In some states, you can be charged up to $5,000 and can serve up to a year in jail for a misdemeanor charge. Misdemeanor charges change from state to state. You can read more about misdemeanor charges in different states here.
In general, most assault charges are often punishable by up to six months in jail and/or a $1,000 fine.
Defenses For Assault and Battery Charges
Working with a good lawyer either when fighting or pressing assault and battery charges is key to seeing the results you want. Whether you need a civil lawyer to help you file charges or a criminal lawyer to help you fight charges, MyCaseHelper.com can help you.
Some effective defenses against an assault or battery charge may include:
- Acting in self-defense.
- Not attempting to use force or utter threats.
- False accusations.
To find a qualified lawyer in your area, call MyCaseHelper. We work with thousands of lawyers across the country and help hundreds of people every year. To find out if you can clear or reduce your charge, call today.