Difference Between Assault and Battery (With Table)

Assault vs Battery

Assault and Battery, both these terms are very commonly used in the legal field. While most people think that these terms are the same and both are the criminal offences in law.

Therefore, it is very important to gain information about these terms.

Knowledge of any of these two subjects is critical before understanding the other subject as both of them are extremely important and interrelated to each other.

People usually hear the statement commonly used in movies “You are under arrest for assault and battery”. Such kind of statement is used in case of fights between two people

Assault means someone tries to injure some other person or gives the threat to injure.

On the other hand, Battery means if someone gives an injury to another person physically by touching him.

The key difference between assault and battery is the physical contact between two persons. If a person only gives a threat of harming another person without any touch is called assault whereas if there is a physical contact to harm each other, then this criminal offence is called a battery.


 

Comparison Table Between Assault and Battery (in Tabular Form)

Parameter of ComparisonAssaultBattery
DefinitionAssault is defined as an illegal act when a person gives a verbal threat to another person and that person has the ability to harm others. This threat creates a sense of fear in another person.The battery is an illegal offence which occurs in multiple states.

First, when a person injures the other person by physical abuse and action.

Second, when a person harms others by pre-planned planning against the other person.
ExampleIf a person named Raj stands up to close the face of Vijay (another person) and gives him the threat of breaking his face by showing the fist. Seeing this warning, Vijay moves back because of fear. As there is no physical harm, this criminal offence is called assault.If a person Raj breaks the face of Vijay with his hand. In such a case, there is physical harm caused by Raj to Vijay and hence this criminal offence is called a battery.
PunishmentAssault is a punishable offence where a person can get jail up to 60 days and a fine of $ 500.The battery is also a punishable offence where a person can get jail up to 1 year and a fine of $ 1000.
Aggravated OffenceIf a person shows a weapon while giving a threat to another person.If a person gives injury to another person using a deadly weapon.

 

What is Assault?

Assault is defined differently in different states. Generally, it is defined as the intention to harm others physically or to give an intentional threat to someone in order to create a sense of fear.

Assault is also defined sometimes as an attempt to create a battery.

Contact is not necessarily required to do assault, but still, there is a requirement of a criminal act in order to convict a person.

It is an act of offence which create a threat in a person makes a person uncertain about his security.

Assault is not a criminal offence if a person gives a threat to the person only by speaking words from his mouth.

Assault becomes a criminal offence if spoken words are also supported by the action like showing fist of hand while giving the warning of breaking the face of the other person.

There should a valid reason if a person is convicted of assaulting another person. A person cannot assault the other person with having a general intent.

Therefore, if a person gives threat to another person, that other person finds dangerous for his body, it can come under the act of assault, even though he has not done any physical harm to another person.

Assault is intention to harm others physically
 

What is Battery?

The battery is a criminal offence when the person touches another person and harms the body of another person intentionally without having the consent of that person.

Some of the acts which are categorized as battery are:

  1. Touching another person having the wrong intention.
  2. Harming body of the other person

Basically, the intent is not mandatory for the act to be called a battery. If a person touches another person physically with an intent to cause bodily harm, it is called a battery.

On the other hand, if a person touches another person accidentally, then such an act is not called battery and there is no punishment for such acts.

The acts which are qualified as battery and often punishable are kicking or punching someone, harming others with the help of deadly weapon.

It is not mandatory that the victim should have an injury to convict the person for the battery.

Battery is when person touches another person physically
Battery is when a person touches another person physically

Main Differences Between Assault and Battery

Although both are classified as legal offence and related to the law of the country but still there exist a lot of difference between assault and battery when it comes to meaning, punishment and aggravated offence.

  1. Assault is defined as a criminal offence when a person gives a threat of harming others whereas battery is a criminal offence when a person actually harms others by punching or kicking.
  2. Assault is a punishable offence where a person can get jail up to 60 days and fine of $ 500 whereas battery is also a punishable offence where a person can get jail up to 1 year and a fine of $ 1000.
  3. If a person shows a weapon while giving a threat to another person, it is called aggravated assault whereas if a person gives injury to another person using a deadly weapon, it is known as aggravated battery.

 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About Assault and Battery

  1. Which charge is worse assault or battery?

    The charge of for battery is worse than that of assault. In an assault charge, a person is charged if he has just threatened a person.
    While in the case of battery charge the person has done actual harm to someone.

  2. What is an example of assault and battery?

    If someone punches an individual anywhere on the body and it causes minor body injuries, then it can be termed as a battery offence.

    If someone threatens a person via phone call or SMS to hurt him or her then it is an assault.

  3. Can you get probation for assault and battery?

    In the case of an assault, the probation is granted by the court to the criminal.

    In the case of a battery offence, depending upon the nature of the crime which has been done, the probation is given accordingly.

  4. How long do you have to press charges on someone for assault?

    The duration for pressing the charges in the case of assault are different for different types of crimes. Civil claim has three years, battery has three years, sexual abuse has seven years.

  5. Does assault merge into battery?

    An assault can be merged into a battery depending upon the situation of the crime. For example, if a person is attacked from behind then he would not have the fear of getting hurt but he would actually get hurt.

    In such a case the attacker would be guilty of battery but not of an assault.

  6. What are the various kinds of assault?

    The assaults are basically of two types. The first type is the simple assault. The second type is the sexual assault.

  7. How can an assault charge be dismissed?

    An assault charge can be dropped if the person who has filed the report withdraws report. The charges can also be dropped in the case if someone refuses to testify.


 

Conclusion

Both of the legal concepts i.e. assault and battery are the punishable legal offences in which people tend to harm another person verbally or physically.

Both of the topics are very close to each other and this is the prime reason that both of these are being taught together in detail in law institutions.

On one hand, assault means the person giving a threat to another person of harming him whereas battery is the act of giving injuries to the other person by physical contacts.  

In order to understand law completely, complete knowledge of the difference between both assault and battery is mandatory.


 

Word Cloud for Difference Between Assault and Battery

The following is a collection of the most used terms in this article on Assault and Battery. This should help in recalling related terms as used in this article at a later stage for you.

Difference Between Assault and Battery
Word Cloud for Assault and Battery

 

References

  1. https://www.jstor.org/stable/764278
  2. https://psycnet.apa.org/record/1982-32831-001
  3. https://scholarlycommons.law.northwestern.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2948&context=jclc
  4. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/lary.24686

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