Assault and Battery
Intent, Defenses, Punishment
Two separate offenses against the person that when used in one expression may be defined as any unlawful and unpermitted touching of another. Assault is an act that creates an apprehension in another of an imminent, harmful, or offensive contact. The act consists of a threat of harm accompanied by an apparent, present ability to carry out the threat. BATTERY is a harmful or offensive touching of another.
The main distinction between the two offenses is the existence or nonexistence of a touching or contact. While contact is an essential element of battery, there must be an absence of contact for assault. Sometimes assault is defined loosely to include battery.
Assault and battery are offenses in both criminal and TORT LAW; therefore, they can give rise to criminal or civil liability. In CRIMINAL LAW, an assault may additionally be defined as any attempt to commit a battery.
At COMMON LAW, both offenses were misdemeanors. As of the early 2000s, under virtually all criminal codes, they are either misdemeanors or felonies. They are characterized as felonious when accompanied by a criminal intent, such as an intent to kill, rob, or rape, or when they are committed with a dangerous weapon.
Brewer, J. D. 1994. The Danger from Strangers: Confronting the Threat of Assault. Norwell, Mass.: Kluwer Academic.
- Assault - Elements, Punishment - Aggravated Assault
- Assault and Battery - Intent
- Assault and Battery - Defenses
- Assault and Battery - Punishment
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