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Assault and battery have completely different meanings

During the course of a criminal case, different terms are often heard. In some criminal cases, the terms "assault" and "battery" sometimes come up. While many people associate these terms with a single action, such as a fight, they each cover a different crime.

In order for a person to be charged with battery, there must be physical contact between the alleged batterer and the victim. The physical contact must be offensive or harmful. It must occur without the consent of the victim. There doesn't have to be an intent to hurt the victim, which means that in some accidents, a person can be charged with battery.

An assault charge, on the other hand, means that the defendant is accused of threatening someone. There is no physical contact necessary to be charged with assault. This means that you can be charged with assault for simply making a verbal threat to someone or indirectly conveying a threat to someone.

In the case of assault, there must be a general intent present. This means that there is no such thing as an accidental assault. Instead, a person has to act in a manner that would be considered dangerous for the other people around them.

Anyone who is charged with assault or battery has to determine how he or she will answer the charges. Making the decision between a guilty plea and a not guilty plea is the first choice. From there, considering plea deals or defense strategies might be necessary. It is vital that if you are facing these types of charges that you understand your options before making a choice.

Source: FindLaw, "Assault and Battery Overview," accessed June 16, 2015

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Ronald E. Smith, P.C.

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