Subtle differences between battery and assault

Sometimes, people use the terms assault and battery as the same thing. The fact is that these are two very distinct terms. Understanding what each means might help you out if you are facing one of these two charges.

When you intentionally touch another person in an offensive or harmful way, you are committing battery. This requires that you mean to do it and that you want it to harm or offend the person. You don’t actually have to lay hands on the person. You can face this charge if you spit on a person. It is also necessary for you to remember that this charge doesn’t have to involve an actual injury. Just the mere touch that meets the requirements is enough for you to face this charge.

When you threaten to harm another person or try to hurt them, you might be assaulting them. Just like the case with battery, an assault must be intentional. In most cases, threatening words alone won’t meet the requirements for an assault. Instead, you would have to use spoken words and threatening gestures.

Assault and battery are two charges that you can’t accidentally commit. For example, if you bump into someone at a concert, that isn’t battery since you didn’t mean to do it. This also wouldn’t fall under assault since there wasn’t anything intentional about it.

The fine differences between these two charges can make a big difference in your case. The burden is on the prosecutor to prove that you intentionally committed one of these crimes if you are facing charges for either one or both. This can be challenging for them since you can base your defense on causing the jurors to doubt the prosecution.