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The Difference Between Assault and Battery

difference between assault and battery

You’ve heard the term “assault and battery” and you may even have been charged with one or both of these crimes, but do you know what these legal terms actually mean? Here are the definitions you need to know, with a clear example of each, and some common defenses that an experienced assault attorney can use to give you a fair day in court.

Definition of Assault

“Assault” is defined in California as being the attempt to threaten, with the present ability to commit, violent injury to another individual. This charge is escalated if there is a firearm or other deadly weapon involved. To be convicted of an assault, the following elements must be met:
  • The threatened or committed act would directly result in touching or making contact with another person in a harmful or offensive manner.
  • The threatened or committed act was done willfully or on purpose. It’s not required for a conviction that the intent was breaking the law, hurting the other person, or gaining an advantage.
  • The defendant must be aware that the act could cause damage or harm.
  • The defendant must have had the present ability to apply force or offense to a person.

Assault Example

If you are standing near another person and yell at them saying you are going to throw a rock at them, and there is a rock nearby or in your hand, this would be considered assault. If you have the ability to cause “serious bodily injury” with the rock, it could be considered aggravated assault.

Battery Definition

“Battery” is defined in California as any willful and unlawful use of force or violence upon another person or to anything attached to a person. To be convicted of battery, the following elements must be met:
  • The act was done in an angry or offensive manner.
  • The act must be done willingly and unlawfully.
  • The act must cause physical pain or personal offense.

Battery Example

If someone is walking a dog and you run up and kick the dog, which causes the dog to panic and trip the person, who then gets injured, you can be charged with battery.

Types of Defenses an Assault Attorney Can Use In Your Case

Because both of these separate charges are a bit ambiguous and there is some crossover between them, they are often charged together for the same crime. Doing so also opens the door to harsher penalties. The defenses an experienced assault attorney can use in your assault, battery, or assault and battery case are the following:
  • Self Defense
  • Consent
  • Accident
  • Parental Right to Discipline a Child
While these are solid defenses, they can sometimes be hard to prove. That’s why an experienced assault attorney is often needed in order to properly defend a case. If you want to learn more or want to set up a free consultation with an expert assault attorney, contact Bradley Corbett today!

Bradley Corbett

Bradley Corbett is a criminal defense attorney in San Diego. He graduated from Brigham Young University in Provo Utah in 2004. Later he enrolled at Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego where he participated in a prestigious internship program with the Los Angeles County Public Defender. Since then he has handled over 2,000 cases.

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