What’s The Difference Between Assault And Battery?

While both assault and battery are similar, they are not the same offense. Wondering what’s the difference between assault and battery? Here’s our guide.

What Is Assault?

An assault is any intentional act that makes someone fear that they’re potentially in danger. This definition recognizes that placing another person in fear of imminent bodily harm is itself an act deserving of punishment, even if the victim of the assault is not physically harmed. This enables police officers to stop a situation from escalating before anyone is struck or injured.

What Is Battery?

Battery is different from assault in that it involves the actual, physical touching of another person without their consent and in a harmful or offensive way. A battery-level offense requires all of the following:

  • Intentional Touching
  • The Touching Must Be Harmful Or Offensive
  • No Consent From The Victim

assault vs batteryBattery: Intent Requirement

In some cases, a battery offense may not require any intent to harm the victim, although such intent often exists in battery cases. To be charged with battery you only need to have the intent to contact or cause contact with someone.

Accidentally bumping into someone on the street would not, therefore, constitute a battery offense.

Battery: Act Requirement

Battery generally boils down to offensive or harmful contact. The level of “contact” can vary greatly, covering everything from someone being poked, punched, or showed.  If offensive contact is involved, then you can be charged with battery whether the person you contacted (i.e. the “victim”) was harmed or not. It’s the contact that matters. The prosecution does not need to prove an injury on a misdemeanor battery.  Spitting on someone, for example, doesn’t cause any real physical harm. It does, however, still constitute a battery offense.

Simple Versus Aggravated Assault

Whether you are charged with simple or aggravated assault depends on the gravity and seriousness of the particular situation. Assaults with deadly weapons, such as knives and guns, are considered “aggravated.”

Simple Versus Aggravated Battery

Whether you are charged with simple or aggravated battery, depends on the gravity of the injury or whether a weapon was used in the offense.

Hire An Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney

If you’re facing assault and or battery charges in the state of Florida and need an experienced criminal defense lawyer contact Piotrowski Law today at (305) 204-5000 for a free, no-obligation consultation.