What is the difference between assault and battery?

Assault & Battery Phoenix, AZ Arizona Lawyers
Assault & Battery Phoenix, AZ Arizona Lawyers

Charges of assault or battery are serious affairs that can have significant legal consequences. These types of charges usually come after some sort of a physical altercation, like a bar fight or scuffle out on the street. While many people lump assault and battery together, they are actually two different charges that can have some significant differences between them.

What is Assault?

Assault is seen as the attempt to hurt or threaten another person. Arizona law divides charges of assault into three different misdemeanor offenses depending on how serious the circumstances are. Convictions for assault come after proof a defendant did any of the following

  1. Deliberately or recklessly causing physical harm to someone else (Class 1 Assault)
  2. Intentionally putting someone in a situation where imminent physical injury is likely (Class 2 Assault)
  3. Touching someone on purpose with the intention of causing injury or insult, or to provoke (Class 3 Assault)

One of the main differences between assault and battery is that an assault charge can be levied on a person even without actual physical contact. For example, trying to punch someone while standing in front of them could result in an assault charge even if you missed hitting them.

What is Battery?

Battery charges are applied if an act of violence was actually followed through on. As a result, charges of battery are taken very seriously by courts in the vast majority of states. Battery will result in criminal charges and will often also lead to a civil case against a defendant.

Battery charges are applied when a defendant

  1. Causes serious injury or disfigurement to someone else
  2. Places someone else in a situation where serious physical harm is imminent with the use of a deadly or dangerous weapon
  3. Assaults a public servant, like a prison guard, teacher, or police officer

Charges of battery can also come about if a victim was restrained while an assault was taking place, or if violence was committed inside the private household of someone else. In Arizona, battery can be charged as a Class 2 to Class 5 felony. This means defendants who are convicted will go to prison, even if it was their first offense.

What Else Should I Know About Assault and Battery?

The two crimes are often lumped together because assault often leads to battery since most people with an intent to harm follow through on their threats in some way. Both assault and battery charges can be enhanced depending on the details of a case. People convicted of ‘domestic battery by strangulation’ can face different or additional punishments because the crime is in a special classification.

Charges of assault or battery are a serious affair. A conviction for either crime can have long-lasting ramifications. An experienced criminal defense attorney will be able to review the details of a case and give legal advice best suited towards your situation. Call us today to schedule your free, confidential legal consultation with a criminal defense attorney.