You may think that assault and battery are two words for the same crime. Such, however, is not the case.
FindLaw explains that assault and battery are two different crimes, even though law enforcement officers may well cite you for both if both of them apply, which they often do.
Assault is all about threatening behavior. To convict you of assault, the prosecutor must prove the following:
- That you threatened your alleged victim by your words or actions
- That you intended to put your alleged victim in fear
- That your alleged victim actually did fear for his or her safety or life as a result of your threatening words or actions
Keep in mind that you do not have to cause your alleged victim any actual harm in order to receive an assault conviction. The fact that you put him or her in fear of harm is sufficient.
Battery, on the other hand, is all about making physical contact with your alleged victim. To convict you of battery, the prosecutor must prove the following:
- That you deliberately touched your alleged victim in some manner
- That your alleged victim did not give his or her consent to the touching
- That your alleged victim found the touching objectionable
Your intent, however, is important. If you can prove that you did not intend to touch your alleged victim, but rather touched him or her by accident, the prosecutor cannot convict you. For example, you do not commit battery if you accidentally knock someone over in your haste to get to your intended destination.