Assault and battery are two separate offenses but are usually used together when filing a charge against someone who has committed a crime that warrants it. In some states, assault and battery are considered separate offenses as assault is not considered an actual violence rather, it is a threatened violence. In most states though, assault and battery are immediately charged together to someone who has intentionally harmed a person because it is considered a given that before the battery occurred, a threatening behavior which is considered assault, has already been committed.
Assault is defined by the law differently in different states but generally it is defined as the attempt to harm another person through deliberate aggressive behavior. Battery on the other hand, is defined as the intentional, unwarranted touching of another person to harm him or her. Cmcdefense.com provides in-depth info on the difference between assault and battery.
Assault: Degrees and Punishment
For an assault to qualify as a first degree or aggravated assault, a deadly weapon intended to be used to cause fear for a serious harm against one’s person is necessary. It is considered a felony and once proven guilty, you can be punished from one to twenty years, depending on the state.
Second degree assault is when you “knowingly” instill fear of bodily harm to a person with the use of deadly weapon. Like the first degree assault, it also a felony and therefore can result to imprisonment from 1 to 20 years.
Third degree assault is when you “recklessly” instill fear of serious bodily harm to someone or fear of getting injured using a deadly weapon. In some states, it is considered class A misdemeanor but can also be a felony in some circumstances. For example, assaulting a police officer, an intimate partner and/or assault towards a minor is immediately considered a felony. Third degree misdemeanor assault can be punished by fines (as much as $1000) and imprisonment of not more than a year.
Assault and Battery: Possible Defenses
If and when you are charged with assault and battery, there is hope for you. There are possible defenses to this case.
- Consent – Many states are still debating whether consent can even be used as a defense, however, some states do consider consent as a defense. Consent is when both persons involved agreed to the circumstance. This would indicate that assault and battery was not one-sided.
- Self-defense – It is given that a certain degree of force may be used if you feel that you are in imminent harm. A jury will decide whether the self defense is valid depending on the circumstances of the case.
- Defense of Others – To help a person you feel or perceive to be in harm’s way can be a valid defense if the person who helped is not at fault in the initial problem.
- Defense of Property – A person can use a non-fatal force to defend his/her property. The right to self-defense however is more lenient than defense to property since a human life is always more valuable than the value of any property.
It is important to find an expert lawyer on this field in order give a proper defense since circumstances vary in every case and states has different laws as well.