Being charged with a crime of assault and battery can be confusing. There are differences in these two crimes, yet they are often combined into one. If you are charged with assault and battery, it is important for you to fully understand the difference between the two charges. Here are three important things to know as you face criminal charges for assault and battery.
What is the difference?
Depending on the state you live in, there is most likely a difference in assault and battery. In most cases, assault is a crime that refers to threatening someone of some type of physical harm. Assaulting a person does not involve actually causing harm to them. Battery, on the other hand, is any type of physical harm done to a person. It does not necessarily have to be violent in nature, but it can be. An example of a non-violent type of battery is sexually groping someone.
They are often categorized together because they tend to occur together; however, you can be charged with one and not the other. For example, if you threatened a person with a gun but did not touch or injure the person, you could be charged with assault only. On the other hand, if you came up behind a person and shot him or her without threatening the person, you could be charged with battery only.
What are the consequences?
Depending on the situation, an assault and battery charge might be considered a misdemeanor. This typically happens if the incident involved assault without battery, and this generally occurs if the accused person did not actually cause harm to the other person. The punishment for a misdemeanor crime like this may be community services or fines.
There are also times when assault and battery charges are considered a felony. If harm occurs from the incident, it will most likely be pursued by the court as a felony charge. Felony charges can result in prison time, fines, and probation. The actual punishment you will get will depend on the severity of the crime and your criminal history.
What defenses can you use?
The most common defense used in assault and battery cases is self-defense. If you injured the other party simply because you were trying to protect yourself, you could use this defense. Defending yourself and others is a right you have, but you will need to prove the other party was going to harm you.
The other common defense people use for fighting assault and battery charges is consent. A consent defense is based on the premise that you and the other party both consented to what happened. This defense is commonly used for sexual assault cases.
After you are charged with this type of crime, the best thing you can do is hire a criminal attorney, such as Dimeo Law Offices. Your attorney will gather the facts and evidence and will help you decide how to handle the charges.