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Differences Between Assault & Battery Charges

Reading police reports in the paper or watching the nightly news will probably expose you to stories of assault and battery crimes. Sometimes called A&B, these two crimes are often considered the most common of all violent crimes. They occur together so frequently that many people are not even aware that assault and battery can actually be two separate crimes. So what is the difference between them?

Understanding Assault Charges

Assault is not actually a physical act. Rather, it is the intentional display, language, or conduct that leads a reasonable person to fear for their wellbeing. For example, if you were holding a baseball at someone and told them to run away in a menacing tone, you would be committing assault. Inversely, if you were just walking down the street with a baseball bat, minding your own business, no one would be able to label you as a threat, even if you had a criminal history of violence.

Understanding Battery Charges

In some ways, battery is when assault is taken a step further and physical contact actually comes into play. Striking someone with intent to hurt – even if it does not cause harm – will be considered battery, a serious criminal offense. Due to the nature of battery, it is difficult to be charged with it without also being charged for assault. One would have to strike someone else without warning to argue that there was battery with no assault.

This is how assault and battery come to be charged together so often. If someone intends to hit someone, they usually do, and if someone hits someone, they usually make their intent clear ahead of time.

If you have been charged with assault, battery, or assault and battery, you need to know that you might be facing serious consequences, such as prison time, high fines, and restitution to the alleged victim. Let a Sonoma County criminal defense lawyer at the Law Offices of Evan E. Zelig, P.C. come to your defense. Our Santa Rosa criminal defense attorney has handled thousands of cases just like yours, and can fight for a reduced sentence or total dismissal on your behalf.


Call (707) 418-5352 today for more information about how we can help you!