Assault and battery are two distinct, separate kinds of violent crimes. They are both serious convictions, and they require assistance from a violent crimes defense lawyer in California.
If you are facing assault or battery charges, or both, it’s important to hire a lawyer who can help you fight back against the charges and protect your rights.
What are Violent Crimes?
Violent crimes can generally be defined as crimes that cause harm to another person or property. They run the gamut from battery to arson. Aggravated assault, murder, robbery, and rape are some of the primary categories.
They include property crimes, sexual crimes, and domestic abuse. Assault vs. battery is often confused or considered the same, but once you learn the difference, it will be easy to tell them apart.
Assault and battery are two of the most common violent crimes. If someone communicates a threat of harm, that is an assault. On the other hand, if someone commits a harmful, violent act, that is a battery.
What You Need to Know About Assault
Assault is one of the most common violent crimes, but it’s often misunderstood. Rather than describing physical harm, assault is a crime that includes the threat of violence or physical harm.
Adding a weapon into the mix complicates an assault case. Possession of weapons during the incident can be considered an aggravated assault case.
In order for something to qualify as assault, the prosecution must prove the following two elements, that there was an act and that there was a specific intent. Although there is generally no physical harm to this crime, it can still carry potential jail time and an array of penalties, including fines.
Most legal defense approaches will focus on proving that one or both of these are absent, meaning that there was no crime committed. Here are the main components needed for any assault charge:
Assault: Act Requirement
When describing assault, it’s important to mention the specific act. Although there’s no bodily injury or actual injury involved in an assault, it is a deliberate action.
It includes any action that directly causes a person to fear for their safety. Assault can be meant as a threat to someone, or it can be a genuine, unsuccessful attempt to harm them.
It’s important to note that words alone don’t constitute assault. There must be some kind of physical action accompanying them for something to qualify as assault.
Assault: Intent Requirement
In order for an act to be considered assault, there also needs to be a specific intent behind it. The act of assault must have been intentional rather than accidental.
For example, accidentally or unintentionally scaring someone does not count as assault. If you swing a bat or other potential weapon around and someone witnesses it and feels threatened, that does not constitute an assault because there was no intention behind it.
Basic assault is simply any attempt at an unlawful touch.
What You Need to Know About Battery
Battery is the counterpart to assault. In order for something to be classified as a battery, there must be physical contact. It includes any form of offensive or otherwise harmful physical contact.
It’s easy to remember the difference between battery and assault if you think of a battery as a way for someone to complete the act they threatened during the assault. Instead of the fear of harm, battery focuses on the actual harm. That’s the main difference between assault and battery in a nutshell.
An attorney seeking to provide a legal justification for an incident will often argue that there the defendant acted in self-defense or that no touch occurred. The best legal strategy depends on the situation.
A battery can be a serious crime. It may be treated as a misdemeanor or a felony based on numerous factors. Misdemeanor penalties are not as serious, so any criminal defense law firm will push to have it described as a misdemeanor instead.
Battery – Act Requirement
If you have been accused of battery, the burden of proof lies on the prosecution to prove the act occurred.
While we might think of battery as violent acts like punches and kicks, it also includes any unwanted touches that are offensive to the recipient. The victim doesn’t need to be injured in order for something to count as a battery, simple touching counts. There’s no need for a broken bone or bruise as proof of the incident.
When a police officer is involved, for example, poking someone with a finger can count as a battery. Spitting on someone also counts as a form of battery.
Battery: Intent Requirement
An essential aspect of any battery conviction is the intent, and accidental unwanted touches do not constitute one. Bumping into someone or knocking them over by accident doesn’t count.
The intent to harm the victim is not a necessary component. However, the defendant must have had the intent to achieve physical contact with the alleged victim. That means accidental touching never counts as a battery.
Another component is the lack of consent from the victim. The person committing the battery must intentionally be touching the victim in order to cause them distress or offend them somehow.
In short, battery includes a wide range of intentional offensive touches, from a punch in the face to the touch on the arm.
Charged With Assault or Battery? Choose LibertyBell Law Group to Represent You!
If you have been accused of assault and battery, you need an expert on your side. A violent crimes defense lawyer in California from our team can help you navigate this stressful, confusing time.
Our team of criminal defense lawyers works hard to help all clients avoid time in jail. We’re skilled at negotiating plea deals and helping clients avoid jail time.
To schedule an initial consultation and get started planning your case, contact us at 877-545-3559 at LibertyBell Law Group today!
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