What are the Differences Between Assault & Battery?

How many times have you heard someone mention that they or someone else was “arrested for assault and battery”? The way they said it or the scenario they described probably made it sound like “assault and battery” is a single criminal violation. But the truth of the situation is that assault and battery are two related yet separate crimes in Alabama, as well as many other states.

Defining the Violent Crime of Assault

What exactly is the violent crime of assault in Alabama’s criminal code? Put simply, assault is categorized as actually causing physical harm to someone due to an intentional or reckless action. The severity of the injuries suffered by the assault victim will determine the level of crime, ranging from a high level misdemeanor to a high level felony. The introduction or use of a dangerous weapon, such as a firearm or motor vehicle, can also escalate the severity of an assault crime.

Defining the Violent Crime of Battery

If assault is actually hurting someone, what is battery? Criminal codes often describe battery as the attempt to cause someone harm, or the act of threatening someone with harm. Battery charges can escalate depending on the perceived realness of the threat, the intent behind the attempt to inflict injury, the criminal record of the person committing battery, and certain classifications about the battery victim. For example, a strong man weighing 250 pounds angrily threatening a frail, elderly woman may be charged with escalated battery charges due to real danger he created and the harm he could have caused had he taken violent action.

Why Do People Combine Assault & Battery?

Since assault and battery are actually two different crimes, why is it so normal for people to say “assault and battery” together? It really comes down to how violent crimes are typically carried out. It is unusual for someone to inflict harm – commit assault – without first threatening or warning the victim – committing battery. Oppositely, when someone has already made an attempt or threat to hurt someone – committed battery – they will often immediately attempt to cause that harm – commit assault. The end result being that assault and battery are most often said together. In fact, some states do have a single charge for assault and battery.

Have you been charged with assault, battery, or both in Alabama? Tidwell Law Group, LLC and our Birmingham criminal defense attorney can be retained to work on your case and defend your rights in and out of the courtroom. For more than a decade, we have built a reputation for being aggressive in the pursuit of justice and shutting down even the most tenacious of prosecutions. Call 205.800.8596 right now to schedule an initial case evaluation to get started.

Categories: Violent Crimes