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What Is an Assault And Battery Charge?

Assault and battery charges may be filed after an altercation depending on the circumstances.
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  • Written By: G. Wiesen
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 14 August 2014
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An assault and battery charge is a legal charge brought against someone accusing that person of both threatening to and committing physical violence on another individual. This is typically a criminal charge, and will often be brought against a person by a state or similar legal authority. It can potentially be coupled with other charges as well, depending on the type of crime someone is accused of committing, such as assault, rape, murder, or similar crimes. This charge is somewhat complicated since the term “assault” in this situation does not necessarily mean the same thing as it does when used alone.

This charge is often a felony and may consist of various degrees, typically established by the laws of the state or region in which it is being charged. Assault and battery, as the name may suggest, consists of two separate but connected charges that constitute a single criminal action. Harassment can often consist of verbal or non-verbal threats made against one person by someone else. Assault, as an individual charge, is the use of a weapon or deadly instrument to cause someone physical harm, often in a way that is permanent or potentially life-threatening.

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When these two actions are combined, the threat of physical violence followed by the actuality of that violence, then an assault and battery charge would be appropriate. Though as a standalone term "assault" indicates a violent physical action, when part of "assault and battery," it refers instead to the threat of physical harm or violence. In this charge, the battery is the actually physical violence or attack, and the assault is the threat to perform such an action. One example would be if someone made a threatening gesture or made verbal threats to physically attack a person, and then did in fact punch, kick, or otherwise attack the individual.

In this scenario, the charge would consist of the assault, which would be the threat made by the person, and the battery, which would be the actual attack. It is typically used to add charges onto someone who is convicted of another crime. For example, threatening taunts or language could constitute harassment, and physical violence would constitute an assault charge. Rather than only have two charges to use against the person accused of the attack, a third charge of assault and battery can be included to increase sentencing or other punishment.

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Discuss this Article

jay01
Post 4

I filed a police report against my brother for verbal abuse and physical abuse.

My brother spit in my face, and kept shoving me, and when I tried to call 911 for help he fought to take the phone from me, leaving gashes of skin off my thumb, which bled profusely. It is now swollen and looks infected.

I also filed charges because he threatened to shoot me in the head as he pointed his finger at my forehead and pretended to shoot a gun. The police officer who took my report stated that the DA's office does not pursue legal action against siblings. This brother has been arrested in the past for assault. What are my options?

I should also mention we are both adults in our late 50s.

gravois
Post 3

What is the difference between assault and battery and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon?

If someone uses a weapon of any kind does the charge immediately become more severe?

Ivan83
Post 2

Can anyone provide statistics on the conviction rates of assault and battery charges? The frequency that a charge ends in a conviction says a lot about the way the law is written and the way that it fits into society.

vigilant
Post 1

Is there the possibility for an assault and battery charge to be levied against anyone that gets in a fight? I have seen more than a few fights in my time, at sporting events, fairs and in bars. In most of the cases I have no idea what happened after the fight had ended. Could all of these people have been charged with assault and battery?

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