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.
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.