Confusion often occurs when defining assault and battery, as the two are often used together and are assumed to mean the same thing. However, the difference between assault and battery is quite simple.

Assault is an action that may inflict injury upon someone, such as a threat, or the raising of a fist or weapon, while
Battery is the actual, physical infliction of injury.

When faced with a charge of assault or battery, there are many defenses that can be raised. These include:

  • An inability to inflict damage or injury. In California, in order for a claim of assault to be considered valid, one must have been physically capable of inflicting force or injury upon the victim. If you are physically unable (handicapped, etc) or physically separated (swung a punch from the other side of the room)
  • Acting in defense of self or others is another strong defense, provided that these main criteria are met: You must have reasonable belief that you or another are in danger, you must have the belief that force was necessary to remove that danger, and you must not have used more force than reasonably necessary given the situation.
  • You did not act with intent. This can be due to accidents, or the simple misinterpretation of actions.
  • False accusations can easily occur, due to the fact that no physical injury or harm is necessary to classify an assault. These charges of, like actions without intent, are relatively easy to resolve with a skilled defense attorney.

Types of Assault and Battery

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