You more than likely have heard the words “assault” and “battery” used in conjunction with each other, but what distinguishes assault and battery from assault or battery on their own? There are important distinctions to be made between the two, but the differences aren’t especially complicated. This is an overview of what makes a crime qualify as both assault and battery.


In the simplest terms, if assault and battery occurs against an individual, the assault will almost always occur before the act of battery. That’s because assault is all about threatening. When someone commits assault, they aren’t necessarily committing a physical act against another person. However, they are giving a reason for the other person to believe they are in danger. The act of assault could be someone telling another person that they are going to harm or kill them, or they could tell that other person something unsettling to intentionally intimidate them.

Types of Assault

There are two types of assault: simple and aggravated.

  • With simple assault, no weapon is used.
  • With aggravated assault, a weapon is used. According to the FBI, there were over 750,000 cases in the U.S. of aggravated assault in 2011 alone.


While the definition of assault is a bit looser, for someone to be charged with battery, they had to have made physical contact with their victim. This can range in severity, but any unwanted or harmful physical contact towards another person can be classified as battery.

  • Unlike assault, however, battery can be committed even if the perpetrator had no intention of causing harm.
  • If their intention was to come in contact with the other person and doing so resulted in bodily harm, then the victim has grounds to claim the perpetrator committed battery against them.

Types of Battery

Like assault, the two types of battery are simple and aggravated.

  • Simple battery is less serious.
  • Aggravated battery involves use of a weapon and can also warrant the label through intent like a racially motivated attack.

Assault and Battery

Now that we’ve explained how both assault and battery are individually classified, it’s time to bring them together and understand how they work in conjunction. The reason why you hear “assault and battery” together so often is because people who make threats of physical harm (assault) are prone to follow up on their promises (battery).

Criminal Charges

The criminal charges for assault and battery depend upon the types of assault and battery as well as the state in which they occurred. Simple assault is generally classified as a misdemeanor, but aggravated assault typically falls under the felony category. The punishment can range from a few months to many years in prison, depending on the severity:

  • Was a deadly weapon employed?
  • How severe were the injuries?

Call Us

If you have been a victim of assault and/or battery, or you have been charged with either of these crimes, give our office a call today. A skilled criminal defense lawyer you rely on will do everything in their power to help you get the compensation that you deserve.