Are assault and battery the same thing?

On Behalf of | Nov 14, 2014 | Violent Crimes |

People who are arrested after a fight or altercation can be very upset. These situations often arise when emotions are running high and people are already quite angry or scared, and being put in handcuffs in the back of a police car can only increase the level of agitation.

Another reason that people can be so distraught in this situation is that they may hear police officers list a number of offenses they are being arrested for; if these turn into formal charges, the consequences of potential conviction can be very serious. However, it should be noted that authorities will often arrest or charge people on as many offenses as possible because it could increase the chance of a person pleading guilty or being convicted of at least one. In this post we will explore two offenses that often go hand-in-hand and typically accompany other violent offense charges: assault and battery.

Contrary to what many people may think, assault and battery are two separate offenses. While they are related, they are not the same thing.

Assault refers to an act of threatening or attempting to cause harm or unwanted contact to another person who is in fear of such actions.

Battery is actually hurting or engaging in unwanted contact with another person.

This is why a person charged with battery will also typically be charged with assault. However, the two offenses are still separate and prosecutors will be required to treat them as such. This also means a person can be convicted of one charge and not the other.

Another important distinction between these two offenses is in regards to the penalties of a conviction. On a misdemeanor level, battery and assault convictions can result in the same consequences. However, should the charges be elevated to aggravated offenses, a sentence for a battery conviction will be harsher than an assault conviction.

This is why it can be critical to consult an attorney familiar with violent crime laws in Illinois. In some situations, it is possible to negotiate a plea bargain or challenge a prosecutor’s case in the pursuit of having some or all of the charges reduced or dismissed. Working with an attorney to defend against charges can help people fight to avoid conviction and minimize the chances of being exposed to overly harsh penalties.


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