Assault and battery are very serious crimes that are perpetrated by at least one individual against at least one other individual. Although they are often lumped together as charges, assault and battery occur through different methods. The first, assault, is committed when one actor acts in such a way as to create an atmosphere of imminent apprehension for another actor that there is the likelihood of being harmed. This creation of apprehension must be accompanied by the present physically ability of the first actor to actually cause harm to befall the second actor. In other words, assault is the intent to cause harm, and it must be accompanies by the ability to cause that harm.
If you have been assaulted and battered, you will need to work through the criminal court system to bring your attacker to justice. In addition, your attacker may also be civilly liable for your assault and battery. Within criminal law, the extent of the harm caused or the harm that was intended to be caused can determine whether the case will proceed as a felony or a misdemeanor. Generally, if the assault and battery occurred during the commission of another crime, such as a robbery, or a rape or murder, it will be charged as a felony. If the assault and battery is found to be less grave in nature or was committed outside of the realm of another crime, it may proceed as a misdemeanor.
There are several defenses that can be used against a charge of assault and battery. They include self-defense, the defense of property, and the defense of another individual or group of individuals. In addition, people within certain professions, such as police officers, cannot be charged with assault and battery if harm is caused while they are performing the natural and normal duties of their job. When someone is found guilty of assault and battery, their punishment could include a fine and a jail term that could range from very short to much longer in length.
If you or someone you know has been charged with assault and battery, or another serious criminal offense, it important to consult with an attorney as soon as possible.