Assault vs. Battery – The Difference Between

The difference between assault and battery Two criminal charges that can be made when violence is involved in…

The difference between assault and battery

Two criminal charges that can be made when violence is involved in an altercation are assault and battery. Assault refers to a threat of violence being made, but battery refers to actual physical violence that has taken place. Quite often both charges are made against a person simultaneously and sometimes only one charge is made. It depends on the type of threat that is made or the evidence that exists to show that there was physical contact.

What is assault?

Assault is a threat against another person that causes that person to become fearful. This charge is made only in cases where a threat has been issued and there has not been any physical contact. The victim did not sustain any physical harm. At the same time there are different types of assault, such as pointing a weapon at someone, a verbal threat of the possibility of harm in the winter or a threat made when holding an object that could be used as a weapon. Different countries have different types of punishment for assault, but generally it is low grade punishment, such as a fine. This is because there is no evidence of physical harm and it is often difficult to prove that a threat was actually made.

What is battery?

Battery is the next step up from assault where there is physical contact and harm done to a victim. The person who is charged with battery has inflected hurt and bodily damage on another. The injury can be of any type and severity, such as punching with fists, hitting with an object, cutting the skin with a sharp weapon that does have the potential of causing severe or fatal injuries.

The law regarding the charge of battery also extends to touching the clothing of the victim or any part of the victim’s body with the intent to harm. Battery is deliberate contact and the punishment for the crime depends on the severity of the injury inflicted on the victim.


  1. The amount of contact that occurs represents the major difference between assault and battery.
  2. Assault does not involve any physical contact; there is just the threat of harm.
  3. Battery always involves physical contact.
  4. A person charged with battery is also charged with assault, but the reverse is not so.
  5. The punishment for battery is more severe than it is for assault.


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