Assault and battery charges are serious criminal charges. In many situations, these two charges will go hand in hand so it is important for accused individuals to understand what they are. Assault refers to when one party places another party in fear of immediate harm. Battery occurs when one party physically strikes another party.
Assault and battery charges are often lumped together in many states so it is helpful to know the laws in your state. The two have distinct legal distinctions and elements, however, so it is also helpful to know what those are. Generally, assault places the victim in fear of harm and can include threats of harm, while battery charges include causing actual harm to the victims. Assault can also be defined as an attempted battery. The elements of a battery include the intentional touching of the victim that is harmful or offensive without the consent of the victim.
Criminal defense options are available for accused individuals facing assault and battery charges or other criminal charges. A criminal defense strategy may challenge that the elements of the crime being charged have been proven, the behaviors of police or otherwise present an affirmative defense to the charges the accused individual is facing which may vary according to the specific charges.
Whatever criminal charges the accused individual is facing, it is imperative that they are familiar with their criminal defense rights and options. The criminal justice system provides layers of protections for accused individuals so it is essential for them to be aware of what those are and how they provide important protections for individuals accused of committing a crime such as assault and battery.