Many people think that assault and battery go hand in hand or even that they’re actually just one criminal charge. However, assault is a separate charge from battery. In fact, a person could be charged with assault without being charged with battery. The reverse isn’t necessarily true though. It’s rare to be charged with battery without also facing an assault charge. Here are the two crimes defined and what your next step should be if you are arrested for assault or assault and battery.

Assault 101

The act of assault isn’t necessarily an act at all. It is simply the threat of physical harm to another person. However, the threat must be sufficient to be considered assault. In order for a defendant to be convicted, it must be proven that the threat of bodily harm or death was so great that it was reasonable for the victim to become very fearful for his or her life and/or safety.

Battery 101

Assault can occur without even touching the victim. But battery is the actual act of doing bodily harm or causing physical damage to that person.

Lawful Violence Defined

For someone to be convicted and found guilty of battery, the violence must have been unlawful. This means that not all violence against another individual is illegal. For example, you may have engaged in lawful violence if you:

  • Defended yourself when someone was attempting to harm you
  • Defended someone else when another person was attempting to harm them
  • Received implied or actual consent from the alleged victim
  • Used violence to stop a progressing crime or to prevent a crime from occurring

What the Prosecution Must Prove in Order for You to Be Found Guilty

The burden of proof lies with the prosecution, as it does in any criminal case in California. In order for a conviction, the prosecutor must prove that:

  • Violence (in the case of battery) or serious threats to the safety of someone else (in the case of assault) occurred
  • That the violence was considered unlawful, either through the intentional application of violence or the reckless disregard for the safety of the victim.

Contact a Sacramento Criminal Defense Lawyer Today

A criminal defense lawyer is your best shot at reducing or dismissing the charges of assault and/or battery. Contact our office today and let us zealously advocate for your rights under the law by calling 916-822-8702.