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How are assault and battery different?

It’s common to hear the phrase “assault and battery” used to describe what may be a single criminal incident. However, in Florida law, they’re different things. Both actions involving inappropriately invading the personal space of another person. Both assault and battery may be grounds for legal liability for an offender.

The difference between assault and battery

Battery is unlawful touching. It occurs when one person touches another without their consent. Physical touching can be a battery in any situation where it is unwanted or offensive even when it is not particularly forceful.

Battery may only occur intentionally. If someone trips and falls or if they accidentally touch someone, it doesn’t qualify as assault. Only contact that is purposeful and unwanted is a battery. Assault and battery are both an unlawful invasion of someone’s personal space. However, only battery requires actual contact with the victim.

How does assault differ from battery?

An assault places a person in apprehension of a battery. The assault occurs when the person perceives the possibility of unlawful touching. They must actually have a reasonable belief that the assault is possible or imminent whether or not they are afraid. A person can be responsible for assault even if they never make contact with their victim. Some types of assault may be aggravated.

Assault and battery and the law

It’s important to understand the difference between assault and battery in order to understand your rights. Assault and battery are both civil offenses. A victim may bring a personal injury action based on an assault and battery claim. It’s also possible for an individual to face criminal charges of assault and battery. A person can work with an attorney in order to bring a personal injury claim or defend against criminal charges.