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Assault and Battery: What is the Difference?

 Posted on November 13, 2014 in Assault & Battery

You have probably heard it dozens of times on the news. Mr. John Doe has been charged with assault and battery following his arrest last night. Sometimes you may hear of a suspect being charged with simple assault with no mention of battery. It can seem very confusing but if you or someone you love is the one facing the charges, knowing the difference between the two can be extremely helpful to your case.

Based on the law’s definition of the terms, it makes more sense to start with what constitutes battery. According to the Illinois Criminal Code of 2012, a person commits battery if he or she knowingly without legal justification by any means (1) causes bodily harm to an individual or (2) makes physical contact of an insulting or provoking nature with an individual. Any charge of battery must be shown to have been intentional, and the insulting or provoking nature clause allows for a more open interpretation than bodily harm."

The law also includes a number of factors that can change simple battery to aggravated battery, which the state considers a felony. These factors include, among others, the level of harm caused, the age, physical condition, or disability of the victim, and the use of a firearm. Battery which it committed against a family or household member is known as domestic battery, and also may be considered a felony based on the situation.

Assault, by comparison, is defined as intentional conduct which places another in reasonable apprehension of receiving a battery without lawful authority. In essence, assault is the threat of battery, as provided by law. Similar considerations are set forth in the Code which can elevate assault to elevated assault, again, carrying more severe penalties. Location, status of the victim, and the use of a firearm may contribute to a charge of aggravated assault.

It is important to keep in mind that actions determined to be legally justified may not be considered battery. Legal justifications can include self-defense, defense of another person, defense of property, or that the contact was made with the consent of the victim. Proving legal justification would be the responsibility of the defense attorney and is entirely dependent on the specific circumstances of the case.

If you or a family member has been charged with assault or battery, you need an experienced DuPage County criminal defense attorney on your side. Contact the offices of Stephen A. Brundage today. We will review your case and make sure you get the help you need throughout the legal process.

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