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The difference between assault and battery

On Behalf of | Nov 23, 2021 | Criminal Defense |

The concepts of assault and battery are usually considered together because one often leads to the other. They are different legal issues, however. Assault charges arise from a wide range of scenarios, but battery requires malevolent action for charges to be valid. Criminal defense attorneys in Florida understand this difference well, but the court system may be quick to apply both charges when assault might be the only one that actually applies when all material evidence is evaluated by the court.

Criminal assault

Assault charges are commonly applied even in minimal contact situations such as personal confrontations. The bar is relatively low regarding what constitutes an assault. Fourth-degree assault can be filed even as a result of verbal exchange. These are technical cases that might be dismissed by mounting a defense after discussions between attorneys and the prosecutor. Deferred judgments are not uncommon in a simple assault case when there is no charge of dismissal, but protection orders could be issued by the court.


Actual battery involves an assailant putting their hands on another individual in some fashion. This can range from shoving someone to a physical attack. The degree of criminal behavior depends largely on the material case evidence and details of how the attack progressed. It is also important to note that battery charges do not require a victim to be injured even though many battery cases do result in personal injury lawsuits.

Intent to harm is part of the determination for the battery as well, especially when an observant party attempts to intervene. Lack of intent is a common defense argument for a battery charge.

These are the basic differences between assault and battery. Prosecutors must evaluate what they think happened based on the provided evidence, which does not always result in a clear picture when assessing criminal behavior.