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Are assault and battery the same thing?

If you have been charged with assault and battery in Illinois, you may think that officers allege you committed one crime. Actually, as FindLaw explains, assault and battery, while similar, constitute two separate crimes

Naturally the prosecutor must prove that you intended to commit both crimes in order to convict you of them, but in addition to intent, (s)he must prove other things for each crime.

Assault

What you may not realize is that you need not have actually hurt someone in order to receive an assault conviction. You merely needed to have the intent to threaten or hurt your alleged victim. If (s)he feared for his or her safety because of your threatening words or menacing actions, you assaulted him or her.

Under ordinary circumstances, words alone do not constitute an assault. You must also act. For instance, shouting or cursing at your alleged victim may represent a sufficient act to convict you of assault. So can brandishing a weapon at your alleged victim or moving toward him or her in a threatening manner.

Battery

An assault becomes a battery if and when you deliberately touch your alleged intended victim without his or her consent. It does not make any difference whether or not you intended to harm him or her by the touching. The unsolicited and offensive touching alone represents the battery.

Assault and/or battery charges usually result from arguments or fights that get out of hand, especially when they occur in a bar. Your best strategy therefore is to always rein in your temper as much as possible when you believe that someone is baiting or challenging you. Naturally you do not have to submit yourself to someone else’s verbal assault, but neither should you commit one yourself, let alone a battery.

This is general educational information and not intended to provide legal advice.

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