Powderly Gets Results
  • Armed Assault to Murder
  • Result: Dismissed
  • Breaking & Entering
  • Result: Not Guilty
  • Unarmed Robbery
  • Result: Dismissed
  • OUI 2nd Offense
  • Result: Not Guilty
Powderly Probes Crime Lab
James Powderly on WPRI Channel 12
James Powderly on Digging Deeper
James Powderly on Channel 12
Home  >  Articles  >  The Difference between an Assault and Battery Charge

The Difference between an Assault and Battery Charge

Assault and battery are used interchangeably by many people even though they both carry distinct, albeit similar, legal definitions. Assault is defined as an intentional action that leads a victim to reasonably believe that they are in imminent harm. It does not matter whether physical harm has actually been incurred by the victim, the belief of imminent harm is enough to constitute an assault. Concurrently, battery is defined as an unwarranted and potentially harmful touching of someone else. The touch does not necessarily need to cause injury so long as it was intended to inflict bodily harm. While both these charges are often related to each other, they do mean different things and should not be confused for each other.

Situational Example

Tim and Bob are at a bar when they get into an altercation. Tim angrily raises his fist as if he about to strike Bob. Bob then flinches and covers his face because he believes that he is about to be hit. Tim has just committed an assault. Later, as the altercation escalates and Tim strikes Bob in the face, Tim has committed battery.

While this example does not fully encompass all the factors that go into a legal case, it contains with it everything that needs to be proven for a person to be convicted of either charge.

Contact a Massachusetts Criminal Defense Attorney

If you or someone you love has been charged with either assault or battery, it is imperative that you seek legal counsel as soon as possible. The criminal defense attorneys at James Powderly, understand that there are some situations where emotions can take over and lead to a violent offense. We strive to work with you to create a strong legal defense that will provide the best chance for your individual case. Call our offices today for a free consultation at (508) 343-0676.