Assault and battery is a serious term that applies to any situation in which someone fears immediate physical harm, or has actually been physically harmed. However, assault charges and battery charges can also be two separate categories. It’s possible to face an assault charge without a battery charge, and vice versa.

The Legal Dictionary defines assault and battery as an unlawful physically violent act against a person. It can be with or without physical injury, as long as the victim claims fear of injury at some point during the confrontation.

In this equation, assault is considered the threat of harm. No physical contact is required for an assault charge. However, the victim must have reason to believe that they are in immediate danger. This means that you would need to have either the means or the ability to cause bodily harm at the time of the assault. As an example, being armed at the time of the situation could escalate it into an assault.

Battery is the category that actual physical contact or harm falls under. Even if injury is not done, simply touching someone against their permission can be considered battery and may end with you facing the same criminal charges that you would be facing if you hit someone.

Assault and battery charges are usually paired together in courts, as it’s now considered a single crime in many jurisdictions. However, it’s still possible for you to be charged with one or the other instead of both. If you find yourself facing any of these charges, contacting a legal professional to see what your options are may be a step to consider.