In most states, an assault/battery is committed when one person: 1) tries to or does physically strike another, or 2) acts in a threatening manner to put another in fear of immediate harm. Many states declare that a more serious assault/battery occurs when one: 1) tries to or does cause severe injury to another, or 2) causes injury through use of a deadly weapon. In some cases, an assault/battery can be pursued via civil laws as opposed to criminal.
The definition of assault varies from state-to-state, but assault is often defined as an attempt to injure someone else, and in some circumstances, can include threats or threatening behavior against others.
A typical definition for battery is the intentional offensive or harmful touching of another person without their consent. Under this general definition, a battery offense requires all of the following:
- intentional touching;
- the touching must be harmful or offensive;
- no consent from the victim.