Assault and battery are serious crimes in the United States. According to data from the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, over 20 people suffer abuse each minute in the country.
Many people use battery and assault interchangeably. Some people even get disorderly conduct confused with the two. It is vital to understand these key differences.
Disorderly contact is not necessarily violent. People most often face disorderly conduct charges when they act drunk in public. Sometimes it occurs when a person loiters in a place for too long. A person may not necessarily face arrest for this act, but the police can come and put the person in jail until he or she sobers up or is ready to cooperate.
Assault is the act of making another person fear for his or her life. It does not necessarily involve the other person assuming any injuries. For example, threatening to beat someone up can result in arrest and assault charges. However, a person can face aggravated assault charges if the person had a weapon on-hand during the threat. The charges may further increase if the person threatened a police officer or another public official.
Battery is the actual act of harming another person. Both assault and battery charges can either classify as misdemeanor or felony, depending on the circumstances surrounding the event. Although many people receive both assault and battery charges, it is completely possible to receive only one or the other. For instance, a person can threaten someone else without actually following through with it.
A court determines what to charge a person with based on the extent of the injuries or extent of the threat. The range can fall anywhere between being a Class C misdemeanor to a first degree felony. In either situation, it is best to have an experienced attorney to fight the charges tooth and nail.