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Keep Your Hands to Yourself: Assault and Battery In Illinois

Posted on in Assault & Battery

assault battery illinoisThe terms “assault” and “battery” are often incorrectly used interchangeably. Although they are often used in conjunction, knowing the distinctions between the two can clarify some misconceptions about the crimes. When determining whether an action constitutes assault, battery, or both, there are three primary things to keep in mind.

#1: Assault occurs when there is no contact, but for a battery, there must be actual physical contact.

The legal definition of “assault” actually includes the term “battery.” The cryptic definition explains assault as putting another in “reasonable apprehension of receiving a battery.” Essentially, this means you know you are about to get hit. You had to “see it coming,” so to speak. Also, the person must have intended to put you in fear of a battery. That simply means that it was not an accident.

Assault does not arise only from hitting. It can come from any unwanted or offensive type of anticipated contact or from an object thrown, shot, or otherwise put into motion by another person. Criminal assault sentences can increase if the act was done in a public place or against certain types of people, such as police officers. This is referred to as aggravated assault.

Battery, on the other hand, requires physical contact. Despite contrary belief, two people do not have to literally “touch” for there to be a battery. You can commit a battery by taking an object from someone’s hand forcibly, throwing something at them that actually hits them, or using a weapon against them. There are criminal provisions that increase sentences for aggravated battery similar to assault.

#2: There can be assault without battery, battery without assault.

These crimes can exist independently of one another, but often they are charged together. For example, if you are hit in the head from behind and you did not see, hear, or know the hit was coming, there was no assault. However, because there was unwanted contact, there is a battery regardless of whether you saw the hit coming. Consequently, if someone who is standing right in front of you hits you, you saw them about to throw a punch, and they actually hit you, they committed both assault and battery. If they simply hit you and you did not perceive it was about to happen, such as in the first example, the person can only be charged with battery.

#3: Do not get criminal assault and battery confused with civil assault and battery. While assault is usually considered less severe than battery since there is no contact, the emotional trauma that can come from reasonably believing you are about to be severely injured cannot be understated. Civil lawsuits are between private citizens to recover for wrongdoing, usually resulting in a financial award. These lawsuits are filed by the victim against the person who committed the assault. Criminal lawsuits are brought against defendants by a city, state, or other municipality where the crime occurred.

What If I’ve Been Charged With Assault or Battery?

Assault and battery are serious crimes with possible severe penalties. If you or someone you know has been charged with a crime, you need experienced Naperville criminal defense attorneys on your side. With our office in Oak Brook, Illinois, our team of knowledgeable attorneys at Kathryn L. Harry & Associates, P.C. are always ready and willing to hear about your case. Please contact our office at 630-472-9700 today.

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