The Main Difference between Assault and Battery

difference between assault and batterPhysical altercations like bar fights can contribute to various types of criminal charges. Assault and battery are quite common in such instances but do you know what the difference between the two is?

How Does Arizona Law Define Assault?

A.R.S. 13-1203 defines assault as intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causing physical injury to another person. There are two other possible ways in which a person can commit assault – intentionally putting another person at risk of physical injury and knowingly touching another person with the intent to injure them.

The term physical injury is legally defined as causing the impairment of someone’s physical condition.

In Arizona, there’s also a criminal offense known as aggravated assault.

A person commits aggravated assault by doing one of the things defined as assault in A.R.S. 13-1203 under a specific set of circumstances:

  • Whenever serious physical injury is caused to another person
  • Whenever a deadly weapon is used
  • If the assault causes substantial disfigurement, temporary loss or impairment of a bodily organ
  • Whenever the victim is bound or physically restrained
  • If a person enters the home of somebody else for the purpose of committing assault
  • If a person is aged 18 or older and the victim is a minor
  • Whenever the assault is committed against a peace officer, a constable, a firefighter, a teacher, a health care practitioner, a prosecutor

Assault will usually lead to Class 1 to Class 3 misdemeanor charges. A Class 3 misdemeanor occurs whenever a person touches somebody else knowingly and with the intent to injury or insult them. Shoving someone to start a fight in the bar example above will be assault that can lead to Class 3 misdemeanor charges.

Intentionally causing physical injury or placing someone else in harm’s way will be a Class 1 or a Class 2 misdemeanor, depending on the circumstances.

Aggravated assault is a Class 2 to Class 5 felony, depending on the circumstances. A first-time assault offender will face anywhere between probation and six months in jail. In the case of aggravated assault, there could be a prison sentence of up to 15 years.

How Does Arizona Define Battery?

An act of violence that is followed through on will be classified as battery in Arizona.

Assault is very often linked to battery. The intent to harm someone can continue to a person actually using physical violence. Battery charges are taken very seriously and the penalties can be massive.

A person can be charged with battery whenever they:

  • Cause serious bodily injury or disfigurement to another person
  • Use a deadly weapon, creating a situation of imminent physical harm
  • Assault a public servant

Thus, the contact with another person will have to be substantial and very harmful for the perpetrator to be charged with battery. As you’ve probably gathered already, the crime of battery is known as aggravated assault in Arizona.

You’ve already seen in the section above that a first time aggravated assault charge can have serious consequences. People who already have a criminal record and who have committed aggravated assault in the past can anticipate even more serious sanctions.

A repeat offender faces anywhere between 10 and 20 years in prison. Someone who is committing aggravated assault for the third time can receive a prison sentence of up to 25 years.

Both assault and aggravated assault are serious crimes that will be prosecuted vehemently. Keep in mind that such crimes can also lead to civil lawsuits on behalf of the victim or their family. Through such legal actions, they will pursue compensation for the pain and suffering resulting from the physical altercation.

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