Did you know that victims of assault and battery may have a legal right to compensation? In most jurisdictions, assault and battery is a crime committed when a person attempts to physically harm another person, and acts in a way that causes the victim to fear that he or she will be harmed. Many people don’t understand the difference between assault and battery, but the injury lawyers at Westphal Law Group are here to clear things up.

In this blog, we’ll discuss the major differences between assault and battery, as well as some examples of each. If you live near San Bernardino and you’re in need of a personal injury lawyer, contact the experts at Westphal Law Group today.

Assault & Battery: What’s the Difference?

According to historic criminal laws, assault and battery are two crimes that can occur at the same time. An assault is referred to as any intentional act that causes another person to be fearful of immediate harm. This requires the perpetrator to have the ability to carry out his own threat, making the fear valid. No actual physical contact is required in an assault.

Battery is the intentional and offensive physical contact with a victim who has not given their consent to be touched. Simply touching someone without his or her consent could potentially be considered as battery, even if force was not applied. While most assault and battery cases are considered to be a single crime in most jurisdictions, courts can charge perpetrators with separate crimes of assault and battery if they wish to do so.

Assault & Battery Charges You Should Know

Depending on the jurisdiction you live in, the court may use various degrees to classify assault and battery cases. First-degree assault and battery charges are the most severe, and they often include bodily harm to the victim with the use of a weapon. Let’s look at some other ways the court may designate an assault and battery charge below.

A Simple Assault

During this type of assault, there are no weapons used on the victim, and the injuries sustained are normally minor. A simple assault is often classified as a misdemeanor.

Example: Jessica and her friends decide to go to a local bar for a girls’ night out. After a few drinks, Jessica notices that her boyfriend is on the dance floor dancing suggestively with another woman. Furious, Jessica approaches the woman and grabs her by the hair, dragging her to the ground. After a few minutes of scuffling, Jessica’s friend runs over and pulls the two women apart. When the police arrive a few minutes later, Jessica is arrested for simple assault because she used no weapons and her victim only received a few bruises.

Aggravated Assault

An aggravated assault is an assault that is committed with a weapon. This kind of assault may also occur if there has been a threat to commit a serious crime, such as rape. Aggravated assault is also known as a felony.

Example: John and Julie have been married for five years, and they are expecting their first child soon. While out for a nice dinner one evening, Jon runs into one of his ex-girlfriends, who is furious that he is having a child with another woman. Out of rage, John’s ex-girlfriend starts a fight with his pregnant wife. Once a security guard separates the two women and the police arrive, the police learn that Julie is pregnant. This means that she is in a protected class in most jurisdictions. The police decide to arrest the ex-girlfriend and charge her with aggravated assault.

Sexual Assault

This catchall term refers to any act of sexual nature that has been perpetrated on another person without his or her consent. This may include acts of sexual intercourse, touching, and penetration by an object. Sexual assault is a crime of violence, and is a felony.

If you’ve been the victim of sexual assault, you may be eligible for compensation. Contact the personal injury attorneys at Westphal Law Group in San Bernardino to learn more about your rights.

Assault With a Deadly Weapon

As you may have guessed, assault with a deadly weapon is just that: assault with a weapon that can cause serious injury or even death. It’s important to note that guns and knives are not the only things considered to be weapons. In fact, any object can be used on another person to cause serious harm. Assault with a deadly weapon is considered to be a felony.

Assault & Battery Punishments

Depending on the type of assault and battery charge you have, your punishment can vary greatly. More often than not, assault and battery charges range from fines and community service to imprisonment for one year or more. While many first offenders will receive more leniency, repeat offenders tend to face stiffer penalties for their crimes. Most felony assault charges result in prison terms of 5 to 25 years, and most misdemeanor assault and battery charges result in probation, a fine, community service, and imprisonment.

Personal Injury Lawyers in San Bernardino

Whether you’ve been the victim of an assault or battery incident or you’re in need of a personal injury lawyer after a car accident, Westphal Law Group can help. With more than 25 years of experience in the personal injury realm, we’re confident we can help you receive the compensation you deserve. If you’re interested in learning more about our law firm, contact us today!