Assault vs. Battery: Are They the Same Crime?

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Assault vs. Battery: Are They the Same Crime?

Although both assault and battery involve the intent to harm another person, they’re not the same crime. These crimes are, however, frequently charged together. In Arizona, battery is actually considered aggravated assault. In this post, we explain the differences between assault vs. battery and the consequences of a conviction.

Understanding Assault vs. Battery in Arizona

What Is Assault?

When someone intends to physically harm someone else, they can be charged with assault. Assault can be charged as a class 1, 2, or 3 misdemeanor in Arizona. This means you could face up to 6 months in jail and $2,500 in fines, depending on the charge.

Typically, assault includes acts like rudely or offensively touching another person with the intent to injure or provoke them. But you can be charged with assault even when there is no physical contact. 

In fact, the act of threatening someone with physical harm can be considered an assault. For example, if you take a swing at someone and miss, you can still be charged with assault even though you didn’t actually punch them. 

What Is Battery?

In Arizona, battery is charged as “aggravated assault” and typically involves the use of force or violence. The main difference between assault and battery is that battery only occurs when there is physical contact. And just like assault, there must be intent to cause harm to another person. 

Arizona classifies aggravated assault as a felony, so battery is punished more severely than simple assault. Examples of aggravated assault can include:

  • Causing serious injury to the victim
  • Using a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument to threaten or harm another person
  • Committing an assault on someone who is physically restrained
  • Committing assault after entering a private home with the intent to inflict harm

Aggravated assault can be charged as a class 2, 3, 4, or 6 felony, depending on the circumstances. For instance, knowingly assaulting a public servant is a class 6 felony, while using a deadly weapon is a class 3 dangerous felony. 

A felony charge can earn you anywhere between 1 and 21 years in prison for a first-time offense, depending on the circumstances of the crime. 

In some cases, battery or aggravated assault can be justified. However, there is no guarantee that the charges will be reduced or dropped in these circumstances. Examples of a justified assault include:

  • Self-defense: for instance, someone tries to punch you without provocation, and you defend yourself.
  • Defense of another person or personal property: for example, someone harasses your partner or tries to steal your property and you assault them in defense. 

Criminal Defense Lawyer in Scottsdale, Arizona

If you’ve been charged with assault or aggravated assault in Arizona, you’ll need an experienced criminal defense lawyer on your side. The dedicated attorneys at Van Norman Law can help you understand your charges and build a strong defense for your case. 

If you need a dedicated defense lawyer on your side, call us at 480-481-0616 to schedule a free consultation. 


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