Assault and Battery

Definition

Although colloquially used interchangeably, in many jurisdictions, assault and battery are distinct crimes. In such jurisdictions, assault (also called attempted battery) is a threat or physical act that creates a reasonable apprehension of imminent harmful or offensive contact, whereas battery is a physical act that results in that harmful or offensive contact. Assault is a lesser included offense of battery, meaning that assault merges into battery and that a defendant may be punished for one but not both crimes.  

Illustrative case law

See, e.g. Claggett v. State, 670 A.2d 1002 (Md. Ct. Spec. App. 1996).

See also