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.
See, e.g. Claggett v. State, 670 A.2d 1002 (Md. Ct. Spec. App. 1996).
Definition from Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary
The combination of two crimes, of threat (assault) and actual beating (battery). Victims can also sue in a civil suit for the damages suffered as a result of the attack.
Definition provided by Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary.
August 19, 2010, 5:11 pm