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Battery exists in both the tort law context and the criminal law context. In tort law, assault is considered an intentional tort.


1.  In criminal law, this is a physical act that results in harmful or offensive contact with another person without that person's consent.

2.  In tort law, the intentional causation of harmful or offensive contact with another's person without that person's consent.  

Assault and Battery

In an act of physical violence by one person against another, "assault" is usually paired with battery. In an act of physical violence, assault refers to the act which causes the victim to apprehend imminent physical harm, while battery refers to the actual act causing the physical harm. 

Criminal Law

Criminal law statutes will sometimes merge the two terms of "assault" and "battery" into the one crime of "assault."

Aggravated Battery

Aggravated battery is battery which involves an aggravating circumstance. Liability and sentencing for aggravated battery is typically harsher than that for regular battery.

Prima Facie Case

The prima facie case for battery contains 4 components:

  1. The defendant acts
  2. The defendant intends to cause contact with the victim
  3. The defendant's contact with the victim is harmful or offensive
  4. The defendant's contact causes the victim to suffer a contact that is harmful or offensive

Further Reading 

For more on battery, see this American University Law Review article, this University of Berkeley Law Review article, and this Harvard Law Review article