What Is the Difference Between Assault and Battery?

By Jeff Kennedy

What Is the Difference Between Assault and Battery?

Two of the most commonly interchanged terms when it comes to injury to another person are assault and battery. People usually think they both mean the same thing, but they are quite different under Texas law.

Different acts constitute assault and battery, and both crimes carry different penalties. By understanding the difference between assault and battery, you are better positioned to understand and evaluate your different legal options.

What Is Assault?

Under Texas law, there are three separate definitions for assault. The first is intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causing bodily injury to another, including the person’s spouse. The second definition is intentionally or knowingly threatening another with imminent bodily injury, including the person’s spouse.

Finally, the third definition is intentionally or knowingly causing physical contact with another when the person knows or should reasonably believe the other will regard the contact as offensive or provocative.

They are punished as a felony or as Class A, B, or C misdemeanors, depending on the exact kind of assault committed, considering other circumstances present at the time of the commission.

What Is Battery?

Technically, battery is not a separate crime under Texas law. Rather, what we usually refer to when we say battery is instead prosecuted as a more serious form of assault.

While assault is the technical term that covers both threats and actual physical contact, in practice, assault is reserved for cases where the perpetrator threatens bodily injury. On the other hand, battery is for cases where there is actual physical contact with the victim.

What Are the Main Differences Between Assault and Battery?

The main difference between assault and battery lies in how they are committed. Actions that involve actual physical contact resulting in bodily harm are referred to as battery, but they are prosecuted as assaults.

If you are being prosecuted for an assault, it’s important to know if you are charged with a minor assault threat or actual battery. Regardless of the charge, it’s essential to know the potential outcomes of the charges so you can better assess the different legal options available to you.

Call a Lawyer Today

The consequences of an assault or battery conviction can be devastating. The fines are already financially damaging, and jail time means you lose precious years of your life. All that is in addition to the fact a conviction stays indefinitely on your criminal record, drastically lowering your quality of life even years later.

When it comes to charges for assault and battery, it’s important to establish the best defense right from the start. At The Law Offices of Jeff C. Kennedy, our violent crime lawyers can help ensure that your rights are protected and that you receive the best representation possible.

Protect your future by calling us today at 817-605-1010 or fill out the form below for a free consultation of your case!


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