Imagine that you are watching a popular crime drama. You might hear the sentence: “You are under arrest for assault and battery.” In fact, popular shows throw this phrase around so often and so casually that people are unaware that in most states these are two completely separate crimes.
Georgia is one such state that marks assault and battery as distinct. According to FindLaw, the best way to differentiate between assault and battery is to think of assault as an attempt at battery.
What is assault?
Assault involves attempting to injure somebody else, and it can include threats or threatening behavior toward other people. There is no contact necessary for an assault charge to stick. For instance, assume an individual is waving around a baseball bat and is threatening another person with it. That person is likely to believe that the first individual will try to hurt them with the baseball bat.
This would result in an assault charge if the first individual does not make contact with the second. Threats can result in assault charges, but not battery.
What is battery?
Battery is when an individual imposes unwanted intentional offensive or harmful touching on another person. For instance, if the above individual with the bat hit the second person with it, then the first person would be guilty of both assault and battery.
However, “touching” can also involve acts such as spitting. The act does not need to be violent in order to be battery. Additionally, the victim does not need to sustain injury or harm for a battery charge to hold.