Wednesday, August 6, 2014

101 Things

An Author Needs to Know

About the Police and the Law

What is the difference between
assault and battery?

An assault is an intentional, unlawful threat by word or act to do violence to another.   It must be coupled with the apparent ability to commit the act and in doing so create a fear that violence is imminent.   Need an example?   Pulling a gun in a liquor store.  It is intentional, it is a threat to do violence to another, the perp has the ability to pull the trigger, and it puts one in great fear that violence is imminent.  The gun situation would be assault with a dangerous weapon, which carries an enhanced penalty if proven. 
You can assault someone verbally.  Screaming at a driver during road rage is assault if it puts the person in fear for their safety.  Assault it an arrestable offence. 

A battery is an unlawful touching, a touching against one's will.  You've seen altercations in bars where they start shoving each other?  That's battery.  The woman gets angry and slaps the guy?  That's a battery, but most men won't report it.  Just putting your hands on a police officer will get you a charge of battery on a law enforcement officer also known as
Bat/LEO.  Never touch a cop. 

Assault and battery are generally misdemeanors but a battery becomes a felony with the touching causes serious bodily harm, which generally speaking is defined as any injury that seriously interferes with the person's health or comfort, and that is long-lasting rather than short-lived.  Some examples of this would be: paralysis, loss of limb, loss of functioning limb, broken bones, head, neck and spine injuries, serious cuts or burns, and scarring or disfigurement. 



Tamara said...

I'm having a little trouble deciphering the distincion between an assault and battery when they both cause bodily harm.

Mary Jo said...

I think assault is when the guy says, "I'm going to beat the ..... out of you." And battery is when he goes ahead and does it.

Jody E. Lebel said...

In the law an assault involves no touching. It's a threat by word or act ... like raising a baseball bat at someone and telling them to step closer. Or threatening to kill someone. Let's say you open your door and there's three women who start cursing at you and threatening to cut you if you don't leave their man alone. Call the cops. They have assaulted you. If one of them pushes you or pulls your hair, then they have also battered you.

Jody E. Lebel said...

@Mary Jo. Exactly.

Tamara said...

Clear. Thanks, Jody and Mary Jo. (Make that "distinction" in my previous message.) Also, Jody, isn't it a felony to threaten someone's life?

Jody E. Lebel said...

@Tamara. Things vary from state to state and situation to situation. So you're at a party and a woman comes up to you and says, "I'll kill you if you go near my husband again." And she leaves. Some people might call that an assault. Some people might call that a warning. Some people might call that karma because you're known to mess with other people's husbands. So it's going to depend on the circumstances, the delivery, the reason, the actions, how fearful it made you, how believable it is that she might carry it out, etc. If you did file a complaint that she threatened you, it would most likely get issued as a misdemeanor, and her lawyer probably would get it thrown out. If a man walks into a convenience store and pulls a knife, points it at you, and says, "I'll kill you if you don't open that drawer and give me the cash," then yes, that's going to be upgraded to a felony assault -- with a deadly weapon. So it depends on the degree of violence, the degree of fear, and the state you live in. You or I would probably get away with the first scenario, but we definitely would get arrested in the second.