Illinois Criminal Defense Blog

Monday, October 5, 2015

What's the Difference Between Assault and Battery?

If you’re like many people, you’ve heard the terms assault and battery used interchangeably. They’re often used together, too (especially on crime shows), so it can be confusing to determine which term means what.

The Difference Between Assault and Battery Under Illinois Law

Assault and battery are two separate offenses, and they’re classified according to severity just like other offenses are.

Assault Under Illinois Law

Assault is defined as “conduct which places another in reasonable apprehension of receiving a battery.”

Battery Under Illinois Law

Battery is defined as conduct that causes bodily harm to another person or insulting, provocative or unwanted physical contact with another person.

Assault and Battery: Related, but Not the Same

Although assault and battery can go hand-in-hand, a person can be guilty of one and not the other.

For example, you can commit assault without following through and committing battery; likewise, you can commit battery without ever having committed assault.

Common Defenses to Battery Charges

Sometimes battery is permitted under Illinois law, such as when:

  • It occurs during self-defense or defense of someone else
  • It happens because you’re defending property
  • The victim consented to the contact

In order for a prosecutor to prove a battery charge, the defendant must have engaged in conduct that caused bodily harm to another person or physically contacted someone in an insulting, provocative, or unwanted way.

Consequences of Assault and Battery

If a judge convicts you of assault or battery, you could spend time in jail, pay large fines, or both. A judge could also order you to perform community service.

Some types of assault are misdemeanors, while others are felonies. The same goes for battery. Naturally, felony consequences are more severe than misdemeanor consequences are. In fact, if you’re convicted of a felony, you could spend between 1 and 3 years in prison, receive a fine of up to $25,000, or both. Further, if you have prior convictions for the same crime, the state may be able to increase the term of your imprisonment.

Were You Charged With Assault, Battery, or Both?

If you’ve been charged with assault, battery, or both, it might be a good idea to call a Chicago criminal defense lawyer who can help.

You can call us at 847-920-4540 or get in touch with us online if you need to discuss your case with an attorney. We may be able to defend you against assault and battery charges in Chicago, Skokie, Rolling Meadows or Schaumburg.


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