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Assault and battery charges can carry stiff penalties

In the wrong circumstances, sometimes even a simple argument or misunderstanding can escalate into a physical confrontation and become a violent crime. Those involved might find themselves facing assault and battery charges.

Differences between assault and battery

Assault and battery are not the same violent crime, but they often wind up paired together. Assault refers to threats of great bodily harm and does not have to involve actual physical contact. So long as the threat is credible and a reasonable person or a jury would agree, then an assault charge will likely stick.

Battery occurs when there is intentional, unwanted contact. Someone who touches another without their consent could be guilty of battery. A battery charge typically occurs when one party becomes angry and initiates violent physical contact against one or more people.

Criminal penalties vary

Despite the differences in action, assault and battery charges can lead to serious charges, including violent felonies, even if no touching occurred.  A minor charge could result in up to a year in jail, while felony charges could lead to years in prison. When facing an assault or a battery charge, the penalties rise quickly if the alleged violent crime rises to aggravated assault or aggravated battery.

No matter the level of your charge, it is wise to seek legal help quickly to ensure that you fully understand the potential consequences, as well as your rights.