What is the difference between a California Battery charge and an Assault charge?

Many people mistakenly assume that an charges for assault and battery go hand in hand. While it is true that many offenses involving assault may also involve battery, the two are not always found together. Assault is a threat of bodily harm that results in fear of bodily harm in the victim. Battery is when actual physical contact results.

Lets say that Person A says to Person B; ” I am going to find you and kill you”. If this causes a reasonable fear in Person B that Person A was actually going to find them and kill them, then there is a case for assault. It is not necessary that Person A actually find Person B and kill them, just the fact that they have threatened to do so. It is also important to note that there must be a reasonable fear that the threat will actually be carried out. If your friend jokingly says to you that they are going to “kill you” and you know they are joking and have no intention in carrying out their words, there is no assault.

Now lets say that Person A actually finds Person B and attempts to kill them but only physically injures them. Person A may be charged with no only assault, but also battery. If Person A never threatened Person B, but found them and attempted to kill them resulting in physical injuries, then Person A may only be charged with battery but not assault.

The consequences for each are different but should be taken seriously just the same. An assault and/or battery charge is serious and should be avoided if at all possible. An experienced Los Angeles Criminal Defense attorney has handled thousands of these cases and knows the intricacies of each charge and what they entail. The attorneys at Hoffman and Associates strive to reduce all charges and get you the best possible outcome.