Facing a charge of committing a violent crime can be overwhelming. Such charges have different names that may sound to you like they mean the same thing. Adding to the confusion is the fact that many people use these terms interchangeably.
Understanding the charges you face is key to knowing how serious the consequences can be. Rasmussen University describes the differences between three of the most commonly confused charges: battery, assault and aggravated assault.
Battery involves making unlawful physical contact with another person. For example, if you were to punch or kick somebody, you could face battery charges, regardless of whether an injury actually occurred. Depending on the seriousness of the criminal conduct, a charge of battery can be either a misdemeanor or a felony.
An assault is an attempt or a threat to commit battery. If the attempt is successful, you could face charges of both assault and battery. However, even if you did not make physical contact and no battery took place, you could still be charged in court with assault.
Because assault and battery often take place together, it is easy to confuse the two. Remember that a charge of battery requires that actual physical contact take place, while assault does not.
While simple assault is usually a misdemeanor, aggravated assault is a more serious offense, typically triggering a felony charge. You could face an aggravated assault charge if certain factors are present to make the offense more serious than a simple assault. Examples of possible aggravating factors include the age or status of the alleged victim or the use of a weapon.
The consequences of any of these violent offenses can be very serious. If you are facing a charge of assault, battery or aggravated assault, you should contact an experienced criminal defense attorney.