Assault and Battery charges vary significantly depending on the laws of the state where you live. Charges can range from misdemeanor simple assault to serious felonies like aggravated assault and battery with a deadly weapon.

  • Simple Assault – A simple assault may mean any attempt or threat to injure another person. You do not even have to strike, touch, or make contact with a person to be charged and convicted of simple assault. Typically a misdemeanor.
  • Negligent Assault – An assault charge that may not be deliberate, but reckless or accidental. Some states have a negligent assault law, while others charge this as endangerment or reckless endangerment (see below).
  • Aggravated Assault – An assault charge with aggravating factors making it more serious. Aggravating factors could be use of a weapon, or the nature and magnitude of the threat of harm. Typically a felony.
  • Assault Causing Serious Bodily Injury – Statutes in some states specify the nature of more serious assault, when they result in significant injury or harm. Definitions of the harm vary, but often include permanent disfigurement or substantial pain and injury.
  • Assault with a Deadly Weapon – An assault with a weapon that could cause deadly harm. This could be a blunt instrument, bat, club, a knife, or even a car or automobile driven carelessly or dangerously near someone.
  • Assault with a Firearm – Some states like California make a distinction guns/firearms and other types of deadly weapons. In California, assault with a firearm doesn’t require an implicit threat with a firearm, just having a gun on your person while committing an assault.
  • Assault with Intent to Murder – Sometimes called attempted murder, or attempted manslaughter, an assault that could result in death is a felony offense.
  • Felony Assault – A felony assault charge might be any combination of aggravating factors in an  assault case. Assault with a dangerous or deadly weapon, Assault on a Police officer, an officer of the court or a public servant, assault on a child, or assault on the elderly or disabled.
  • Simple Battery – The lowest form of a battery charge. Some harm or violent force was used, but it may not have been severe or life threatening. Typically a misdemeanor offense.
  • Aggravated Battery – A more serious felony battery charge, typically resulting from more severe or serious injury.
  • Consensual Altercation – This is a specific law for a fight where both parties are willing participants. It’s a unique criminal charge in Utah that is a subset of their assault statute. However, it is not a legal defense to enter into an assault or consensual altercation as a willing participant.
  • Unlawful Contact – Some states have a specific misdemeanor statute for physical contact that doesn’t involve any injury.

Domestic Assault and Battery

Most states have different laws for assault and battery cases between domestic relations. That domestic relationship could be husband and wife, father and son, mother and daughter, boyfriend/girlfriend, roommates, or other specific relationships defined in the state statutes.

In some cases, the type of incident is identical, but the penalties may be more severe if there is a domestic relationship as defined by the law.

And how they are prosecuted (often more aggressively) and sentenced can be different. They can also result in additional civil court proceedings, including restraining orders of protection orders.

Any domestic assault or domestic battery charge is likely to be an even more complicated legal problem because of these factors, so it is best to aggressively pursue your defense of such charges as quickly as possible.

Related Charges

Charges that are related to assault include endangerment, reckless endangerment, threatening, intimidation, and terrorist threats.

Endangerment and reckless endangerment are offenses where there is a threat of physical violence, injury or damage, but not deliberately.

The threat of harm may be through carelessness, indifference, negligence, or recklessness.

Note: An assault charge can sometimes be reduced to a misdemeanor endangerment charge as part of a plea bargain.

Threatening, Intimidation, or Terroristic Threats is a similar charge, but usually with the immediacy of an assault or endangerment offense.

You can commit a threatening or intimidation offense over the phone or by email or text. It is a threat to harm in the near future for any purpose.

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