WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AN ASSAULT AND A BATTERY?
June 11, 2021
The difference between assault and battery is a matter of intention and whether or not touching occurred. Generally, Nevada defines assault as putting someone in fear and apprehension of physical harm. Battery is defined as unlawful touching (i.e., hitting, kicking, biting, pushing, etc.).
For example, suppose a person unintentionally bumps into another person at a busy supermarket. In that case, they’re not guilty of either assault or battery since there is an expectation that unintentional collisions will occur. However, if that same individual waits for you in a parking lot outside of the grocery store and intentionally bumps into you, that may be considered battery.
Watch this video and keep reading to learn more:
The differences between assault and battery matter a lot in a criminal case. Battery charges typically incur more stringent penalties than assault. However, there are exceptions.
Both assault and battery can be charged as misdemeanors or felonies depending on the case’s circumstances. For instance, a simple assault and battery charge will be punished less harshly than assault and battery with a deadly weapon.
According to NRS 200.481, battery is defined as any intentional and illegal use of force or violence against another individual. It’s important to note that battery is a separate charge from “battery which constitutes domestic violence” (NRS 200.485).
Battery without a deadly weapon or bodily injury is a misdemeanor offense in Nevada.
However, if the act of unlawful touching resulted in bodily injury, involved a dangerous weapon, or was against a protected class (i.e., police officer, medical provider, gaming official, etc.), defendants could face felony charges.
The consequences of battery charges in Nevada depend on the specifics of the alleged crime. Listed below are some of the most common types of battery offenses and correlating punishments in Nevada.
|Battery Offenses in Nevada
|Penalties for Battery
|Battery without a deadly weapon (That does not cause bodily harm or committed by strangulation)
|MisdemeanorUp to 26 weeks in jailMaximum fines of $1,000
|Battery that involves serious injuries or strangulation
|Category C felony Up to five years imprisonment, minimum 1-year Fines up to $10,000
|Battery where the victim belongs to a protected class
|Gross misdemeanor or felony – depending on the chargesLess than a year in jail (if no injuries or strangulation)Between 2 – 15
|Battery With a Deadly Weapon (not involving serious bodily injury or strangulation)
|Category B felony Up to 10 years in prison, minimum 2-yearsUp to $10,000 in fines (if committed outside of police custody, parole, probation, or correctional facility)
|Battery with a deadly weapon involving serious injuries or strangulation
|Category B felonyUp to 15 years imprisonment Up to $10,000 in fines
Nevada defines assault as the unlawful act or attempt at unlawful use of force against another person or causing a “reasonable” fear or apprehension of bodily harm (NRS 200.471). Unlike battery offenses, assault doesn’t require the victim to be touched or physically harmed.
For example, if an individual threatens to “beat up” another person, they can be charged with assault.
How long can you go to jail for assault? That depends on many factors. Continue reading to learn about assault laws and penalties in Nevada.
The consequences for committing assault in Las Vegas (or anywhere else in Nevada) vary depending on how, where, with what, and upon whom the crime was committed. Take a look at the table below.
|Assault Offenses in Nevada
|Penalties For Assault
|Assault without a deadly weapon
|MisdemeanorUp to 26 weeks in jail Potential fines of $1,000
|Assault against a protected class member (not involving a deadly weapon)
|Gross misdemeanorPotentially 1-year in jail Up to $2k in fines
|Assault with a deadly weapon
|Category D felonyMaximum 4-year imprisonment, minimum 1-year in prison Fines up to $5k
Due to the interpersonal nature of assault and battery offenses, many cases are built on faulty evidence, shaky eyewitness testimony, and a lack of credible evidence. With that in mind, there are various potential defenses available, depending on the circumstances.
They include, but are not limited to:
- It was a misunderstanding
- It was an accident
- The assault and/or battery were committed in self-defense
- Falsely accused
- There was no fear of immediate serious injury
Successfully defending against assault and battery allegations can be complex, confusing, and an uphill battle. That’s especially true without an experienced attorney for assault and battery charges in your corner.
Author: Tony Abbatangelo, Esq.
Anthony “Tony” L. Abbatangelo Esq. is a smart, compassionate attorney that knows how to get results and is no stranger to the courtroom. Tony and his team are ready to assist you with your criminal and DUI defense.