Charges of assault and battery often confuse people. While the two are similar, the charges can mean different things depending upon the circumstances of the alleged incident. As with all criminal charges, one of the biggest favors defendants can do for themselves is to learn about the specifics of the charges against them. Here are a few important yet basic things to know about assault and battery.
What is the difference?
To put it as simply as possible, assault most often means intentionally harming or attempting to injure another person. Usually, this refers to physical injury but sometimes it can also mean threats or intimidation. Battery, on the other hand, typically means intentionally making physical contact with another person in a harmful or offensive manner without consent.
Obviously, both crimes have a plethora of elements, which prosecutors and judges will take into consideration. For example, battery charges do not necessarily require the "intent to harm" that factor into most assault charges.
Are these charges serious?
Yes, and it is wise not to underestimate either one. In the eyes of the law in Maryland and elsewhere, these are violent crimes and must be approached aggressively. Therefore, it is critical that defendants take the charges seriously, even if they know they have committed no crime. Innocence alone will not guarantee such charges will be dismissed.
What is the first step?
The first thing to do following an assault or battery arrest is to find legal counsel. The best way to clear your name and avoid a conviction is to seek advice from a criminal defense attorney as early as possible.
These are just a few of the basics surrounding an arrest for assault or for battery. You can learn more about these charges by visiting our web page devoted to defense against allegations of violence.