Defense Against Assault and Battery Charges

Assault and Battery
Battery involves dishing out physical harm to a person or any act of violence that involves physical contact.

An email recently came in through Best Self Defense Weapons Mailbag which reads, “What is assault and battery? What is a good defense in court when charged with assault or battery during self defense?”

Difference Between Assault and Battery

Assault and battery are often interchangeably used due to a little confusion within the common understanding of the two terms. So, first let us differentiate them according to the explanation of Diffen and FindLaw.

Assault and Battery
No physical contact is needed in assault as long as the feeling of fear is instilled in another person’s mind.

Based on common laws, assault is an act of using threat or violence against a person. There is no physical contact necessary to accuse a person of assault as long as the aggressor has inflicted fear or reasonable belief to the other person that he is in danger of being harmed. Merely telling a person to kill him or beat him up and causing him to fear for his safety is enough to get charged with assault.

On the other hand, when an act of violence involves physical contact, that would already constitute battery. Some examples are poking, punching, slapping, kicking and other violent or threatening acts that involve physical contact.

To wrap things out, the purpose of assault is to threaten someone while battery is to cause physical harm to someone.

Defense Against Assault and Battery Charges

The most commonly used defense for assault and battery charges is self defense. When proving that you have only acted in self defense, the following conditions must be present:

1. You are not responsible in creating or escalating the conflict.

2. You have reasonable grounds to fear for your safety.

3. There is no window of opportunity to retreat from the situation without causing harm to yourself.

Recommended Reading

You can also check out our previous article about Using Lethal Force in Self Defense for a quick explanation about the elements of self defense that you can use to defend yourself against charges of assault and battery.


The facts provided here are only based on the author’s thorough research and understanding about the subject. Thus, this article may or may not necessarily result to the success of your defense in court when facing charges of assault and battery. It is strongly advised to seek legal advice from a lawyer when facing such charges to increase your chances of successfully defending yourself in the court of law.

Assault and Battery lawyer
Seek legal advice when charged with assault and battery.

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Sources: Diffen, FindLaw

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