Assault and Battery Law & Legal Definition


An assault is any unlawful attempt or offer with force or violence to do bodily harm to another, whether from ill will or extreme carelessness; for example, by striking at or holding up the fist at a person in a threatening or insulting manner, or with other circumstances that evidence an intention, coupled with a present ability, of actual violence against the person, such as by pointing a weapon at him when he is within reach of it. When the injury is actually inflicted, it amounts to a battery.

Assault and battery is the combination of the crimes of threat (assault) and actual beating (battery).
An assault is:

  1. An unlawful attempt, coupled with apparent ability, to commit a violent injury on the person of another; or
  2. An intentional, unlawful threat by word or act to do violence to the person of another, coupled with an apparent ability to do so, and doing some act which creates a well-founded fear in such other person that such violence is imminent.

A battery is any:

  1. Willful and unlawful use of force or violence upon the person of another; or
  2. Actual, intentional and unlawful touching or striking of another person against the will of the other; or
  3. Unlawfully and intentionally causing bodily harm to an individual.

Violent offenses are overwhelmingly committed by males. There are a number of factors that are analyzed in studying offender characteristics and different studies use different characteristics as the basis of the study. Such characteristics include, among others, age, race, gender, location, parental involvement, education, past criminal history, drug/alcohol use, and mental illness.