Battery Law & Legal Definition


Battery is a crime and also the basis for a lawsuit as a civil wrong if there is damage. A battery is any:

a. Willful and unlawful use of force or violence upon the person of another; or

b. Actual, intentional and unlawful touching or striking of another person against the will of the other; or

c. Unlawfully and intentionally causing bodily harm to an individual.

A battery is any physical contact with another person, to which that person has not consented. An assault is basically an attempt at a battery. The terms assault and battery often go together. Defenses to battery include lack of intent (such as an accident), defense of others or property, or self-defense.

Penalties for battery vary greatly, depending on factors such as the jurisdiction, the classification of the crime (i.e., misdemeanor, 1st degree felony, 3rd degree felony), and the criminal record of the offender.

Restatement (Second) of Torts-defines battery in sections 13 & 18:

Sec. 13 BATTERY: HARMFUL CONTACT
An actor is subject to liability to another for battery if:

  1. he acts intending to cause a harmful or offensive contact with the person of the other or a third person or am imminent apprehension of such a contact and
  2. an harmful contact with the person of the other directly or indirectly results.

Sec. 18 BATTERY: OFFENSIVE CONTACT
An actor is subject to liability to another for battery if:

  1. he acts intending to cause a harmful or offensive contact with the person of the other or a third person or am imminent apprehension of such a contact and
  2. an offensive contact with the person of the other directly or indirectly results.

Indirect battery has been found when blowing smoke in a person's was intentional and has particulate matter capable of contact.