What is the Legal Definition of Assault and Battery?

man battering another person

What is the legal definition of assault and battery?

The description of assault or assault and battery can vary some between states, but the base is the same: it is illegal and serious consequences can result for all parties concerned. What is an example of assault?

Punching, shoving, or slapping a person during arguing in several states is considered a simple assault resulting in misdemeanor assault charges. In Texas specifically, moving or threatening to cause another person physical harm can result in assault charges. An example of this would be waving a knife or threatening a person with your fists. Threatening someone with imminent bodily injury. Intentionally causing bodily injury. In Texas, as general rule, assault is defined when another person fears physical harm by another person, whether that the harm took place. 

In the state of Texas, assault and battery are considered two different crimes, describe as: 

  • Assault is the act of threatening bodily harm to another person.
  • Battery is causing injury with bodily contact. 

 Both are considered a  criminal offense and intentional torts. A victim can utilize this definition to sue the person in civil court that attacked them. In Texas, charges for an offense can be for assault even with battery occurring at the same time. The charge will be met with a hefty punishment that can range from civil fines up to various lengths of prison terms.

Which is worse battery or assault?

The state of Texas sees assault and battery charges as a serious matter, although assault is seen in different in lesser degrees. The end results being a criminal record in addition to the fines. The criminal records can impact a person’s employment, housing, acquiring a loan, or having child custody. In most states a battery charge is worse than an assault charge and is determined if the victim was actually physical harmed by another person.

The difference between assault or aggravated assault is aggravated assault  usually includes a deadly weapon being used during the assault. Aggravated assault includes serious bodily injury using a deadly weapon or having a sexual relations with anyone under legal age.

Is pushing someone assault?

In Texas, pushing a person would be considered family violence, a domestic assault. Grabbing, hitting, pushing, or scratching a person that does or doesn’t result in bodily injury is a Class C Misdemeanor. 

Is yelling at someone assault?

The act of screaming or yelling in another person’s face is not a specific offense in general, but the situation could constitute  it as harassment. For screaming or yelling at a person to be considered  assault, that person would need to be in fear of the yelling person attacking them, like  somebody yelling at a stranger. 

While a verbal assault often involves one person threatening physical violence on another person, aggressive yelling intended as an attack or to offend a person may be constituted as verbal assault. The threats made must be something the accused person is capable of following through giving the victim a fear of danger.

Are assault charges a felony?

The laws in Texas stated that an aggravated assault is a 2nd degree felony that face punishments ranging from 2 years to 20 years prison time. In addition fines may be imposed up to $10,000. When domestic violence is part of the assault, it becomes a first degree felony. Results of this conviction, the punishment can be as severe as life in prison. 

With charges of assault, how many years in jail can you expect? 

If the assault charges are filed as a misdemeanor, the case will be heard by  six jurors. If the assault charges are file as a felony, the case will be heard by twelve jurors. The prosecution will be assigned to prove with beyond a reasonable doubt the accused is guilty. If the accused is convicted of assault, the following sentencing could be set as: 

  • Class C misdemeanor: Up to $500 in fines.
  • Class B misdemeanor: Up to 180 days imprisonment with up to $2,000 in fines.
  • Class A misdemeanor: Up to 12 months of imprisonment with up to $4,000 in fines.
  • Third degree felony: Up to ten years in prison with up to $10,000 in fines.
  • Second degree felony:  Between two years up to 20 years imprisonment and up to $10,000 in fines.
  • First-degree felony: A minimum of five years in prison to life in prison with addition of a fine that is set by the judge.
arrested for assault

Can assault be expunged?

In Texas, there are limited circumstances, but yes, an assault charge can be expunged, if the accused person has been found not guilty or the charges dismissed. In this circumstance, expunged assault charges will be as if the arrest and resulting charge didn’t ever happen. All records are deleted, destroyed, and erased from the accused records. If a deferred adjudication is issued for the assault charge, the records are sealed if a motion for non-disclosure is filed. Call 512.834.2245 today for assault and battery bail in Austin, TX.