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What’s the difference between assault and battery in Illinois?

On Behalf of | Feb 19, 2024 | Criminal Defense

Many people confuse assault and battery, treating them as identical offenses that result in the same penalties. While they often appear as two sides of one coin, understanding their distinct definitions and consequences is crucial.

Assault is the intentional act of causing someone to fear imminent bodily harm. You can face assault charges even if you never make physical contact with the alleged victim. A menacing gesture, a verbal threat or anything that could reasonably make someone believe they are in imminent physical danger can fall under assault.

Battery is a physical counterpart to the fear of imminent harm aspect of assault. If that turns into physical contact, it is required to be considered battery. Causing bodily harm, provoking a physical altercation or even touching someone without consent could result in battery charges.

Can assault and battery overlap?

In Illinois, the authorities can file assault and battery charges simultaneously when necessary. For example, if you threaten someone and then follow up with a punch, you may have committed both offenses. You can also face either charge independently.

What are the possible penalties?

Illinois charges assault and battery offenses as misdemeanors or felonies based on severity and aggravating factors. Even when charged as a misdemeanor, it can involve incarceration and fines. A felony conviction could result in severe consequences.

How does this benefit you?

Grasping the nuances of assault and battery and their varying penalties empowers defendants. Whether charged with one or both, understanding their distinctions helps you determine what kind of defense strategy is best given your unique circumstances. Experienced legal guidance can add another layer of security and protection.