It is perhaps not that uncommon for California police to arrest people on charges that these individuals do not fully understand. Certain charges are used quite frequently in popular media, including assault and battery, which do not always line up with the reality of how authorities file and pursue these allegations. Defendants who are charged with assault and battery, and are confused about their circumstances, should consider the following.
Assault and battery are not one in the same. In general, assault is defined as attempting to harm another person. For example, assault could take place in a situation where a person swings at another person but misses, engages in threatening behavior or makes threats of immediate violence. These attempts must be intentional to truly be considered assault. Since assault does not require that any physical touch takes place between two parties, it is sometimes referred to as attempted battery instead.
Unlike assault, battery does require physical contact between two parties. It does not necessarily mean that the contact must be violent, such as a punch or slap. Instead, battery is usually defined as intentional harmful or offensive touching without another person's consent. Battery charges can be filed even if the defendant did not have any intention of harming the other party.
There are exceptions to both of these loose definitions for assault and battery. The real world and application of criminal charges can be far more confusing than most people anticipate, which can come as a real shock to California defendants. Rather than leave things up to chance, defendants may find that speaking with an experienced criminal law attorney can help them better understand their situations and defense options.