Difference Between Assault & Battery

Thursday, May 7th, 2009

Assault and battery are frequently grouped together, but they are a combination of two different crimes. Assault involves the threat of physical violence; battery involves an actual act of violence.


The charge of assault refers to an attempt to commit physical violence against another person. In most cases, assault is treated as a misdemeanor instead of a felony, unless the incident involves a law enforcement officer or a deadly weapon. It is considered a “aggravated assault” if a deadly weapon is involved. Aggravated assault is a felony.

For most states in the U.S., assault is defined as:

  • An attempt to cause or purposely, knowingly, or recklessly cause bodily injury to another; or,
  • Negligently causing bodily injury to another with a deadly weapon.


Battery defines an injury or other physical contact with a person that could cause bodily harm. Like assault, battery is most often considered to be a misdemeanor. However, there is a charge of “aggravated battery” that relates to incidents of battery in which the victim is left with permanent disfigurement or disability.

In order to prove battery, the following elements must be proven. There must be:

  • An unlawful application of force to the person of another;
  • Resulting in either bodily injury or an offensive touching.

Contact a Minnesota Assault and Battery Attorney

If you or someone you know has been the victim of assault and / or battery, contact the Minnesota assault and battery attorneys of TSR Injury Law today to secure the representation you need and deserve.