Assault and battery are often lumped together as a single crime, but they are actually two separate offenses. Depending on the circumstances, you can find yourself facing both of these charges in Washington state. This is what you should know about this matter.
Assault is committed when someone uses threats toward another person in a way that causes them to feel fearful. It doesn’t entail actually making physical contact with the victim and doesn’t require the victim to fear bodily harm or death. A person can commit assault by making verbal threats or showing the victim a deadly weapon while issuing threats. Another example of assault occurs when a person knowingly exposes someone else to HIV or a poisonous substance. Even without battery, assault charges require a solid criminal defense strategy.
Battery is the intentional act of making offensive contact with another person. It can involve hitting, punching, kicking, scratching or even just brushing up against someone. It’s possible to be charged with battery even if the physical touching does not result in severe injuries.
Assault and battery charges explained
If a person makes threats to someone else that causes them to be fearful and then makes physical contact with them, they can be arrested on assault and battery charges. Those charges could be elevated to aggravated assault and battery if the threat that instills fear involves the use of a deadly weapon or if the victim is someone vulnerable such as a child, pregnant woman or elderly person. Charges can also be elevated if the battery against the victim causes severe, lasting injuries.
A strong criminal defense is needed in any assault and battery case. One of the strongest is self-defense. If there’s sufficient proof that this was the case, it might help the defendant.