WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN "ASSAULT AND "BATTERY" IN GEORGIA?
Many Georgia residents are likely familiar with the terms “assault” and “battery,” as they tend to find fairly common use in the popular culture of the United States. They are often used in combination, almost as a single phrase, as in “assault and battery,” and many people likely think that the definitions are more or less interchangeable.
However, under Georgia law, the two crimes are separate and have different elements, even though they can sometimes occur together. Basically “assault” is, in some ways a crime of attempt or threat. In Georgia, a person can commit assault by placing another person in fear of imminent bodily harm. This could be done by actual actions showing an intent to injure someone, or even by threatening words in certain circumstances. The phrase, “I am going to kill you,” if said in a manner to place a person in fear of that outcome, could be considered an assault.
“Battery,” on the other hand, involves an actual harmful or offensive touching to another individual. To be a battery, the person accused would need to make physical contact with the other person with an intent to either cause physical harm, or a touching meant to insult or provoke that person. A hard finger-poke to the chest, even if it does not do permanent physical harm to the victim, could be considered a battery, for example. Intentionally spitting in another person’s face might also be considered a form of this crime.
Because of the way the definitions interrelate, battery is often accompanied by assault, as the actual touching of a victim is often preceded by an attempt or placing of fear of imminent harm into that person.
Assaults, on the other hand, can occur even if no physical contact is made. It is important for you to note that both of these crimes are considered to be violent and can result in serious penalties. If you have been accused of assault or battery, you may want to get more information about how you can present a defense to the charges.