Assault and Battery Charges & Laws

Sometimes people get into a situation where threats are made or they actually are physically attacked by another person. In these cases, the crime that is committed is assault or assault and battery. The main difference between assault and battery is the use of physical contact. Assault occurs when a person acts in a manner that is threatening to another person, making that other person feel threatened. The violator can be charged with assault even if there was no physical contact. An attempt to strike, hit or touch another person in a violent manner can be considered an assault.

For a Free Federal or Criminal Consultation, call me today at 617-472-5775 or use the form below for your free consultation. I will offer you expert help and answer any specific questions you have about your case in all areas of Massachusetts including Boston, Springfield, Cambridge, Quincy, Lowell and national for Federal matters.

Battery, however, does involve physical contact, no matter how minor. When someone touches another person in a violent manner, intentionally and without justification, this is battery. Also, if you throw something at another person, spit at them or engage in any other sort of aggressive behavior, you may be charged with battery. Battery is a more severe crime than assault.

Assault and Battery Charges & Punishments

The main difference between assault and battery charges is deliberate physical contact that is violent or threatening. Punishments for assault and battery vary by state, but it always is a serious crime. The degree of seriousness depends on the actual event; a suspect may be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony degree crime.

Punishment also varies by state. For example, in Massachusetts, both assault and assault and battery crimes can be punished by up to 2.5 years in the state prison. If the crime is severe enough to be raised to the level of a felony crime, the punishment will also be more severe. The guilty person could spend time in a state prison instead of a county jail or house of corrections.

Examples of Assault and Battery

Examples of assault and battery are easy to envision. People that get into a bar fight, or an argument at a baseball game that soon gets physical could be charged with assault and battery. A heated talk that becomes a pushing and shoving match could also be categorized as assault and battery, due to the element of physical contact.

Many people think that someone who is charged with assault and battery must have had a deadly weapon to use. Actually, assault and battery charges can be made when any type of weapon is part of the scene, including a shoe, a plate or a rock.


Punishment doled out for those convicted of assault or assault and battery crimes will vary by several factors. Severity of the injuries may have some impact upon sentencing and punishment. If any weapons were used, the charge could be boosted to a felony rather than a misdemeanor. Special circumstances may also affect the severity of any punishment. Heavier punishments could be rendered if the victim was a minor, or the assault and battery was part of domestic violence.

In Massachusetts, convictions on a misdemeanor assault and battery charge will bring up to 2.5 years in the county jail or house of corrections. If the crime is rated as a felony, the sentence can be more than 2.5 years in a state prison. The most violent offenders or career criminals are found in state prisons. Lower level offenders usually are housed in county jails or local houses of corrections.

Any punishment for this crime will be influenced by the actual circumstances of the event. If there is a small conflict and one person retreats, but then the other person comes after them with intent to harm, the second person might face criminal charges for assault. Use of deadly force may or may not be a factor in punishment, depending on the flow of events. Deadly force could be reasonable in a case of self-defense. Other factors that influence punishment may include consideration of the size, strength and age of the parties.

Criminal Defense for Assault and Battery

An experienced Criminal Defense Attorney who has successfully defended clients accused of Assault and Battery crimes will work hard on your behalf to protect your rights and your freedom. They may try to argue that you were acting in self defense, protecting another person or defending your property when the interaction got physical.

Proving voluntary consent is another defense against these charges. If you engage in a physical activity and someone gets hurt, that is not a crime of assault and battery. For example, players in a football game consent to and expect physical contact of a reasonable nature. If, however, they are hurt because another player deliberately tried to hurt them, that could be assault and battery. The issue at point here is whether or not the contact was more than what was reasonable and common.

If you are accused of assault or assault and battery, get competent legal advice and representation right away. You have no time to waste; your attorney will work diligently to examine all details of your case and work up a strong defense case to present to a judge or jury. If you are convicted, your attorney will make an appeal and possibly be able to get charges reduced to a lower level or eliminated.

No matter what actually happened, facing criminal charges can be a life-changing event. You could lose your freedom for several years, be slapped with high fines and have a permanent criminal record to follow you around forever. Being convicted of a physical crime may also interfere with your ability to find work or housing or travel freely in the future. Get help immediately from a Criminal Defense Lawyer who is experienced handling Assault and Battery cases.

Need Criminal Defense Help?

For a Federal or Criminal Consultation, text me today at 1-617-905-1433 or use the form below for your consultation. I will offer you expert help and answer any specific questions you have about your case. I handle criminal defense cases throughout all areas of Massachusetts including Boston, Cambridge, Newton, Springfield, Quincy, Lowell, Worcester, Fall River and national for Federal matters.

Contact Information

Geoffrey G. Nathan Law Office
132 Boylston Street
Boston, MA 02116

Download my contact information

Get Driving Directions