The Difference Between Assault and Battery

The Difference Between Assault and Battery

In English law, there is a distinction between Assault and Battery, which means you can be charged for either one depending on the circumstances. In general terms, assault is the apprehension of the possibility of immediate unlawful violence whilst battery is the infliction of such violence.


The definition for assault is quite wide and it is a serious offence to commit. Assault involves a threat of an immediate battery but not necessarily an actual act of battery. Therefore, the intent or threat to commit such battery can be classed as assault, even if the defendant does not physically harm the victim.

It's also worth nothing that actions which constitute ordinary daily life are not considered assault or battery, for example, jostling on a crowded train.


Battery is defined as intentionally or recklessly applying unlawful force to another without their consent. This can include a wide variety of acts against another person with examples being kissing, spitting and cutting hair as well as more harmful actions like punching or kicking.

For more serious acts of assault or battery you may be charged with either ABH or GBH which carry more severe punishments.

Assault & Battery Charge Defences

There are certain circumstances where the law actually permits an individual to cause harm to another person without that amounting to a criminal offence.

This will usually include situations where a person has been acting in self defence. The law does allow a person to use reasonable force to defend himself from an actual assault / battery or from an anticipated assault. You do not have to wait to be hit before using violence against another person to prevent injury to yourself provided there was a genuine and real fear that you were about to be assaulted.

Very often injury can be caused to somebody else by accident. If the court accepts this it may find you not guilty.

Contact Professional Defence Lawyers Today

We are expert solicitors acting for the defence in proceedings for assault or battery. We have been practicing in this field for over 20 years now, so please don't hesitate to contact us free on 0800 634 7022 today.

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Rob BimpsonProfessional Defence Lawyers is a dedicated defence firm of specialist Lawyers headed by Rob Bimpson and Tim Chapman. Both are Solicitors who have been qualified for over 20 years.

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