Have you been accused of assault? Assault and battery? Or aggravated assault? There are actually differences between the three, but they all relate to intentional harm of one person by another person. Crimes that involve physical attacks are usually classified as assaults, batteries, or both. Depending on how serious the attack was, these charges can be elevated to aggravated assault.
Assault can be defined as an intentional act that causes another person to fear that they are about to experience physical harm. This definition is broad – physical harm does not even have to be done – assault can just be the fact that the person experiences fear of imminent harm. This broadness allows police to intervene before a person actually experiences harm.
Defining “Assault and Battery”
Battery and assault used to be considered separate crimes. We just defined assault. Battery was defined as actual physical harm to a victim. In a way, you could consider “battery” the completion of “assault.” Now, most statutes do not distinguish between the two offenses.
Simple and Aggravated Assault
Many states classify between simple and aggravated assault, according to the seriousness of the harm that occurs or is likely to occur. Aggravated assault is charged as a felony that may involve assault with a weapon, or with intentions to commit a serious crime. An assault can also be classified as aggravated if it happens in a relationship legally regarded as worthy of “special protection.” When just charged as a simple assault, the charge is usually classified as a misdemeanor. Some states can also group the seriousness of assault as first, second, or third degree assaults. In this case, “first degree” is the most serious.
Source: Nolo.com, Assault, Battery, and Aggravated Assault, 2014